School Uniforms Planned at Weems Elementary Students
School administrators present plan to school board, questions linger about possible mandate.
The students at Weems Elementary School will be sporting the latest trend when they return to school next fall: uniforms.
As administrators continue rolling out new curriculum for students to choose from, they've also been working with parents and teachers to roll out a new dress code.
Librarian Rachel Kirkland presented the plan to the Manassas City School Board on Tuesday.
Uniform policies are increasing in popularity, usually consisting of polo shirts in certain colors and khaki or black pants, shorts and skirts.
"It promotes a cohesive culture from the top down," she said. "It promotes school pride and a feeling of belonging."
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Kirkland noted that there are already school pride dress days and "dress for success" days in the district.
A survey of Weems parents suggests 80 percent support for uniforms, she said.
The school's plan is for uniform days Monday through Thursday — the polo colors would be limited to red, black and white.
The cost is expected to be comparative or less than parents typically spend on school clothes, Kirkland noted. There will also be package deals and support for parents without the resources to pay for the uniforms.
The PTO will provide a donation to kick-off the program and will also be providing a gently-used uniform thrift sale. They're scheduling another information session for parents this spring, paired with a fashion show.
Weems parent Maurice Hammond said he learned to tie a bow tie as an elementary school student.
"As educators and parents, it's important to understand we're here to promote self esteem," he said. "Uniforms promote confidence."
Principal Angela Burnett said the program is meant to be incentive-based, leaning toward rewarding student participation instead of leveling infractions.
School board member Arthur Bushnell warned school administrators that a uniform policy has been implemented at Weems before, but it wasn't mandatory and it faded away.
"If you can find a way to have the uniforms be mandatory, they won't go away by the middle of the year," Bushnell said.
He said he would support the district spending some money toward the uniform program if there was a mandatory policy.