If the Catholic board wants to require all elementary school students to wear uniforms or have a strict dress code in the fall, they’ll have to go through Gail Kunitomo to get there.
The local parent and chair of the school advisory council at St. Jean de Brebeuf Catholic School is dead set against it, and doesn’t mind letting her feelings known.
“Part of the growing up experience is realising that people are different and people have different things,” said Gail Kunitomo, whose child attends Brebeuf. “Therefore, having different clothes and being a unique person is part of [childhood].”
In the past, a casually dressed school like Brebeuf would only adapt uniforms if 70 per cent of its parents voted in favour of them, said Oliver Carroll, a local Catholic board trustee. If both the community and board members vote in favour of uniforms this year, all schools will wear uniforms.
This decision would not be carved in stone, since individual schools could vote to allow casual clothes for students.
Currently, 30 of the board’s 160 elementary schools require uniforms. One of those is local ‚Äî St. Dominic Savio Catholic School, located near Rouge Community Park.
It’s one of the most recent schools to make this choice.
s principal would not comment on the issue, but not far away is Military Trail school, a public board institution that chose to switch to uniforms eight years ago.
“In schools where financial concerns might be a difficulty, a uniform represents a far cheaper way of buying clothes than if you’
re paying a hundred dollars for a pair of blue jeans or Nike shoes,” said Ken Morden, principal of Military Trail.
Military Trail introduced burgundy sweaters, white shirts and grey pants ‚Äî a uniform Morden says makes the students feel they are going to work in the morning, and that fills them with a sense of responsibility that casual clothes lack.
Morden also feels a multicultural or immigrant community is familiar with uniforms as many parents wore them when they were students in other countries.
While Marchant’s School Sport does sell the official school uniform, parents do not have to buy the uniform from a specific location.
Military Trail’s uniform costs approximately $30 ‚Äî a low price when compared to the latest designer outfits that tend to go out of style, Morden said.
In 10 years of schooling, he estimates that a growing student would go through 30 uniforms.
Carroll realizes parents may be worried about the costs uniforms add to a child’s regular street clothes. He had initially brought forward the suggestion of applying either a uniform or dress code to the schools.
A community meeting in April will give parents a chance to discuss the issue with staff.
Both Carroll and Morden believe uniforms help to ensure safety on school grounds and field trips, where students from a particular school can be easily identified.
Carroll also feels there is a distinctiveness that uniforms will bring to Catholic schools, which will separate them from other schools.