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Lamontagne seeks public input on school uniform issue

Date: 4/21/2009

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

CHICOPEE -- The next step in the consideration of Chicopee adopting a policy for school uniforms will take place at the Police Subcommittee meeting on May 13 when members of the Springfield School Committee will be invited to speak about the city's experiences.

That meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Once the Policy Subcommittee has made heard the argument, the issue will be sent to the full School Committee meeting on May 20.

School Committee member Adam Lamontagne told Reminder Publications that the votes on the School Committee for bringing uniforms to the city are "very close right now." He explained a policy change requires eight votes of the 12-person committee in support to be implemented.

"I don't know where [other Committee members] stand," he said,

Lamontagne credited the effort to examine the uniform issue to fellow committee member Deborah Styckiewicz.

Lamontagne is in favor of the developing a school uniform policy for Chicopee. He said he is concerned about the growing economic impact families face when trying to buy school clothes for their children and is also concerned about the pressures children face in trying to keep up with fashion.

"If they are all wearing uniforms, they're all equal," he said.

Lamontagne's feelings were also influenced by the recent suicide of a Springfield youth brought on by bullying in part on the way he dressed.

He also believes that uniforms prevent some of the safety issues from students wearing gang colors to school.

The response he has received so far from Chicopee residents have been in support of the uniforms policy.

"I've received numerous calls staunchly for school uniforms," he said.

Lamontagne is interested in receiving opinions from the public on this issue.