CCSA Answers: Can a charter school require students to wear a specific uniform?
June 12, 2017 Question: Can a charter school require students to wear a specific uniform?
Answer: Yes, charter schools can require that students wear a specific uniform. However, charter schools may not require parents to pay for the uniform. Paying for a charter school-specific uniform is strictly voluntary.
The California Department of Education has issued Advisory No. 12-02 entitled, "Fees, Deposits, and Other Charges." This advisory references Education Code 49010-49013, sections added to the EC by Assembly Bill (AB) 1575 in 2012 that clarify that a pupil enrolled in a public school shall not be required to pay a pupil fee for participation in an educational activity. Education Code 49011 (a) states, "A pupil enrolled in a public school shall not be required to pay a pupil fee for participation in an educational activity." A "pupil fee" is defined in Education Code 49010 (b)(3) to include, "A purchase that a pupil is required to make to obtain materials, supplies, equipment, or uniforms associated with an educational activity."
Charter schools might consider either offering one or more of such uniforms free of charge, or requiring a particular dress code (e.g., white polo shirts and khaki pants) and then providing school patches to affix to shirts, jackets, etc. Please consult your attorney in considering these or other options.