Tulsa Public Schools Helping Students Who Can't Afford Uniforms

Tuesday, August 24th 2010, 10:00 pm
By: News On 6

By Ashli Sims, The News On 6

TULSA, OKLAHOMA -- Hundreds of Tulsa students are heading back to class with preppy new looks.

Uniforms are now the norm for students at 53 Tulsa Public Schools. But some parents say they don't have the cash to spare for a wardrobe change.

8/23/2010 Related Story: Tulsa Public High School First To Require All Students To Wear Uniforms

TPS says the basic uniform of a polo shirt and khaki or navy pants costs about $15. And the district is doing what it can to make sure everyone is meeting the new dress code.

Tuesday was just day two and with very few exceptions, McClure's students came dressed to impress.

"So smoothly. We are so pleased it's gone so smoothly," said Susan Baston, McClure Principal. "And the kids look spectacular."

This year, McClure joined 33 other TPS elementary schools that have adopted school uniforms. Fifteen Middle Schools were already adhering to a stricter dress code. And several high schools are now following suit.

"They look prepared to learn. They look ready to work. And they act differently, they really do," Baston said.

The Mustangs can don red, white, or blue polo shirts and khaki or navy pants. Some parents worry about the expense. But school leaders are trying to work with them during this adjustment, including giving every student two free shirts.

"We understand times are tough. And so we are not looking at this in a punitive way at all," Baston said. "We've told parents that they have two weeks to be in compliance."

And for those who can't afford to update their own closets, McClure has one of their own stocked with clothes and brand new uniforms.

If parents are struggling, school officials say all they need to do is ask.

"We're here to help them," Baston said. "So if they're having difficulties, we have avenues to help them. No child should feel like they can't have a school uniform. We'll help them with that."

TPS says most of the schools receiving federal money for low-income students also have clothes closets. And the district's partners in education, local businesses and churches, have helped during this transition by donating new and gently used uniforms.