VINELAND — The Board of Education on Wednesday approved a new policy that allows individual schools to establish mandatory school uniform regulations.

The policy adopted by the board in a 9-0 vote allows each school to pick its own uniform style.

“Long time coming,” Board of Education President Thomas Ulrich said.

The policy also requires those schools that opt for mandatory uniforms to develop a plan on how to make the uniforms affordable for lower-income families.

The policy does not require all schools to implement a uniform policy. Board officials said earlier that state law requires school uniform policies to be enacted by individual schools. That happens when 51 percent of both a school’s staff and parents who answer a survey on the matter favor a uniform policy. The district has 18 schools.

Superintendent of Schools Mary Gruccio said that initial survey results show support for school uniform policies in the district. She said Wednesday that "all the principals are in" regarding the policy.

The Board of Education will have the final vote on those school uniform policies.

The policy will be in place starting with the 2013-2014 school year.

Local resident Maria Perez told the board that she supports the uniform policy because it can solve some peer-pressure problems. Students can worry about their grade-point averages instead of the brand name clothes they can or cannot afford, she said.

“Please, please vote for uniforms,” she said. “It has to be mandatory.”

District officials have said they believe that school uniforms could help to improve student discipline. They also said that requiring uniforms could help reduce bullying and other incidents related to what students wear to school.

The school district is not the first to have a school uniform policy in Cumberland County. Bridgeton schools have a uniform policy.

Contact Thomas Barlas:

609-226-9197