Public Donations Help Buy Uniforms Required For Tulsa Public Schools

Monday, August 20th 2012, 10:38 pm
By: News On 6

Monday was the first day that student uniforms where required for all schools in the Tulsa Public Schools district.

All 40,000 kids must wear uniforms this year, and the district is helping some students in need fulfill that requirement.

Monday night, the school board voted to buy uniforms for students who are homeless. And thanks to the community, the district doesn't have to dip into its limited funding to do it.

All TPS students must now wear uniforms and administrators are happy to see kids following the rule after the battle it took to make it a policy.

"I am very pleased with this initiative to put every student in Tulsa Public Schools in uniforms," TPS superintendent Keith Ballard said. "I think it needed to happen."

Enforcement of the uniform rule and punishment for violators is up to each campus.

"I didn't hear one complaint about uniforms. In fact, some parents even sent me pictures of their kids in uniforms," Ballard said.

But for some families, buying a uniform is impossible.

Three percent of TPS students, or 1,200 kids are homeless.

TPS defines homelessness as not having a permanent address.

"That's very sad and that's very heartbreaking. We are going to do everything we can to meet the needs of those kids, so that school can be a place that breaks the cycle of poverty," Ballard said.

At Monday night's meeting, TPS board members approved using $100,000 in public donations to buy uniforms for every homeless student.

6/18/2012 Related Story: Tulsa Public Schools Gets $1.2 Million Anonymous Donation

"I want every student who comes to TPS, I want their needs to be met. I want them to be fed, I want them to be clothed, I want them to feel good about coming to school," Ballard said.

Many kids who aren't homeless still need help.

Of all of the students in the TPS district, 87% come from low-income families.

Any school will provide free uniforms if there's a need. They said students just need to tell their school counselor.

A spokesman for TPS said there is a two-week grace period on school uniforms.TPS won't start strictly enforcing the rule until September.