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To uniform or not to uniform
by Christi Quatro
Jul 21, 2012 | 1915 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As my 18-year-old daughter was leaving the house the other day, I asked her, “Are you wearing that?” Her shirt exposed her bra straps and her shorts were an inch from being considered bikini bottoms. After looking at herself in the mirror, she looked at me like I was crazy. When I said I thought the outfit was a bit skimpy, she commented that she used to wear that same outfit to school. Really?!

After she left, I began to think about an article I had read on uniforms in high schools. At first I was not a fan of the idea; after all, when I was in high school it was practically a fashion show. The ritual of going school clothes shopping was something my sister and I loved.  Being able to express your individuality, accessorize your outfits with gaudy jewelry and showing off your new jeans the first day of school was what it was all about. But after looking at my daughter, I wondered how she would have reacted if they had mandated uniforms while she was still in school.

I began to ask my friends their opinions. One of the hot topics right now is about the bullying. Kids bully for different reasons, but one obvious reason stems from the fact that all kids don’t look the same and that some are picked on for what they wear. I would have to agree that without the designer labels, it removes the separation of class. When I look at some of the things I have purchased for my daughter over the years it’s crazy: bedazzled jeans, Abercrombie shirts, Ugg boots …

The whole focus when in school should be on learning. What a concept. When you place all students in the same uniform, it takes away the element of distraction. Kids should focus on what they are learning instead of on what Sally is wearing. Also, some of the clothes that these young girls wear, with their short hemlines and sheer tops, must distract young hormonal boys. I imagine a uniform policy would also decrease suspension and disciplinary action of students who currently disrupt the academic climate through their clothing choices and who choose to veer away from the standards that school district feels is appropriate attire. Also, tardies might decrease with students not having to worry about what they are wearing that morning, being that they have very limited options.

Another argument for school uniforms should be about safety. With school uniforms in place, it would be really easy to differentiate a student from a non-student, therefore being able to recognize strangers on campus. With all of the horrible on-campus violence we hear about, it might help identify possible threats and prevent harm to our kids. Eliminating baggy clothing also makes it more difficult for weapons, drugs and alcohol to be concealed and decrease illegal activities and limit gang problems.

Finally, uniforms would lead to higher self-esteem and a higher sense of school spirit. By eliminating some of the peer conflict, distractions, competitiveness and giving students a higher sense of self-worth, many of the reasons kids tend to do poorly in school would be decreased if not totally eliminated. This would ultimately lead to a more positive academic culture, allowing students to focus on a team mentality and adding to the overall pride we are hoping to instill in our kids. After all, I think our ultimate goal is to raise good kids to be good adults.

Christi Quatro is the director of communications at The Chamber. She can be contacted at cquatro@thechambernv.org.
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