Over 70 Percent of Russians Support School Uniforms

MOSCOW, November 8 (RIA Novosti) – A total of 77 percent of Russians supported the reintroduction of compulsory school uniforms, according to an opinion poll by state-owned Russian pollster Vtsiom.

The number of supporters was particularly high among women, people aged 45 and over and those with minor children or grandchildren.

Some 18 percent – mainly young people, men and those with no children or grandchildren – said they were against compulsory school uniforms, which had been a common practice in the Soviet Union.

In addition, 53 percent of respondents said it was unacceptable for students to demonstrate their religious identity in a general education school, with the highest number of supporters among atheists, Muscovites and St. Petersburg residents, as well as people nearing retirement age.

A total of 35 percent said it was okay to show religious affiliation. Young people, residents of big cities and Muslims accounted for the bulk of supporters.

Several Muslim families in the city of Stavropol in south Russia complained in October to the local council of muftis that their daughters were not allowed to attend school wearing headscarves. But the regional prosecutor’s office said the ban did not run counter to Russian law because students of a secular school should not lay special stress on their support of a religious community.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in October that he was against allowing students to wear Muslim headscarves at schools, and welcomed the idea of returning to school uniforms, saying regional and municipal authorities should consider reintroducing a single school uniform at schools across Russia.

A total of 71 percent of Russians told Vtsiom that they were aware of the conflict between the head of a Stavropol school and students banned from wearing headscarves. Twenty-eight percent said they did not know about it.

The poll was conducted on October 27-28, 2012 among 1,600 people in 138 cities, towns and villages of 46 Russian regions. The margin of error was 3.4 percent.

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