Importance of school uniforms affirmed

(PNC file photo)

Maria Gutierrez, chair of the Guam Education Board’s Safe and Healthy Schools committee, spoke with Newstalk K57’s Patti Arroyo Wednesday about the school uniform policy.

She said that although she’s the one who suggested suspending the uniform mandate because of financial hardship, uniforms are important for a variety of reasons.

Gutierrez said they help keep students safe because they help to easily identify students.

She said that they also contribute to student discipline and pride in the school.

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“I’m glad to say that, for this opening of the face-to-face, I went around. I was at a bus stop here on Route 16, and there were these little kids that go to Chief Brody. And they were in uniform, so I was the one who said, ‘You know you don’t need to wear your uniform. Just tell your mom and dad that as long as you wear something that doesn’t have bad words..or not so nice..and everything. And the kid said, ‘No, we love to wear our uniform because you know, we are proud of our school. This is our school spirit,” Gutierrez said.

The Guam Board of Education will decide next month whether school uniforms will again be mandatory.

School uniforms were made optional in the beginning of the pandemic.

That was due to concerns over parents who had lost income because of the pandemic and could no longer afford new uniforms.

The current policy that suspends the uniform mandate will last until the end of the current school year.

During a recent board meeting, GDOE superintendent Jon Fernandez said that the decision will have to be made by next month to give uniform vendors time to react.

The decision on school uniforms will be made at the Guam Education Board’s next meeting on April 27th.