Opposed to School Uniforms
Opposed to School Uniforms
Anyone who has observed five and six year olds lined up in formation, all eyes on their teacher in matching crisp shirts, pants or skirts and dark shoes would be impressed with school uniforms. The children look so cute and wholesome. In reality, regulation uniforms create an additional burden to the students and parents who are least able to absorb the expense and frustration of additional unnecessary rules and requirements.
Some argue the cost of school clothing is greatly reduced by school uniforms. Others believe school uniforms reduce conflict. Many school professionals believe there are less discipline problems when children wear school uniforms.
It is a myth that kids clothing budgets are reduced because school uniforms cost less than regular clothes. Any parent of multiple children and limited funds knows how to make do. Clearance racks, second hand stores and hand-me-downs are an important source of clothing for budget minded families and these sources do not normally have an abundance of up-to-date school uniforms.
School uniforms are an additional expense because kids still have to have clothes when school is not in session. Parents who struggle to clothe their children on a limited budget have less flexibility with school uniforms. Some school officials believe their clothes closets can supply children who come to school with no uniform, but school clothes closets are not reliable. When one of my sons enrolled as a new student in the month of December, regulation uniform clothing was not available in the local stores. The light gray polo shirt that I purchased instead of the regulation light blue or white was not accepted. My son was forced to wear a white turtleneck shirt he believed was for girls on his first day of school as a newcomer.
Middle schools are especially concerned with emerging gang behavior. I was required to provide a solid black winter coat for a young boy because any coat that wasn't totally black could have possibly had a “gang affiliated” color on the coat. Not only was this an extra expense at a difficult time, it was very difficult to find a solid black coat for a child of ten.
Different uniform policies in middle school and elementary schools do not continue into public high schools. I do not believe a public high school in the U.S. has an an enforceable uniform policy. At completion of the 8th grade, the presence of school uniforms disappears, and regular street clothes replace uniforms. Most 8th graders are larger than 7th graders so more uniforms need to be supplied that will be worn for 9 months, at the most.
Perhaps discipline is less of a problem with school uniforms. I wouldn't know because I am too busy trying to find navy blue pull-up pants for a little girl who cannot unfasten uniform pants in time to make it to the girl’s room. A common sense principal of a middle school that I know of finally gave up on all the enforcement problems and just said: “Wear light on the top, dark on the bottom, no slogans on T-shirts, and I will be happy.”
Just before we moved out of state, a new uniform policy was announced for the upcoming fall at our neighborhood elementary school: Khaki pants or skirts, white shirts, navy blue sweaters, and black shoes were going to be required when school when re-opened for the next semester. This much detailed conformity is fine for private schools that can be selective with their students, but it is unreasonable for public schools where almost all children have a legal right to attend.