IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - Summit Hills Elementary proposed the idea of school uniforms to parents. The issue has caused a heated debate.
Principal Tom Gauchay said the idea is in the early phase. He said the proposed uniforms are very liberal. Students would be allowed to wear a polo shirt in the color of their choice. Slacks in khaki, navy or black would be worn by all students. Boys would have the option for shorts and girls can wear skirts. Accessorizing is up to the student.
Before school starts at the new Summit Hills Elementary, a debate on school uniforms will have to be settled.
"We just want to get the pulse of the community and get their thoughts," said Gauchay.
The pulse of the community is beating fast. Mother to four children, Anna-Liisa Duncan is for school uniforms. "We like the idea of a dress code because we think it will bring unity to the new school," said Duncan.
Around the corner from Duncan, lives Maryann Blanchard. She's mother to five and strongly against uniforms. "You can put your child in whatever you want. But don't come into my house and say you have to do what I want you to do," said Blanchard.
The school sent a survey to parents for their reaction.
Duncan said school should be like a team, and all teams wear uniforms. "All teams have a dress code and when you put your team uniform on you're part of the team and he [Gauchay] wants us to be the Summit Hills trail blazers. We're blazing new trails," said Duncan.
Blanchard says teams don't wear uniforms every day. "They only wear it at the game when it really matters," said Blanchard.
Then, there's the self-expression issue. "It's not to take individuality away from our children. It's to give them an opportunity to shine and be a part of a team," said Duncan.
"If there were magic clothes that would make them behave learn and grow, by all means, if it didn't affect their individuality, by all means do it," said Blanchard.
12-year old Andie Duncan says having uniforms would make social life easier. "There's lots of kids who get made fun of for what they wear so I think if we all wear the same thing as a dress code then nobody will be made fun of," said Andie Duncan.
"In my opinion the best time to teach a child to cope with the social aspects of life is at this age. So that if they do get bullied, if they do get teased for their clothes or what they look like they learn how to deal with that now," said Blanchard.
In the end Duncan and Blanchard agree on one thing, they'll abide by whatever the school decides.
The debate is far from over. Gauchay will make home visits to personally hear from families.
School administrators will make a decision on the uniforms June 7.