But it wasn’t until California’s Long Beach Unified School District mandated a uniform policy in all of the district’s K-8 schools in 1994 — in a region where over half of students were Hispanic or black — that the country took note, largely because President Clinton made their site-specific policy a national, stump-worthy story.The month after Clinton’s 1996 State of the Union address, the Department of Education issued its Manual on School Uniforms to, as Brunsma puts it, “the nation’s 16,000 school districts advising them how they could legally enforce a school uniform policy.” Clinton continued to weave the narrative surrounding school uniforms into speeches on the campaign trail, largely crediting Hillary Clinton with the idea that requiring kids to dress identically would reduce violent incidents.High-profile national stories about kids killing one another over Air Jordans further contributed to the simplistic narrative that brand insignias and team logos were merely tools for gang recruitment. Gangs now, particularly in Chicago, are largely unaffiliated factions far less organized than in years past, the changes in their dynamics creating, according to the , “an anything-goes atmosphere on the streets.” Gang violence accounted for almost half of all homicides in Chicago between 20, and recent data put gang membership at about 850,000 nationally, close to the number estimated in 1996 despite dips in the tally in the years between.For many schools, though, gang affiliation isn’t an impetus for the establishment of school uniform policies. Each month, the Chicago School Board hears an airing of grievances in its beige, windowless meeting room from aldermen, parents, and students throughout the school district.
Bruce Rauner vetoed a 5 million funding bill, a decision that precipitated the board of education’s decision to freeze million in school spending.
Long Beach, he noted, had seen overall school crime decrease by 36 percent after the policy took effect.