Concerns grow among ND parents over cost of catholic school uniforms

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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - What started as a concern among a few parents has grown to include more than a hundred.

The issue is the specific type of uniforms students attending St. John Paul II Catholic Schools must buy. In particular, the new clothes are made by a top designer.

“People have to speak up because $1100 for a uniform for one child is a lot,” Amber Bryant said.

Bryant has a 7th grader enrolled at Sullivan Middle School in Fargo. She’s also part of a Facebook group called JPII Moms.

With more than a hundred people in the group, the topic of conversation for the past six months has been a uniform change requiring parents to buy Tommy Hilfiger clothes.

“It would really be nice if we can just enforce the dress code on hand and not change everything,” Bryant said.

Since our recent report highlighting next year’s change, the level of parents expressing frustration with JPII has grown.

Bryant said some parents are just scared to speak up.

“These parents are nervous about embarrassing their child,” she said.

Some of the parents that we spoke to say their biggest issue with the catholic school system is that public discussions weren't held about the uniform changes and they wish they were more involved.

Fargo catholic school systems president Mike Hagstrom said they set up a uniform committee a year ago to discuss the change.

Public meetings weren't held but Hagstrom said the decision was made in the best interest of the school system.

Hagstrom added that Tommy Hilfiger clothing is of high quality and will last longer than the lower priced clothing.

“These kids outgrow uniforms like crazy, my daughter has probably grown four [inches] in the past two years,” Bryant said.

Bryant said parents want a seat at the table whenever JPII leaders deal with drastic changes like this. She and other parents said they hope this decision is reconsidered.

JPII students are not required to wear the uniforms this year as its considered a transition year.

But, those who don't wear the new school uniforms starting next year will not be allowed in the classroom and can be sent home to change.