Afterhours Home

Message Board

HOT off the Press:
Back to April Issue
Current Issue

This Month:
At The Movies
Birthday Bash
Book Beat
Celebrity Cemetary
Chick Chat
DThrill Lady
He Sez/She Sez
Jibbles 'N' Bits
Jock Talk
krstl's karats
Out of the Closet
Sports Page
Vital Social Issues
Whisker Watch

E-Mail AH

April 2001


Should Uniforms Be Mandatory in Public Schools?

Coug Sez:

Ever since I was born, I always wanted to be like everyone else, didn't you? I wanted to own the exact same clothes as the Jones'. In fact, I wanted to listen to the same music, drive the same car, and even buy the same brand of toilet paper. Wouldn't the world be a better place if everyone were exactly the same?

The truth of the matter is that the world would be bland, dull, and full of conformists. We would lose every aspect of diversity, individuality, and creativity. In a sense, we would be losing ourselves, so why then would somebody want this to happen? The topic of school uniforms has stirred up a lot of controversy in our public school systems. The majority of public schools would like the students to wear a uniform and the majority of the students would like to be able to wear what they want, but which one is right?

I would have to say that the idea of forcing every student to wear the exact same clothes as all the other students is absolutely ridiculous. We were all born different. No two people are alike, so why should someone be permitted to try and make each student as similar as possible?

The schools think that they have good reasons behind the idea of having all students wear the same uniforms. They think that clothes can be distracting to someone's studies, that the clothing just takes away from the importance of why the student is in school. Clothes express Gabby's shoes are distractingly ugly?
individuality, diversity, and can often tell a lot about a person. Students wear certain clothes for different reasons. They might want to look nice one day and so they decide to dress up. Another day they might want to just wear sweat pants because they want to be comfortable. They also might not have a choice in what they wear because they cannot afford to buy certain clothes or even a uniform for that matter. Students do not wear clothes with the intent of distracting another student, and plus, how many times have you heard a student complain, "Teacher, I am unable to take my test today because Gabby's shoes are incredibly ugly?" (borderline blasphemy, I know). The fact is that clothes really do not distract the students, they just bother the teachers. In all seriousness, the students are not the ones complaining and they are the ones who have to learn.

The school's biggest argument is that brand name clothing is the cause of much violence in our inner-city schools. Since when did you hear of somebody getting beat up with a pair of Calvin Klein jeans? Wasn't it the gun or the knife that caused the violence? Wouldn't the feeling of power of possessing a weapon be the reason behind taking something from somebody? The schools also think that some T-shirts are too explicit for young children. Students in high school are usually between the ages of 15 and 18, sometimes 19 or 20. These students aren't "children" that still play with He-man and Barbie dolls. Teachers often expect their students to act like adults, but continue to treat them like children.

Isn't making students wear uniforms in a way an aspect of communism? The schools are implying that students should all be the same, which they are not. We are all different. We have different hair, different color eyes, different color skin, different heights and different weights. In no way are we all the same, so why should we try to be?

Bunny Sez:

A grey wool skirt, white knee socks, a pastel button down, and a blazer. Every day, for four years straight, that was my best friend's high school uniform. I remember during her freshman year listening to her and all of her friends bitch and complain about having to wear these clothes. Little did they realize that they would not only become their second skin, but that they would also come to appreciate them. If students took it upon themselves to deviate from the dress code, (boys unbuttoning their first button underneath their tie, or girls not having their skirts to a certain length), they got JUG (Justice Under God). According to everyone, that was the biggest pain in the ass, not to mention a complete waste of time, so everyone just abided by the dress code. No big deal.

A lot of people argue that enforcing a dress code suppresses a person's individuality. I think that's ridiculous. To begin with, if you are your own person, it will show through in your personality, not necessarily through your clothes. Secondly, after 3:00 PM or whatever time school gets done, knock yourself out. Run around naked, but for six hours of the day follow some rules. A little discipline never hurt anyone.

Another argument against enforcing dress codes is that some people
cannot afford them. This doesn't make a lot of sense considering, without a mandated uniform, kids wear a variety of clothing for each day of the week. They might not be expensive clothes but a couple pair of jeans, t-shirts and sweaters add up. If all you had to worry about was a couple pair of chinos, a dress shirt and a blazer it would be the same price if not less expensive. At my friend's school, boys were also not allowed to wear earrings nor were they permitted to have their hair hang below the collar of their shirt. The headmaster had no qualms of enforcing this. He felt it taught the students obedience and helped them act as adults, which after all, is the goal of any college prep school worth its tuition.

I think it's pathetic that students and parents get neurotic about their school enforcing rules on how students should dress. They all should be less concerned with the way the students look and more concerned with their receiving a solid education.

For inner-city schools, it has been shown that instituting a dress code reduces the number of crimes. Granted, the guns and knives might still be present, but now there is one less reason to use them. Students in these schools have had heinous crimes committed against them because of their expensive shoes or trendy clothes. Dress codes alleviate that problem.

I am not denying that uniforms make everyone look the same and suppress diversity, that is their intent. Just because I may be forced to wear the same shirt as someone else doesn't make that person and I the same. Clothing does not mirror someone's character. And if you need something that lays on your skin to express who you really are, then you don't have much of a personality to begin with.

A dress code also prohibits the exposure of crude and offensive clothing. I know that a lot of people wear coed-naked shirts and personally my children and I think some of them are funny and not offensive, but that's just me. Other parents might think that those shirts and others like them are too suggestive and provocative. When I was at my son's junior high orientation, I remember seeing a lot of shirts that if I were of another race or of other sexual orientation, I would definitely have found offensive. Imagine sitting behind someone in class and having to look at something that degrades you and everything you stand for. Now imagine not being able to do anything about it because some screaming liberal says it violates their freedom of expression under the First Amendment. What about your rights?

People have to obey a dress code in extracurricular activities like golf, ballet classes and tennis lessons. This has never hurt me nor my children, it has never offended me nor my children, and it certainly has never made me or my children any less of a person. Yes, we are all different, even Coug and I. Except of course for the fact that Coug likes to wear his hair like a girl, too. ::::running until next month:::::::