Uniforms take effect next fall at Gale Pond Alamo

Gale Pond Alamo STEAM Academy students will be donning uniforms next fall after a poll of parents and staff.

Students weren’t surveyed, but a majority of them interviewed by the Odessa American like the idea.

Principal Regina Lee said the goal was to unify the school and give youngsters a sense of pride. The students that support it said it would reduce bullying and make it easier to get dressed in the morning. Those who don’t like it said they don’t like not having a choice in attire, or they don’t care what they wear.

Lee said standard attire has been in the works since around the middle of last school year. As part of the process for converting to a science, technology, engineering, art and math campus, she and colleagues visited other campuses which happened to be uniform schools and thought it would be a good idea.

“I started with the staff and just asked if they thought it would be a good idea. They did and I mentioned it to our VIP (Volunteers & Partners) parents at the time. Several of them had older kiddoes at the middle schools and just loved it,” Lee said.

Initially, she polled parents to see if they were interested, which was followed by a couple of different surveys to make sure everyone was asked. A paper ballot vote was conducted last year, which among other things, included feedback on colors and whether they agreed or disagreed with going to standard attire.

Lee was able to speak to some of the parents who disagreed for different reasons or had concerns about the uniform policy.

Parents didn’t want students to feel excluded, that there would be uniforms at school and youngsters wouldn’t be sent home.

“I assured them the purpose was to have them here,” Lee said.

One thing she does regret is not polling the students.

If students can’t afford uniforms, some will be available. Lee added that teachers often step up to provide clothing for students and it would probably work the same way for uniforms.

Currently, about 415 students in grades prekindergarten through fifth attend Gale Pond Alamo STEAM Academy.

The response was 72 percent for uniforms and 28 against. About 134 people voted. Some families with students in fifth grade didn’t cast ballots and some didn’t care, Lee said. The Ector County Independent School District Board approved uniforms for Gale Pond at a meeting last month.

Colors for tops will be black, gray, red, gold, navy blue and royal blue.

Pants, skirts and shorts will be khaki, navy and black, Lee said.

Out of 10 students, a majority liked the concept of standard attire.

“It’s really good to have uniforms because you don’t have to go digging through your clothes and look for the clothes that you’re going to wear to match every day,” said 7-year-old first grader Jaiye Olivas.

Nine-year-old third-grader Cayden Boren said he thinks having uniforms will cut down on bullying because everyone will be wearing the same thing and if students don’t like it they’re wearing the same clothes, so they don’t like anything.

Branson Anderson, a seven-year-old first-grader, endorses standard attire.

“… Almost every time I choose something to go to school in, my mom says, ‘No, that doesn’t match,” Anderson said.

Lukas Houston, a 10-year-old third-grader, was a dissenting voice. He added that he may not be coming back to Alamo next year, but uniforms are not the reason.

“I say no because, first of all, it’s not your opinion. Second of all, it could be hot, or itch, or it may be a hard material and it might burn you. I’ve heard complaints on the bus, so I’d say no,” Houston said.

Eight-year-old third-grader Caiden Hinojos said he doesn’t want uniforms either.

“I don’t really care what I wear. My mom puts out what I wear, so I don’t really care. I just don’t want to wear it because I always wear suits and stuff to church and I don’t want to waste my suits,” Hinojos said.

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