Mothers petition for Meriden schools to require uniforms; superintendent responds

MERIDEN - It is back to school season and now is typically the time for kids to dress to impress on the first day of school.

However, two mothers are looking to eliminate that mindset. They have gone door-to-door in the city and have collected over 400 signatures for their petition to enforce a school uniform policy. The superintendent however, does not want to.

Jasmine Ortiz and Janette Irizarry have children themselves and while they have been fortunate enough to buy new clothes for school, but they realize others might not.

They believe school uniforms will also eliminate the mindset of competing to look the best so children can focus on their studies.

"When you go into school, you normally look what sneakers does he have on? That’s how kids think and I think if everybody’s dressed the same, that eliminates bullying, it won’t be about what you have to wear," said Ortiz.

The petition is aimed towards elementary and middle schools where there would be a different color for each school.

Ortiz and Irizarry have brought the idea up to Superintendent Mark Benigni who said he is not interested in enforcing in such a policy.

FOX61 reached out to him and in a statement, he said:

"I have not seen any data which shows that school uniforms lead to higher academic performance, improved behavior, or improved student satisfaction. We value the voice of our students and they have voiced their strong opposition to school uniforms in the past. Any documents brought to my office will be shared with the Board of Education."

This mission was off to a slow start at first but since Wednesday, the mothers said collecting signatures have been effortless.

"By sharing on Facebook and just getting the word out, it’s overwhelming, the response we’ve gotten. There’s been so many emails and just people .. where can we sign? Where can we meet?" added Ortiz.

Some of the children in Meriden said they support the idea.

"I feel like I’d really like it because then I wouldn’t have to worry about choosing clothes in the morning because it’s kind of hard," said Serenity Lopez of Meriden.

"You feel great because it makes you feel happy," said Annabella Lopez of Meriden.

The goal is to collect 1,000 signatures and then present it to the board of education at a meeting with hopes this change will happen.

If you are interested in signing this petition, you may send an email to uniforms4meriden@yahoo.com.