Bryant Intermediate parents Wednesday began voting on a proposed school uniform policy, a move in step with a handful of other Salt Lake City schools considering or implementing uniforms next fall.
The proposal, discussed at a Tuesday public meeting, aims to alleviate student-created social status and cliques based on clothing labels."What we're trying to do is free the students, take away their fears and let them develop and blossom without social pressures," said parent Jayne Brown, a member of the 15-member school committee of teachers, parents and students charged last October with creating a uniform proposal.
But some parents said the proposal would financially hurt families. Others said the uniform code, which would ban clothing but not shoe logos, wouldn't solve inequity because uniforms would not be identical.
"It's going to make my life more complicated," said parent Cheryl Young-Metos. "It's going to be a big burden on us to come up with that money. . . . We're also going to have to be driving all over town to find shirts without logos and pants without logos."
Proponents noted many clothing stores remove labels for free.
About 50 teachers, students and parents attended the meeting. The Salt Lake City School District school enrolls 700 students.
If parents do not approve of the proposed uniform code, which includes slacks, skirts or long shorts and solid colored shirts (colors determined by students), a new tightened dress code will take effect. That dress code requires shorts cover three-fourths of the thigh and barring sleeveless tops, thong sandals and tight-fitting, sagging or torn clothes.
But parents had no idea the second dress code existed. They thought that if uniforms were not approved, the dress code would not change.
"I feel I'm being duped, and I'm really mad about it," parent R.A. Benson said.
But teachers said student dress needs controls. Students are wearing revealing clothing and pants sagging below the hips. Uniforms would refocus student thoughts on learning.
"When everyone dresses the same, that's when you see what individualism is, not what they handed to a cashier in some store," said resource teacher Kaye Babcock.
The proposal follows a parent survey indicating uniforms would be more convenient for families and improve school unity, student equality, security and public image. Of three survey mailings over the past two years, 283 parents responded, some twice.
Student Rachel Hardy is among dissenters.
"I want to be able to dress how I want," Hardy said. "I don't see how uniforms affect how someone learns."
Salt Lake's Nibley Park Elementary School, Utah's first with a uniform policy, reports decreased vandalism and office referrals since uniforms were adopted two years ago. Franklin Elementary also requires students to dress in school colors.
Jackson Elementary will adopt a standardized dress code next fall, a move approved by 76 percent of families, said principal Marilyn Phillips. Students must wear maroon, navy, white and tan clothing. Parents voted at spring parent-teacher conferences.
Glendale Intermediate school will survey parents on school uniforms next year.