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Uniform controversy at new Everett elementary school

The Everett School District says uniforms encourage inclusivity, but some parents and students wonder about preserving individuality.

BOTHELL, Wash. — As 8-year-old Fallyn McMillan prepare for life as a third grader this fall, she's already feeling uneasy about what awaits.

"I just feel like we're being punished," she said. "We never got a choice to choose any part of the uniforms."

Fallyn will be entering Tambark Creek Elementary, a brand new school in the Everett School District.  

With the new school comes a new set of rules.

Students will be expected to wear uniforms comprised of blue or white tops and khaki or blue bottoms. No jeans, sweats or yoga pants are allowed.

"The two biggest issues students are dealing with are inclusivity and a sense of belonging. Acknowledging that need, along with gathering students currently in three different schools into one new school, emphasizes the need to provide an inclusive, welcoming environment, which uniforms support," the district told KING 5. 

But parents, like Fallyn's mom Shannon, said they were never consulted about the policy.

"They didn't ask parents, they mandated it," Shannon said. "They didn't ask kids. They're essentially telling kids you don't have a right to have your voice heard."

The district said the move is also intended to decrease bullying and take the financial pressure off of parents to buy trendy clothes.

But Shannon wonders about individuality.

"Inclusion is really learning about everybody else and learning to accept other people," she said. "It's not about making everyone look in a robotic fashion."

Two other schools in the district use uniforms. Administrators believe uniforms at Tambark Creek will create a sense of togetherness.

"The decision to open Tambark Creek with uniforms was made to support our efforts to promote inclusivity and a sense of belonging, reduce distractions, and provide an environment for our students that is safe and orderly. It is part of defining the culture of the new school," wrote the spokesperson.

For now, parents have launched a petition asking the district to suspend the policy until parents can have a say.