Smartly dressed

A welcome change or reign of the fashion police? Students, parents and staff comment on the new district-wide uniform policy.



Booker T. Washington High School student Daniel Kupetsky initially protested the new uniform policy, but now admits he can live with it.

(page 1 of 2)

Khakis. They’re the new black. This school season’s must-haves. And that’s not fashion jargon — students really must have khakis to attend class in Tulsa Public Schools.

The classic pants, shorts, and oxford and polo shirts on the approved wardrobe list may not be coming down any designer runways this fall, but they’ll fill the corridors of every school as part of Regulation 2601-R, the TPS uniform policy.

Stylist to the stars Rachel Zoe would hardly call the look “major,” but since 2006, all middle school students have been required to wear uniforms. In 2011, the district’s elementary and junior high students joined in, along with East Central and McLain high schools and the new Will Rogers College High School.

By Day 1 of the 2012-13 school year, uniforms were the order of the day for all students, in all grades, at all TPS schools. It’s like a never-ending game of “Who Stole My Look?” for the Joan Rangers of Joan Rivers’ “Fashion Police.”

Yet the biggest surprise of the new policy is how smoothly it happened and how little resistance it generated.

“It all started when a group of high school principals came to me with the idea, citing safety and security issues,” says TPS Superintendent Dr. Keith Ballard. Initially, there was a strong reaction that included a large number of emails, lots of activity at school board meetings — even student protests at the meetings.

“I was impressed with the students,” Ballard says. “They were respectful and articulate in getting their point across.”
Since the implementation, both sides have calmed down.

“Now, there is no competition among students for designer this or designer that,” he says. “But we did have some pockets of pretty fierce opposition.”

Daniel Kupetsky of Booker T. Washington High School was one of the students protesting.

“The objection for me was that the uniform was uncomfortable and unnecessary,” Kupetsky says. “Other students argued for the right to express themselves.”

Now, he admits, “I can live with it. It’s not a huge deal, but it didn’t help anything. And there are still people who miss class for code violations.”

Daniel’s mom, Michelle Cantrell, objected to the policy, too, but for different reasons. With three boys in three different schools with three different uniform requirements, this new policy hit her in the wallet.

“Before, they would have worn jeans with one of the countless hundreds of running shirts we had,” she says. “I know it sounds easy to put on a uniform, but finding a belt in the morning or not having clean khakis can be more stressful — and more expensive.”

White oxford shirts are the one item all three boys can wear, but that gives their mom little comfort.

“Those get stained,” she says.

Many parents of girls feel differently. Donna Keffer’s little fashionista is about to be a first grader, but already — thanks to the uniform policy — mornings with Madeline have taken a turn for the better.

“There isn’t a battle over what she’ll wear,” her visibly relieved mom says.

Their discussions have shifted to how Madeline can personalize her uniform look. Striped or polka dot leggings in school colors often do the trick. Hair bows and barrettes help. And footwear, of course.

“She wants shoes to make her run faster so she can catch the boys,” Keffer says. “Her turquoise sequin tennis shoes are good for that.”

The skirts, jumpers, shirts, pants and shorts in Madeline’s closet can be mixed and matched to make about 10 outfits. She is not really partial to pants, but the shorts come in handy on the days she wants to twirl on the monkey bars.

At Eisenhower, Madeline’s school, uniforms must include the school logo, which can add as much as $5 to the price of a garment.

“There are a couple of places around town that (can add the logo), or I can catch a 1-cent sale at Land’s End,” Keffer says.

The school also hosts a consignment sale every year, a convenient outlet for parents to donate and buy used uniforms.

The uniform policy has certainly changed the pace of business for Chari Edwards of C&J School Uniform Co. Her store originally catered to private and parochial school students, but now serves TPS families, too.

“This is our 18th summer, and the business has grown substantially,” she says.

Local discount and department stores carry the individual pieces that make up the TPS uniform collection, but a uniform store can offer additional perks.

“We have sizes parents can’t find in stores, like slims and huskies, from 2T to 54 men’s,” Edwards says. “Our boys’ pants have reinforced knees. Some girls buy the boys’ pants for that reason.”

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September 2018

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More information

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Orth Contemporary is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new Silver Deposit paintings by Jimi Gleason on view at the gallery from September 7ththrough October 19th.    ...

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View map »


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View map »


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View map »


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More information

Orth Contemporary is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new Silver Deposit paintings by Jimi Gleason on view at the gallery from September 7ththrough October 19th.    ...

Cost: free

Where:
Orth Contemporary
20 South Lewis Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74104
View map »


Telephone: (918) 565-9404
Contact Name: Katie
Website »

More information

Teachers and administrators can ring in the school year with a sweet deal.   Every Sunday thru Thursday in September, a school ID will get teachers and administrators a half-priced Four...

Cost: 1/2 priced Four-Course Classic

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The Melting Pot of Tulsa
300 Riverwalk Terrace #190
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View map »


Telephone: 918-299-8000
Website »

More information

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Gilcrease Museum
1400 N Gilcrease Museum Rd
Tulsa, OK  74127
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The Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association presents the OSSAA State High School Cheerleading Competition. Join us on September 22nd and support your favorite team!

Cost: $ 7.00

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 S Lewis Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74171
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Looking for a way to exercise your mind and body while having fun?  Laughter Yoga may be just what you're looking for.  This popular new class is low-impact and requires no special...

Cost: Free

Where:
LIFE Senior Services
5950 E. 31st St.
Tulsa, OK
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Sponsor: LIFE Senior Services
Telephone: (918) 664-9000
Contact Name: Emily Fox

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Signified by the balance between day & night, the Autumn Equinox serves as an opportunity to retreat from the harried pace of life, reflect upon that which is coming to an...

Cost: $375

Where:
The Ofi House
34477 S 502 Rd.
Park Hill, OK  74451
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Sponsor: YogaQuest
Telephone: (918) 622-5454
Contact Name: Dee Anne Day
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Teachers and administrators can ring in the school year with a sweet deal.   Every Sunday thru Thursday in September, a school ID will get teachers and administrators a half-priced Four...

Cost: 1/2 priced Four-Course Classic

Where:
The Melting Pot of Tulsa
300 Riverwalk Terrace #190
Jenks, OK  74037
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Telephone: 918-299-8000
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Orth Contemporary is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new Silver Deposit paintings by Jimi Gleason on view at the gallery from September 7ththrough October 19th.    ...

Cost: free

Where:
Orth Contemporary
20 South Lewis Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74104
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Telephone: (918) 565-9404
Contact Name: Katie
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The Oklahoma Aquarium will celebrate the grand opening of the newest exhibit, The Polynesian Reef, with Luau open to the public. The Polynesian Reef Exhibit will be the second largest exhibit at...

Cost: free

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
300 Aquarium Dr
Jenks, OK  74037
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Join us to celebrate 15 years of the Oklahoma Aquarium and the opening of our newest exhibit, the Polynesian Reef on September 22, 2018!  The new exhibit will showcase over 70 species of South...

Cost: 15.95

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
300 S Aquarium Drive
Jenks, OK  74037
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Sponsor: Oklahoma Aquarium
Telephone: 918-528-1577
Contact Name: Laura Long
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Orth Contemporary is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new Silver Deposit paintings by Jimi Gleason on view at the gallery from September 7ththrough October 19th.    ...

Cost: free

Where:
Orth Contemporary
20 South Lewis Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74104
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Telephone: (918) 565-9404
Contact Name: Katie
Website »

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Batman is coming to Broken Arrow! September 22 is the 4th annual Batman Day. Come in costume and meet some of your favorite characters. There will be a great charity auction full of wonderful items...

Cost: $10

Where:
The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Broken Arr
1400 W Washington
Broken Arrow, OK  74011
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Sponsor: The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Broken Arrow
Telephone: 918-258-7545
Contact Name: Wendi Bowman
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The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate (TOSS) hosts a Swing dance and lessons  The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate (TOSS) is the only UNESCO recognized dance organization in Oklahoma.  We are a 501c3...

Cost: $7

Where:
Community Center - South Minister Presby Church
3500 So Peoria
1/2 west of Peoria, on 35pl behind the church
Tulsa, OK  74102
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Sponsor: The Ok Swing Syndicate
Telephone: 918-450-691
Contact Name: Rita Robbins
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TULtalk


Episode 4: Kerry Vincent of Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show

One of the world's most influential cake competitions happens during the Tulsa State Fair, and the event's director, Kerry Vincent of Food Network fame, is here to share the details on the show, as well as her early life growing up in Australia.

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918 Day Discounts

Happy 918 Day, Tulsa! The whole city seems to be celebrating with a host of deals and discounts.

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Fall Arts Guide: September-December 2018

Bright lights. Big city. Tulsa has a plethora of performances this season. Mark your calendars for some new entertainment and returning favorites.

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Episode 3: Chef Kirk Swaby from Gathering Place

In anticipation of the Sept. 8 opening of the historic park, Anna interviews Kirk Swaby about his work as the Gathering Place's Culinary Executive Chef.

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Wizard World and the strange power of celebrity

Kato Kaelin, who has his own complicated relationship with fame, comes to Tulsa to serve as the emcee for a pop culture convention.

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