oh great now --school uniforms!

Megan_in_WVJanuary 30, 2002

A bill has been passed to allow schools in WV to make the students to wear school uniforms! I used to work at a bank where we had to buy uniforms--we got a $150 allowance--which would barely buy anything! That was almost eight years ago--the pants cost $45.00 the blouses anywhere from $40 to $50 and the jackets were around $100. I'm a bargin shopper and for $150 I could've bought at least twice the amount of clothing if I could shopped for my own clothes. I HATE school uniforms and I am furious about this!

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Generally, children's uniforms aren't that expensive. Are you sure the uniform policy is mandatory? Many public schools have adopted optional uniform policies and the policy normally fails because if a child is given a choice they will choose to wear regular clothes. Our public school tried that a couple of years ago - no one participated after a couple of months.

My daughter is now in a charter school which has a mandatory uniform policy. I like the policy. Shopping is a bit harder if you are not wearing traditional clothing that is sold for uniform use - We only have to comply with specific colors and NO logos. Mornings are a lot easier with uniforms and it is less obvious that certain children are more/less privileged.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2002 at 9:40AM
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Usually school districts are mindful of expenses and will set up programs to help (exchanges where possible or even subsidies if needed).

One plus is that it simplies a morning routine and reduces time spent agonizing over what to wear and why to wear it. That's more something children and adolescents will do than adults, but some adults really do spend a lot of their thinking time deciding how to dress and what to wear.

try not to get too furious over school uniforms because it's important to know how to go about effective rational complaint or how to change things effectively rather than to implode or explode

P.S. If the bill is to allow schools to decide whether or not to impose uniforms then it may be the case that some schools would not make that choice. Try to listen to reasons for and against enough that you can abide by whatever the rule will be at whatever school your child will go to (even if you don't agree with it and even if you have sound reasons not to agree with it). It's a side effect of living in a society structure that we have the rule of law and things like that. For the most part, fury at laws isn't very effective and usually hurts the person who is furious.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2002 at 10:16AM
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My kids attend a charter school with a strict uniform policy. Blue or white shirts with the school logo and kakhi shorts, pants or skirts. I do not like the policy because I think it makes the kids look like little clones. However, there are so many other positive things about this school that I tolerate it.

In some ways it makes morning easier but in other ways it makes life more difficult. You always have to make sure you have uniform shirts/shorts clean for the next day. Generally my kids have enough regular clothes that I never had to worry about that. Since I only bought 5 shirt/shorts combos for each of my kids it seems like I am always scrambling to wash something for school.

The uniforms are not that expensive. Our school is mindful of expenses when they make items mandatory.

I have not yet determined what the purpose of uniforms are though. As far as I can tell they solve no real purpose. Some kids that were problems in the public school last year are attending the charter school now and they are now problems wearing blue/white shirts. Uniforms don't change anything.

IMO uniforms are what school officials do to make it look like they are doing something, when in reality they are doing nothing. I think the charter school my kids go to wants to make it look more like a private school so they require uniforms. Since attendance is highly sought after in this school you really have to comply with the policy if you want to attend. Around here most public schools offer the ability for students to opt out of the policy. So-if you don't agree with the policy you probably will be able to opt out of it.


    Bookmark   January 30, 2002 at 11:41AM
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A lot of schools allow you to go to Target and buy their line of clothes. For samples of prices, see the link below.

It goes to the boy's uniforms - click Girls' over on the left to see their choices / prices.

Here is a link that might be useful: Target School Uniforms

    Bookmark   January 30, 2002 at 11:54AM
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Seems like uniforms make life easier, not harder. Just budget some of the other clothing money for uniforms instead. Particularly with girls as they get older this solves the sexy clothing issue.


    Bookmark   January 30, 2002 at 1:39PM
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oh see and now in my town we are trying with everything to get school uniforms because the pressure to be wearing name brand clothes is ridiculous. here you are a loser if you are not wearing adidas shoes or flared pants and we are tired of it. kids nowadays in a lot of school judge who you are on what you wear and we think that uniforms would solve this and all the kids would be equals as far as fashion goes. they have these adidas shoes with the blue stripes here that cost 65 dollars but target as the same exact shoes without the logo for 20 but no, it has to have the logo or you aren't cool. we thought maybe the kids were exaggertaing when they were telling us this, but at conferences, even the teachers say it is sad but true. yes it is the parents responibility to teach their kids that what they wear doesn't matter, but you will always have the parents that will buy their kids the brand name clothes anyway so you can't win.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2002 at 2:41PM
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I am 36 years old. This kind of stuff didn't just start last week. When I was a kid there was the SAME pressure to wear designer jeans ($50) when you could get Levis for $25. I don't think it ruined school when I was a kid (and I was NOT one of the wealthy ones) and I don't think it ruins school now. Kids learn about different family values by experiencing them through their friends.

You don't think that when my son goes over to play at his friend's house (a $million mansion) that he can't tell it's bigger and nicer than ours? And when he goes to another friend's townhouse that he can't tell our house is nicer and bigger? Do you really think that kids don't know what the expensive cars are and what the less expensive cars are?

Isn't learning about that kind of stuff part of growing up?


    Bookmark   January 30, 2002 at 2:58PM
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Mommabear, that is exactly how I feel. We are not poor we are middle class, I will be able to afford the school uniforms but I doubt that they will be much cheaper than 'regular clothes' especially for me, I shop at thrift stores, after-season sales and stores like Gabriel Brothers--I buy lots of name brands at least half price.

But all I hear now is 'lets celebrate our differences', okay I agree with that, everyone is different--but why should we tell our kids that being different or looking different is fine but we must all dress alike--doesn't that sound like a double standard? It does to me.

Also, our school already has rules--no short shorts, you cannot wear shirts that show your belly button and no rude tee-shirts, if you come to school with any of these on you are sent home immediately.

I think this is just stupid. Even if kids are forced to wear uniforms then kids will still pick on other things, like hair, jewelry, shoes, etc.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2002 at 3:45PM
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Hmmm... looking at it from another point of view, if the school officials are not so busy ensuring there are no vulgar t-shirts or short shorts, and calling parents to come pick up their underdressed kids, they might be able to concentrate on more important things.

Even when there are rules, the school officials can't possibly catch every rule-breaker in the school, which means some kids will make it all day in unacceptable clothes. This makes the other kids want to try it :-)

In all the years I have seen kids in schools with uniform policies, the kids are still individual and very unique, making their differences known. But the attention at the school is a little more focused on learning. If a kid is musical, or athletic, or has hobbies and interests, their clothes did not make them that way.

Not that uniforms are a cure-all for the ills of today's education system. It won't guarantee some kids won't still be picked on or somehow keep violence out of schools. But... I certainly think they can't hurt!

This is definitely a good discussion!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2002 at 7:51AM
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I like this discussion as well.

I do not think uniforms are a MAJ0R factor in school performance one way or another. I think that it is one of the least important things that determines school performance. I also think that administration still has to deal with enforcement of uniform codes in such a school. The enforcement is different, but still exists. Because, even with uniforms and NO exemptions there are still kids that come to school with unacceptable clothes and the administrators still have to deal with the stupid parents.

I AM in favor of dress codes. Dress codes are different than uniforms. With uniforms they never really learn how to dress. They are TOLD how to dress. That's not the same as learning how to do it yourself. Yes it is easier for parents to know that they have to wear this shirt/shorts combo, but the easiest way is not always the best. When you give kids parameters to work with and let them choose within those parameters they actually learn to make choices about what to wear. It makes some sense to limit the choices, but to give NO CHOICES seems to take away a learning experience.

I have not seen one positive benefit from the uniform policy at our school. As I stated before I think the only purpose it serves is to make the parents think of the charter school as a private school. In all fairness it IS more like a private school than a public school, but that is due to the inherent nature of charter schools, not due to the fact that all the kids wear blue and white shirts with the school logo on them.


    Bookmark   January 31, 2002 at 9:57AM
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My son's old school had a uniform policy. The parents voted before they did it, it was about 60% in favor. The "uniform" was blue or khaki shorts/pants/skirts and collared polo shirts in any of 4 colors. The clothes were cheap and could be purchased anywhere from KMart to Macy's (but not so cheaply), in the stores and on line or catalogues. So many of the public schools had such policies that the stores stocked what was required. So it certainly did not make school clothes shopping harder in any way. Frankly, it was a lot easier. I did it on line from Penneys and never spent a day in the mall (some things money can't buy LOL).

As far as how much good it does, I agree with Mommabear, it doesn't make or break a school. I agree that kids should express their individuality, but I believe even stronger that they should be taught clothes aren't the way to do that. They should learn to define themselves by their actions, not by their clothes. So I don't buy the idea that kids need to have freedom of clothes at school in order to express their individuality. They still have plenty of hours in the day and days of the year to wear whatever they want.

I like to see the kids in uniform at field trips and essemblies with guests. I like the appearance of neatness and community it gives them. Clothes can effect a person's mood. When we take our kids out to dinner, for example. If we take them out "as is" in sweat pants and tshirts, they act like they are in a gymnasium. If we clean them up, put them in "gentlemen" clothes, they are (at least a little) more likely to act like gentlemen. I think the same message is sent with school uniforms.

The new school here does not require uniforms, which my son liked at first. But even has said after a few weeks that uniforms were easier. I was thinking while doing the laundry, the uniforms lasted longer than regular pants worn to school. Now I have to fight him to change his clothes before going out to play, so many pants get ruined in the back yard. I never had to ask him to change out of the uniform before playing outside! LOL!

It's not an issue worth my energy or time to fight for, but if this school changed to uniforms, I'd go along willingly. Even in our old district, they still had to admit, the school is public, they have a responsibility to educate, they can't expel a kid for not having the uniform. If it was an issue of money, the school has assistance plans for that. Our PTA ran an exchange, and a lot of neighbors just did that on their own. But if a parent really just didn't want their child to participate in uniforms, they could get a waiver. They had to go through the school district, wait in line and all that hassle, but it could be done. Of 700 kids in DS's school, about 6 parents complained, but not one thought it was worth the hassle of the waiver.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2002 at 11:17AM
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Children can express their individuality after school. School is a child's "job" and many jobs require uniforms.


    Bookmark   February 1, 2002 at 10:46AM
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I think the schools are trying to eliminate another reason for the taunting and bullying that other children endure if, they don't wear the designer labels.
Personally, I like uniforms. I also attended private schools all my life where uniforms are mandatory and my children are attending similar schools. It's a lot cheaper for me to buy and maintain the uniforms than having to buy regular clothes.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2002 at 11:16AM
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Studies have shown that uniforms DRAMATICALLY increase good behavior and good test scores.
It's easier to dress your kids for school in a uniform, and cheaper.
And parents who are rebellious about a school policy often transfer that attitude to their kids.....to the detriment of the kids.
You can't change the decision.....smile and amke the best of it.
Linda C

    Bookmark   February 1, 2002 at 11:19AM
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It will be based on each school--so its not a done deal quite yet, so when it comes to my son's school, I will make sure my voice will be heard.

By the way, my son dresses well, (no sloppy clothes or rude tee-shirts--he doesn't even like jeans!!!) And he is always on the A honor roll. I don't believe for one moment that 'uniforms' make better students! Besides my son goes to a small school out in the county we barely have any behavior problems at all. No weapons, no drugs--nothing. I still think it is just another way that the schools are trying to take the control out of the parents hands and into theirs.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2002 at 11:42AM
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Linda would you please point me to any study in which school uniforms were the only changes made in school pilicies? I wont be waitingfor an answer because everytime on of these studies comes out in is later learned that other policy chages were made in the schools that could have just as well effected the behavior of the students.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2002 at 6:20PM
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School control should be in school officials' hands. That's their job.


    Bookmark   February 2, 2002 at 11:17PM
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I would just like to say that I went to Catholic school for some years growing up, and I LOVED the uniforms (though, of course, I didn't admit to that at the time! :) Especially during pre-teen years, the pressure to look "cool" can be very strong, and stressful. The uniforms elimitated the loooong morning agony of trying to decide what to wear. Looking back at the pictures, I have to say I looked pretty darn cute too =)

    Bookmark   February 2, 2002 at 11:27PM
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And.....the control of the school officials is in the hands of the people who elect the school board.
Majority rules! You don't like the decisions? Run for the school board.
Linda C

    Bookmark   February 3, 2002 at 9:26PM
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I remember reading about the Long Beach, Calif. school, which was written up at the time in Reader's Digest. The school had excellent results. But now, a purely scientific look at it to ensure no other factors had an impact on the improvement, states that simply because they were under such intense scrutiny and observation could have affected the result.

The RD article outlined the types of uniforms. Basically they wore simple white shirts and khakis, or sweatshirts/skirts/shorts in the school colors. They weren't the basic plaid jumpers we instantly visualize when someone mentions uniforms.

So the kids were able to be comfortable and still look uniformed.

Here's one article that discusses whether other factors could have affected their school's good results. But I think, the school has been doing the mandatory uniforms since 1994, and the good school performance has stood the test of time. They are not under nearly the same scrutiny as they were in the beginning and are still doing well.

I still feel like uniforms are not a bad thing and really can't hurt (and may help) the school in the long run.

Here is a link that might be useful: Uniforms

    Bookmark   February 4, 2002 at 8:15AM
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Oh how I wish uniforms were mandatory at my son school. My mornings would be so much easier...........:-)

    Bookmark   February 6, 2002 at 12:16PM
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Is there anyone out there that sincerely believes that violence can be reduced simply by putting kids in uniforms?

Anyone who has taken a statistics class can tell you that correlation is NOT causation. In order to test for causation you have to hold ALL factors constant except the one you are trying to study. So-if you add uniforms and more teacher patrols in the hallway at the same time you can't specifically attribute the decline in violence to uniforms. In addition the Long Beach study was done at a time that violence in our society was declining so there is a general decline in violence that should be factored into the data. There is no reason to think that if violence in society is declining the factors that cause the general violence level to decline wouldn't also cause a decline in school violence. You would need an in depth analyis along those lines to really see how much of an effect uniforms alone have on school violence levels. I suspect once you isolate those factors that school violence will be very highly correlated to the level of violence in the surrounding community, regardless of whether the kids wear uniforms or not.


    Bookmark   February 6, 2002 at 3:32PM
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Yes, I do. One fact you are overlooking is the "gang" factor in schools. Most gang members wear certain colors & avoid wearing their enemy gangs color. This is how they advertise who they are.
With uniforms, everyone is dressed the SAME. This is one tool to pushing gangs out of our school system.
Don't kid yourself gangs are in most schools these days.
Yes, even that nice, well kept high school at the end of hometown usa street.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2002 at 2:02AM
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OH COME ON. Believing that there are gangs in every school is just a convenient excuse for fearing and avoiding kids. In the MINORITY of schools where there actually are gangs (such as the high school where I do volunteer work), they are caused by actual, real, complicated social problems like immigration, poverty and mental illness. Cosmetic issues like clothing mean virtually nothing. Why do you think that kids are not smart enough to identify people by looking at their faces and learning their names? Isn't that how you do it?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2002 at 1:10PM
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I'll have to agree with LindaC on this one - if you're really that dead set against it, put your kid in another school.

Even if they don't wear school uniforms, they all dress alike anyways, so what's the point?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2002 at 9:41AM
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Anits how many schools have your children been to? After having spent 20 years in the military, I have seen a GREAT many schools. Live in your dream world.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2002 at 12:20PM
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My children attend parochial school. 2-3 times a year they get a dress down day. The rules to a dress down day are very strict. Nothing sleeveless, shorts/skirts must come to the knee, no shirts with any type of writing whatsoever-not even something with say Mickey Mouse on it.
Ds is no problem however DD has a problem finding something to wear. Not that she doesn't have appropriate clothes. Just that she is a young lady so those mornings can be rough with many many changes, "does this go with that", "does this make me look fat" ect...
I could never go thru that each morning so I vote for uniforms! They are simply easier for us.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2002 at 12:27PM
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I went to twelve years of catholic schools. Loved uniforms. Totally brainless, rolled out of bed just put it on in the morning. No arguments with Mom. If we wanted to "express ourselves" we wore cool earrings and did our hair in a unique way and wore goofy sox.
I am sure the teachers loved it, they didn't have to spend time serving as "navel police".
I am not necessarily pro uniform, but I am definitely pro dress code.
Our public schools here have a "no midriff policy" by the way. School is for learning, if the kids want to express themselves in dress, and wear the cute little midriff tops, do it at the mall or the park. The way they dress should in no way be detrimental or distracting to the other students trying to learn. I am sure most of you feel the same way.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2003 at 5:46PM
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My 2 girls have attended schools with & without a uniform policy, but always under a dress code.

When they first started wearing uniforms (at a public charter school) it was harder to find them locally and they were priced very closely to other clothing on the racks. So at the time it WASNÂT less expensive. My mom was kind enough to make them some & fabric is MUCH cheaper. And this was before Target & Walmart started carrying a good line of uniforms. One of the first batches of uniforms I purchased almost fell apart after a few washings.

I spent a LOT of time volunteering at the school where they wore uniforms & although all the kids wore them, there was still a neatness issue. I personally despise seeing uniforms not neat, shirts pulled out, etc. - if you're going to have a uniform policy, neatness should follow. (Too long in the military I guess). And IÂm not saying they should be pressed, just that the teachers began spending way too much time tucking shirts in.

My biggest problem with uniforms was when my oldest was in a phase where she didn't want to wear dresses or skirts. This was fine when it was warm enough to wear the shorts, but not when it did cool off. I did love that they could just roll out of bed & it didnÂt matter what they wore.

My kids are going to a small school district (our town's population is currently 11K & going at 44%). Last spring before school ended, the middle school had a meeting at the school for both the parents & the students. What was neat about it was they had several 7th graders present wearing examples of what not to wear. The kids wore some of the frequent offenders - t-shirts with the arms torn out, too-short skirts (well above finger-tip length), and mid-drift showing. It was effective in that both the kids & the parents got to see actual examples. They also make it very well known that they (the school) will call the parents to come up with a change of clothes for the kiddo.

I do feel that the individual school should be making the decision on uniforms. And hope that they are including parents and other community members in their decision. Otherwise it'll cause friction & dissention between the school, the school district and the parents. IÂd rather them figure out why our kids canÂt learn science or how to read than be bogged down with the uniform issue.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2003 at 7:24PM
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