The Toronto Catholic District School Board has implemented its new uniform policy for all elementary schools

Toronto school board implements elementary school uniform policy

By 
  • August 30, 2011

TORONTO - When eight-year-old Isabella Gouveia walks into St. Francis of Assisi Elementary School to start school this month, she — along with the rest of her classmates — will be sporting a new navy and white uniform.

And so will all students in elementary schools as the Toronto Catholic District School Board implements its uniform policy for all elementary schools. Currently, high schools have a uniform policy in place.

The board passed the “dress code for pupils policy” on June 23. Schools that have an existing uniform policy or dress code can continue with that dress code.

TCDSB chair Ann Andrachuk said the board has always had an “appropriate dress code policy” which prohibits clothing with logos, short shorts and “anything that promoted hatred.” The new policy takes it one step further with a uniform policy for all elementary schools.

In 2007, Andrachuk introduced a motion to review the uniform policy. Since that time, a consultation group of board staff, trustees and parents has worked on the policy. A survey suggested widespread support for a consistent dress code throughout the board.

Local schools will determine how the policy will be applied, except that the colour navy would not apply to denim. Each school will also determine the design of its school crest.

Andrachuk said the policy change ensures a more “cohesive group in Catholic education. To put the focus on where the focus should be instead of what (a student) is wearing.”

She added that aside from the practicality of uniforms, it was also the more cost-effective option for families.

“(Some) naysers say that students can't express themselves,” Andrachuk said. But there are other ways students can express themselves “in literature, drama and sports.”

Celia Gouveia, Isabella's mother, says the change is a welcome move. A school uniform will mean less stress for parents and kids alike, she said.

After initial hesitance about the uniforms, Isabella is looking forward to the uniform. Gouveia, a member of the school's parent council, said other parents have also lauded the move because it would help make getting ready for school much easier.

St. Francis of Assisi has decided to have two crested pieces of uniform: a cardigan and golf shirt for all students on school trips and picture day. Meanwhile, the white top and navy skirt or pants can be purchased at uniform stores or retail stores.

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