They said it was creating a financial hardship for their families, squelching their children's self-expression and would take time away from teaching, turning teachers into fashion police.
School Board President Rick Huss thanked them for their comments, and then voted along with six of the other board members present, to move forward with implementing the policy.
"I have three children and I buy their clothes one to two years ahead of time, when there's a good sale or when they're on special" said Fourth Street resident Tammy Moore.
"And now, I have new clothes sitting in my house with the tags still on them that my children will not be allowed to wear to school," she said.
"As far as I'm concerned, this is unnecessary spending. I'm worried about putting heating oil in my tank, about paying my taxes, about keeping my house," Moore said.
Sh e also objected to the elements of the policy which will punish children who fail to wear what the school district has not officially dictated that they wear.
"He's 5, if you're going to penalize someone, penalize me," Moore said.
But that won't happen.
The policy board voted 7-1 to adopt no longer includes provisions to have parents of children who fail to comply with the policy brought before a district judge. School District Solicitor Stephen Kalis informed them that provision of the policy might not survive a legal challenge.
Parent Jennifer Green said she is a special education teacher at a residential treatment facility in West Chester and she said uniforms are appropriate there, but not in a public school.
"The best thing about a public school is freedom of expression," said Green. "Schools are already cutting music and art, and we need to have those things, and now you're going to make kids wear uniforms, that's frustrating for me as a par ent."
Said Green, "if I had wanted my kids to wear a uniform, I would have sent them to St. Al's. If a public school education is supposed to be free, either you should be providing me with a uniform or reimbursing me, because now, it's not free for me," she said.
Green also said if students have to wear uniforms, teachers should as well.
"You're going to have a teacher disciplining a student for wearing open-toed shoes when it's 90 degrees out and she's going to be wearing the same thing," said Green. "You're going to be teaching our children hypocrisy, do as I say, not as I do."
Further, said Green, the policy is aimed at solving a problem that does not exist at the elementary level.
"I don't see a lot of fourth graders wearing their jeans down around their knees at Franklin," she said.
But Board Vice President Michele Pargeon, who identified herself as "with one exception, making less than anyone else at this table," said she has visited all the district's elementary schools and seen otherwise.
"I have seen children dressed in what was deemed appropriate by some parents, but I might not think so," she said.
Green also talked finances, saying having uniforms would double the amount of laundry she has to do.
"With this economy, when I'm worried about filling my oil tank, you want me to spend more money to heat my hot water to wash clothes," she said. "I have three boys; I'm already doing 10 loads a week."
She added, "This is a financial burden for me at this point."
Theresa Daywalt of Grace Street agreed.
"I went to Schuylkill Valley Sports to buy my daughter a full outfit and by the time I was done, it cost $59. At Wal-Mart, I could buy a week's worth of clothing for that," Daywalt said.
"I read in the paper that this is supposed to help out with the costs for me, well I went to buy the cardigan and it costs $44," she said. "Can I borrow it from you?"
Daywalt said a meeting at the middle school at which parents were informed they could get "generic" items for the uniforms had already undercut the uniform's stated purpose, to eliminate the differences between richer and poorer children as defined by their clothing.
"When you went into that business with the logo, you've already categorized it," she said.
The better answer, she said, is to teach children to see who people are, not what they wear.
"I teach my kids to be nice and you're trying to teach them not to see anything past the uniform. Kids need to be able to be an individual person," Daywalt said. "We should be teaching our children to respect each other, not look at what they have on their back."
Daywalt's comments were echoed by school board member Robert Hartman, who cast the only vote against implementing the policy.
He said he recalled a member of the "minority community" telling the board "if you think you're going to address issues of beha vior by throwing uniforms on the child, then you're sadly mistaken."