When I started Grade 1 (many, many years ago), we went to school in a navy tunic, white short-sleeved shirt, tights or white socks and closed-toe shoes. We also wore a little navy tie to match. All very cute. This was the mark of “being in school,” which at that time was very highly desirable. This was not a private school, this was a public school in a huge school division. All schools adhered to the same dress code. No one was “better than” anyone else, no one had “better” clothes, more expensive belongings.
When I got to Grade 6, we no longer had to wear uniforms. We could wear what we pleased. Soon enough the competition began – everyone vying to wear more and more “interesting” clothes. Shorter skirts (not allowed), tighter clothes (not allowed), makeup (limited), fancier “stuff.” Sometimes I wished we could go back to the little tunics and tops.
When my kids went to school, they didn’t have a uniform. They wore pretty much what they wanted within reason, no dress code except to be decent and not wear low-cut tops, spaghetti straps or extremely short skirts or shorts.
When I started teaching in private schools here in the Valley, summer was casual wear. But when school began, the private Kindergartners once more wore uniforms – red, khaki, white, navy. This appears standard throughout private schools here. Did this harm the children? No, they actually enjoyed wearing the uniform as a badge of “being in school.” And yes, there was less competition and more concentrating on studies.
Does this extend to middle- and high-school students?
I think not, unless they are in a private school setting. There would be pluses – uniforms would save parents a lot of money in the long run, and there would be less competition. Since appearance means so much to pre-teens and teens,, would a uniform really stifle kids in any way? They fuss endlessly over their hair, their clothing, their nails – the smallest things. But is it right to subject them to parades to “assess” whether or not they meet standards set by individual schools? Whether or not the color of shirt is exactly the right shade? Whether they wear khaki or beige (I still don’t really know the difference – most stores don’t either, apparently). Perhaps it depends upon the administration’s view of appropriate clothing. The school district has the right idea banning flip-flops and tank tops. It’s easy to understand banning revealing clothing or excessively short shorts or skirts, etc. But really – the right color of navy or red?
I found an article from Channel 13 Action News on this subject and wanted to share it with you. See what you think:
Henderson, NV – “Parents are upset over their children’s dress code. The debate’s been sparked at Liberty High School, where students are getting in trouble for wearing the wrong colors.
Dress codes are meant to promote safety and improve learning, by taking style out of the equation, but some parents have written us saying the new principal at Liberty is enforcing the dress code too strictly.
Every morning, students have to walk into school in a single-file line, so administrators can make sure their clothes meet the dress code requirements.
“On the first day of school over 400 kids got in trouble for not having the right color blue,” says angry parent, Kelly Reveles. “Or their shirt wasn’t white enough, or wasn’t the right shade of red.” Her daughter got in trouble for wearing a top that wasn’t exactly navy blue.
But first-year Liberty High School Principal, Jeff Geihs says rules are rules. The only colors allowed on school grounds are white, red, navy and khaki. And by being strict about it, he’s seeing results.
“On the first day of school. 90 percent of our students were in proper student attire,” he says. “By the second day, 95 percent were, and today 98 percent.”
He supports the dress code because he believes it helps keep anyone who’s not a student at Liberty, out of the school. But he wonders why parents are putting up a fight, when they are the ones who originally put the dress code in place. They made the requirements, and voted for it back when the school opened in 2003.
“I’m just following what the community voted for, what the parents wanted,” he says. “It’s a slippery slope when you start getting into different shades of color. When it gets to a darker red like a maroon or burgundy, no we’re not going to allow that. When it gets to a lighter blue other than navy, no we’re not going to allow that.”
He’s also cracking down on athletes wearing school jerseys to class on game days. They used to be able to, even though it’s not in the dress code.
“Principal Geihs told me it’s because the previous principal wasn’t following the rules, and got away with it,” Reveles says. “This is getting ridiculous. He’s going a little overboard.”
Parents plan to start circulating a petition, and will be speaking-out at the next school board meeting.
The district as a whole has it’s own dress code that it enforces at all schools. That one includes no flip-flops or tank tops. The principal and parents at each school then have the right to make some of their own requirements.”