SPARKS, NV - Next year Reed High School students will be required to wear uniforms to school. It’s something administrators say will help with campus safety.
“We had an incident earlier this year where a girl from off campus came on campus and started hitting one of our students in the hallway,” Reed Principal Mary Vesco said. “It happened right by one of the assistant principals and she immediately knew this girl didn’t belong here but we want to protect our students so if it’s for the safety of the students that we chose to go with the uniforms.”
Students will be allowed to wear slacks, skirts, shorts and capris in black or khaki and polo-style shirts provided by the school. Students, parents and faculty together came up with the new look.
“The majority of the students know about the uniforms because they’ve been involved in the process,” Reed Vice Principal Sharon Lieberstein said. “We’ll eventually have a vendor that will bid the shirts and the kids will all be able to try them on before they purchase them.”
Administrators say the new uniforms will benefit teachers because they can concentrate on their lesson plans instead of enforcing the dress code.
“We want to be an educational institution and we want our teachers to be instructional teachers and so much of their time can be spent dealing with dress code issues and that’s a real problem,” Vesco said. “Most of our students dress appropriately but there are certain fads students follow that show way too much skin for school.”
School officials say uniforms may be the way of the future for many high schools.
“We are the leaders on this,” Vesco said. “I’m sure there’s a lot of other schools talking about this and just haven’t made the jump yet and I’m sure after we make this move there will probably be a lot of other schools making it. In Las Vegas there are five high schools that uniforms at this time.”
The shirts will have the Reed logo on them and cost around $10. There are three different color options.
“We’ll only charge the cost of the shirt, there are no extra fees here,” Lieberstein said. “If someone is on the Free & Reduced Lunch program we will help them purchase the uniform.”
Some students say wearing a uniform won’t help the problems they face at school.
“Just because you’re wearing a uniform doesn’t stop people from being in gangs, it doesn’t stop people from doing drugs and it doesn’t stop people from vandalizing,” Reed student Cari Northam said. “I think this is a bad idea because a lot of students express themselves through what they wear. Some people dress inappropriately but the teachers and faculty should enforce the dress code.”
“It seems like an unnecessary waste of resources,” Reed student Devin Kramar said. “It seems like we’re wasting a lot of time and effort that could be better suited to help curb bulling or improve the quality of education. I don’t think uniforms are going to fix anything. I want to come to school in my own clothes.”
Others say it won’t change the problems some students have with the dress code either.
“I think it might help us a little bit but it won’t solve our dress code problem,” Reed student Johanna Heidenreich said. “The girls and guys who dress inappropriately will find a way to make the uniform inappropriate and just keep on dressing the same way.”
Student Autumn Cassady thinks the idea will be a burden on some families.
“I don’t agree with it and I think for a lot of families it’s a big financial hardship,” Cassady said. “Not only buying the uniform but also having to do a lot more loads of laundry. Wearing different clothes is less noticeable than the person who can’t afford to wash their clothes.”
Reed is also one of four Washoe County high schools to receive grant funding to build a fence around the campus for added security.