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Pasco's Seven Springs Middle continues to explore student uniforms

Bolstered by initial positive parent and teacher response, Seven Springs Middle School has asked families to vote on whether to become Pasco's first school to have mandatory student uniforms.

Principal Chris Dunning told parents in a letter that he only intended to move ahead if 80 percent of them supported the idea. The mailed ballot also indicated that he wanted to have at least a 50 percent response rate, and set an April 2 submission deadline.

That deadline came and went, and the school didn't get enough ballots returned. So Dunning sent a phone message to families encouraging them to respond. That message irked at least one parent who has vocally opposed uniforms.

The mom complained to superintendent Kurt Browning that measure failed by the April 2 deadline, and said any added efforts to collect more votes -- including by phone -- should be invalidated. Browning quickly turned to Dunning for answers.

The principal responded that he's not trying to sway the outcome, but rather to make sure the will of the school is met. Some parents criticized the school's past use of "out of dress code" t-shirts, which led to discussions about uniforms.

"I do not want to move forward with this unless the vast majority of parents are behind it as it will be a difficult implementation. Additionally, I have two children of my own who will be 7th graders at SSMS next year that are not in favor of this," he wrote. "Bottom line is it is something that numerous parents asked for me to pursue and through my research I see some major benefits to having it. Thus I am putting this completely in the hands of the families and need to know what the families want, not just one or two vocal individuals."

The final outcome has not been determined. Stay tuned.