GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Shopping for uniforms will not be a required part of the back-to-school routine for families in Grand Rapids Public Schools next year.
A new dress code will be implemented and the dress code requirement for PK-12 students will be dropped for the 2022-23 school year, the school’s superintendent announced Tuesday in a letter to the community.
“One of the priority outcomes for our new GRPS Strategic Plan is to ‘increase scholar empowerment, belonging and agency,'” Superintendent Leadriane Roby wrote in the letter. “The Superintendent’s Scholars Advisory Council strongly advocated for the district to eliminate the school uniform requirement.”
The school surveyed students, families and staff about school uniforms. While families and staff were split, students “overwhelmingly opposed” school uniforms, Roby said.
GRPS is working on the details for the dress code for next year.
The school uniform policy was originally implemented starting in 2013 and was phased in over three years.
Victoria Holman has grandchildren in the district and children who graduated before the requirement was phased in.
She is not sold on the district’s decision to no longer require uniforms and is concerned it could lead to more bullying.
“I think that the uniforms should be worn at least in elementary school,” Holman said. “Some kids’ parents can’t afford to buy the brand name jeans and pants.”
Emily Hammond has a son in kindergarten and daughter going into GRPS preschool next year.
“I’m really excited for it. I filled out the parent survey. I just found that the uniforms were an extra added expense for us because we would have to buy uniform clothes and play clothes,” Hammond said.
According to the district’s website, students were require to wear navy blue, light blue, white, black or red collared shirts, vests or sweaters. Some schools on the Southeast side could also wear orange tops. They were also required to wear navy blue, black or khaki pants, shorts, dresses or skirts.
Students will return to school on Aug. 23.