School Uniforms Bad Idea

The Board of Education will be discussing school uniforms at their policy meeting tonight. However, they are not taking input from the public at this meeting. As I have mentioned before, I have a child in the West Haven public school system. School uniforms are not a good idea. By making our children wear uniforms to school, we are merely placing an ill-fitting band-aid on the problems the uniforms are supposed to solve. Parents should be teaching children how to dress appropriately and how to behave, and it should be enforced by teachers in schools. Having a child wear a uniform is not going to solve the lack of parenting. We should be teaching our children how to think for themselves, not follow the herd!

Since I didn’t get a survey call at my home to cast my vote, here are my thoughts on some of the issues associated with implementing school uniforms:

1. School uniforms would save parents money.

Really? I’ll still need to buy clothes for afterschool and weekends. Also, I’m paying a lot of taxes in this city so my child can get a public education.  Why should I have to pay even more to dress my child in a uniform? Lets keep in mind the demographics of our City. Many families with more than one child can’t afford both uniforms and street clothes.

2. Children would not have to make up their minds on what to wear.

Children should have to pick out their clothes. That’s what people do in the real world.  It’s also an important form of personal expression.

3. Children would not be embarrassed or harassed because of their clothing.

It is naïve to think that children will not be picked on if they wear a uniform. They simply will be bullied for something else. It is our responsibility as parents to teach our children that any form of bullying is wrong and unacceptable.

4. A child’s social standing would be based more on individual character and less on economic status.

Uniforms remove student individuality. We should be embracing and celebrating diversity. Outside of the police and fire departments or the military, uniforms do not prepare children for the real world, where they will be judged by appearances and economic status.

It’s a cop out to make our children wear school uniforms and it deprives them of their rights.  I would be ashamed as a parent to tell my child she must wear one.

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15 Responses to School Uniforms Bad Idea

  1. Michael Trupp says:

    Dear Poster,

    I would be ashamed if I had someone as narrow minded as you as a parent also. I have two school aged daughters, it is a constant argument in the AM as to what the little one will wear to school!! The older one attends a school that requires uniforms, no arguments, less cost, better behaved kids. (stop in and visit a New Haven Magnet School and see for yourself) By the way, I think New Haven has even lower economic demographics than West Haven and I hear no complaints at PTO meetings about uniforms.

    You are correct that “bullies” will just find other things to “bully” about BUT, there are more “subtle” types of bullying that are not intentional but happen every day. Those that are less “fortunate” monetarily will always feel “below” the standard even in casual conversation about their attire a uniform levels that playing field.

    Just because our society has degraded to the point that economic status and appearance are “judged” does not mean we have to complicate our educational system with those “prejudices”.

    If it is about “individuality” then how about going to school wearing a mini skirt and heels or maybe just a bikini? A line has to be drawn, why not eliminate any “ambiguity” and just implement a uniform?

    BTW, I bet your parents just “LOVED” what you wore to school..Huh?

  2. Anthony Pedevillano says:

    Marilyn,

    I enjoy your column, but then I remember how well you wrote in high school as a student. Glad to see that you have continued.

    Hope that you are well.

    Tony Pedevillano

  3. Anna says:

    Hello,

    I think it is niave for you to believe that children are not judged by their social economic status. Children judge other children by what brand names they wear. Not only that but teachers judge children by the clothes they wear. They may not do so intentionally, but a well-dressed child with nice new clothes will be perceived better then a child with obviously used clothes. Children would all be put on the same level, teachers and other children wouldn’t be able to tell which child comes from a poor family and which one comes from a wealthier one.

    As for individuality, why is how we dress so important to someones individuality? Children will still style their hair and wear funky socks to make an impression, but shouldn’t our childrens individuality come from what they are interested in, and their positive attributes, not by what clothes their parents can afford to buy them?

    • Thank you for your comment Anna. I think you have not understood my argument. I believe that children are judged by their social economic status no matter what they wear. It is naive to think that problem will go away by simply having a child put a uniform on each day. The bottom line is that everyone knows everyone else’s business in West Haven, including where you live and what you do for a living, and if they don’t, they can find out in short order. They know a poor child, from a middle class child, from a wealthy child, no matter what that child is wearing.

  4. charlie says:

    uniforms suck

  5. hi my name is slim shady says:

    UNIFORMS SUCK

  6. Virginia says:

    I royally agree with u I go to a Hawaii middle school with uniforms and it sucks but I feel like I am just a ant in the colony of no significance so ur awesome:)

  7. Erica says:

    I understand where you are coming from, but haven’t you ever thought of it from a student’s perspective? I’ve been to two different school my entire life – one with uniforms, and one without. I enjoyed the school with uniforms the most. I felt as though it gave us a greater sense of unity and community. Not only that, but uniforms are great because they dictate a stricter learning environment, which will lead them to be more studious and follow the rules better, which will lead to better grades. It makes the learning environment stricter because being told what to wear trickles into being told what is expected of you and students are more willing to adhere to that.
    I get that you do not like the idea of school uniforms because you feel as though it takes away their freedom of self-expression and individuality. But by having school uniforms, students would be able to find other ways to be creative and express themselves other than through what they are wearing.

    • Thank you for your comment Erica. I was a student way back when and my daughter is a student now. I certainly never wanted to wear a uniform and my daughter does not want to wear one now. I know of many other students that do not want to wear a uniform. So yes, I do believe I have a student’s perspective. Of course, there may be students who would be willing to wear a uniform. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy your anecdotal argument. There is no science-based research that proves any of the claims you make. The bottom line for me is that compelling anyone one to wear something they don’t want to wear is wrong — unless they are in jail. I find forcing children to wear uniforms particularly egregious because they don’t really have their own voice to complain about it in a meaningful manner.

  8. seanna says:

    I don’t like uniforms,and uniforms suck.

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