Saddle Brook School District's transition to a uniform dress code this year for safety and security reasons is eliciting upbeat early reports from district administrators.
“Everyone is very, very encouraged and very happy about the way the uniforms have been working out," superintendent Kathryn Fedina said Friday. "I have not heard about one issue. I really have not."
The new dress code policy -- approved by an 8-1 board of education vote last November - regulates the type and color of clothing students must wear down to their socks and accessories.
Administrators said student compliance with the new clothing restrictions has been excellent.
“The first day of school — the middle and the high school — not one kid didn’t show up without a uniform on," high/middle school principal James Sarto said. "They looked wonderful.”
Rather than curtailing individuality and prompting students to rebel, as some detractors had argued would occur, Sarto said the uniforms have actually been welcomed by students who would rather not compete with one another over fashion.
"We found the kids who are the fashion plate kind of kids, they’re going, ‘Thank god just get us a uniform,'” he said.
Fedina said some students even consider the uniforms fashionable.
"I did ask one high school kid, 'So, how do you like your uniform?'" she said. "He said, 'Oh, this is spiffy.' I think everybody’s kind of settled into it."
The move to uniforms has also had some tangential benefits, Sarto said
Classrooms and hallways are calmer, security drills run more smoothly and even tardiness is down now that students are no longer spending extra time each morning selecting outfits.
"[The uniforms] are creating a different atmosphere," Fedina said. "Not that it wasn’t a good atmosphere before, but it just seems a little bit different. And I think everyone really likes it."