Gilbert Guevara is not a fan of his school uniform. The 11-year-old would rather wear his street clothes to school, and most of his fifth-grade classmates agree with him.
Blue slacks or bottoms and a white polo shirt are standard dress at San Marcos Elementary School in Chandler after a majority of parents requested the change last year.
But San Marcos isn’t the only elementary school in the district whose parents have asked to make the switch to requiring uniforms.
Knox, Hartford and Frye elementary schools have all explored the idea through parent-teacher organization meetings — though some are farther in the uniform process than others.
Frye Elementary School could soon go to uniforms, despite opposition by parents such as Henry Villalobos, who says there’s no proof that uniforms improve academic achievement and students’ abilities to focus in class.
Villalobos said he doesn’t believe uniforms “have a real effect,” and he argues that requiring uniforms suppresses individuality.
In recent surveys, 72 percent of Frye parents indicated they are OK with switching to uniforms — the same percentage San Marcos had when the move was approved by the Chandler Unified School District governing board last year.
San Marcos principal Chris Sargent said she’s only had one family decide to leave the school because of the uniforms.
All in all, she said she’s seen a difference in student behavior and a reduction in class tardiness.
“Once a month, we do have a ‘Spirit Day’ and the kids can wear street clothes,” Sargent said.
“On those days we have more tardies. Children tell us, ‘Well, I couldn’t decide what to wear today.’ ”
San Marcos fifth-grade teacher Donna Dalessandro said she’s noticed a difference in her students’ attitudes.
“The whole ‘I’m better than you’ and the competition of who has better clothes or who is more stylish” is gone, Dalessandro said.
“They still add their own style,” she added.
On a recent day, students in her class groaned when asked to take off their hooded, namebrand sweatshirts covering their white polo shirts.
The Chandler governing board could vote later this month on whether to allow Frye Elementary to switch to uniforms next year.