NEW BRUNSWICK — Middle school students were disciplined for not wearing their school uniforms by being forced to run outside on the school's track just before their December break.

New Brunswick Today reported 30 students were randomly selected on Dec. 23 by principal Jeremiah Clifford on the final day before Christmas break even though 75 percent of the students came to school in street clothes that day.

Parents called the discipline "unreasonable" and believe students should have been able to get their jackets, according to the report.

New Jersey 101.5 Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said the day was a mild December day with above normal temperatures. "At the New Brunswick weather station at Rutgers Gardens, the morning low was 27 and the afternoon high was 50. No rain, no snow. Top wind gust 15 mph," Zarrow said.

The school uniform, according to the school website, consists of a solid colored blue, yellow, white or black polo shirt with black, khaki or blue pants for both boys and girls. No jeans are allowed but jumpers can be worn by girls.

The student handbook on the website for the 2015-16 school year does not mention a specific discipline for not wearing the uniform or mention any exceptions. Students told the news site that a warning would be issued and an after school detention for not wearing it.

In a list of 13 possible forms of administrative forms of discipline, "reasonable work detail" is listed as one form. Others include verbal reprimand, special assignments, a parent conference or detention.

Superintendent Aubrey Johnson said he doesn't "condone the use of walking laps as a response to disregarding the school uniform policy; a different strategy would have been appropriate."

“Our middle school’s principal has had a positive impact on his students and their academic performance," Johnson said. "Certainly, I support Mr. Clifford and appreciate the enhancements he has made to his school’s environment during the past several years.” 

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at

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