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Should public schools require uniforms? - Page 3

post #41 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

I couldn't have said this better. To make a stand over a school uniform but restrict them to age based curriculum that is inappropriate to the individual... that is the conformity that causes the real detriment. Not to mention, we force them to conform to other things too... by enforcing the Pledge, by not offering vegetarian lunch options, by dictating when they can go to the bathroom, by limiting school libraries, by giving teenagers developmentally inappropriate school hours, by filling their after school hours with ridiculous amounts of busy work... those are bigger deals to me than clothing.

Except for homework load (at the middle/high school level,) none of those are a big issue here. It may be partially due to it being a university town next to another university town, and our schools are very internationally diverse.
post #42 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by Polliwog View Post


Except for homework load (at the middle/high school level,) none of those are a big issue here. It may be partially due to it being a university town next to another university town, and our schools are very internationally diverse.

 

Then why are you so tied up about clothing? It's fabric you cover yourself with. It's not you.

post #43 of 140
I'm not tied up about clothing. Trust me, my own wardrobe is very, very, small. But, I have a first grader who LOVES clothes. She loves shopping for them, mixing and matching them, wearing them (usually with a headband and/or hat,) and helping to prepare them to take them to a consignment sale. She doesn't care what anyone else is wearing. As long as she can play, scoot, climb trees, whatever, in her clothes, she's happy. Whether she's wearing a dress, skort, shorts, etc. she goes to a charter school where the philosophy is "there is no bad weather, just bad clothing for the weather." She'll keep a pair of rain boots at school, since they go outside almost very day.

My son, on the other hand, is much more sensitive to fit and feel. It would be really hard to find uniform clothes that he will tolerate. It's hard enough to find regular clothes that are comfortable for him. A required uniform would be horrible for him.
post #44 of 140
Thread Starter 
I understand the points about kids wanting to express their individuality, but really it seems like generally clothes (around here anyway) are more about showing how much you conform, and this is an affluent area so conformity is expensive. If I saw kids being creative and showing their personalities, I'd probably feel differently.
post #45 of 140

Polliwog and I live in the same area and I would agree that those other issues are not issues for us here. My kids aren't musically gifted, but I don't think the schools here would have any problem with a child who was taking time off for high level performances, etc. The Pledge of Allegiance is offered in my younger kid's elementary school, but it is not required (they say it during early drop off before school starts, and on the rare occasion my dd2 makes it to school that early she usually makes up her own words to it whistling.gif). They don't say the pledge in my older daughter's charter 6th-12th school. They do offer vegetarian options in the lunch room at the elementary level (charter has a deal w/ a local restaurant with amazing locally sourced meals, but dd1 takes her lunch from home) and they can go to the bathroom any time they want to as long as they let the teacher know. They have a great school library at the elementary school, too. The charter school is skating on a shoestring and could use some more help in that regard. Our local high schools start at 8:50 and the charter starts at 8:30. I don't think the age-mate thing is much of an issue in our area either, but my kids haven't needed to grade skip for anything. My younger daughter is in the gifted program for language arts. Our schools do offer programs for kids performing above grade level across the board also. There are things that aren't perfect about our schools. Sometimes I do think there is a little too much busy work, but overall I've been pretty pleased. It's a little more structured than I like in the public schools, but I gravitate toward less structure and more flexibility, as does my older dd, hence the charter school and the dislike of uniforms. 

 

Yesterday my dd1 (7th grade) was wearing some ankle boot moccasins her grandmother gave her, some army green capri cargo shorts (just below the knee), a white 3/4 length sleeve cotton top with some lacy work around the top. The pants and top both came from the thrift store. Today she's rockin' a mid-length denim dress with a red and blue flowered skirt that was a hand-me-down from a friend. My younger daughter is wearing her "My Dad Rocks" t-shirt (consignment sale) with some blue knit shorts from Target.

 

They feel good about what they're wearing. They picked it out. They put it together. They're empowered with those decisions about themselves. I almost never tell them what to wear. I never tell my husband what to wear either. (He'd think I had gone off my rocker). I trust my kids to make appropriate choices about their own clothing. If there comes a time when conforming and wearing the "right" clothes is important to them we'll learn from that experience.

 

Having our clothing choices dictated to us by the school doesn't allow the kids autonomy over their own bodies nor does it allow them to learn about navigating potential pitfalls with social situations and clothing. It's okay to learn that you can't always have the latest and greatest. My kids aren't interested in that, but I definitely remember there were a few clothing items I felt pretty strongly about in high school (a Levis jean jacket for one). Maybe if it's something that they really, really want they save up money for it.  Maybe they learn that they can't afford Uggs and Bearpaws will have to do. Maybe they'll be like my kids and think it's stupid to pay $150 more for Uggs when the Bearpaws are just as good. Maybe they'll find some Uggs at the thrift store (my friend did — for $8, too, and brand new!!).

 

All that said, I think if a family likes uniforms and thinks that they work well for their kids, then more power to 'em! They can choose a school where uniforms are required. Just don't make me send my kids there.

post #46 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

 Take a look at any year book, same hair, same clothes, same make-up. It's just conforming to a what a marketing department wants kids to spend money on instead of a school administration.

 

Boy, that is totally not true in my experience in our area. Girls have short hair. Girls have long hair. Girls have hair dyed blue/pink/etc. Boys have long hair. Boys have buzz cuts. Boys have blue hair. At both my dd1's elementary school and dd2's middle/high school there are girls who wear cat tails. For real. Not all of them, just one or two girls. One is a tiger tail (high schooler) and one is a homemade yarn tail (5th grader). My dd1 wore one for a little while. I imagine it would be against the rules in a school with uniforms.

post #47 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

 

Then why are you so tied up about clothing? It's fabric you cover yourself with. It's not you.

 

Clothing is not just fabric you cover yourself with.  Clothing choices often say a lot about who you are as a person.  If clothing was just fabric to cover yourself with there wouldn't be a debate about uniforms or not because nobody would care enough to implement a uniform.  We would probably still all be back at wrapping a sheet around ourselves instead of even bothering to mess with shopping for clothes that appeal to us.

 

I also think that even if kids are conforming to a dress type to fit in they are still exploring who they are and should be allowed to do that.  Part of growing up is figuring out who you are and what makes you feel happy and if kids who watch tv feel happy by going along with the media images they see then that is what they should be able to do as long as their parents are okay with that.  Clothing choices, especially in public schools, should be between the parent and child with very few limitations from the school.

post #48 of 140

So many valid points!!  Obviously if the school system doesn't have issues that are outweighed by the negative effects of uniforms -- there is no need. And it is absolutely true that uniforms do not prevent all expression and certainly not all challenges associated with clothing and fashion for kids. 

 

I don't think that I mentioned my main reason for supporting uniforms in my DC's school. Though I am kind of riled up about issues of image for girls, my main reasons to support uniforms in my area is because we live in a very economically divided city in one of the wealthiest states in the country and we're in a city where DC goes to a school with 43% of students receiving FARMS. There was so much economic diversity at my DC's school that the kids dressing the same was a bit difficult to argue with. 

 

Also, one other thing that doesn't apply well to our city is the idea that a kid would be forced to go to a school with a uniform. Well, that may well be because the options for no-uniform were pretty slim but we don't have neighborhood schools after elementary like some areas do. Believe me, in choosing middle school "uniforms" were a category in our list of things to consider. I did let DC choose how highly she wanted to rank that...she was funny. Some schools got a high ranking for "no uniform" others got a high ranking for "cute uniform".  It was pretty funny. In the end, she is going to a school with a very boring uniform because the International Baccalaureate program with the social studies that mixed modern geography with ancient civilizations was what she decided was important. 

 

One other very small thing, my DC also has sensory issues with clothing and needs everything to fit "just so" and be soft and etc. Counter intuitively, uniforms have been great for that. 

post #49 of 140

My dd2's elementary school is also about 48% free & reduced lunch according to 2011 data I found online. That sounds about right to me. While the school is about 50-55% white there is a large newly immigrant Hispanic population and a sizable Asian refugee population as well as African-Americans and others.  Most people regard our town(s) as one of the most affluent regions of the state, but dd2's school is not especially affluent although there are certainly many families there who are not hurtin' and quite well-off. I don't recall hearing about any issues w/ clothes from dd2 and she would not hesitate to let me know. Sometimes it's a little TMI with that one and all the "so&so said this-n-that about whats-her-name and I don't think that's right" drama. I am proud and happy for her to stand up for her friends — don't get me wrong — but sometimes it devolves into somebody looking at someone a certain way, etc. I don't remember her saying anything about clothes, though.

 

I think it's great y'all were able to have so many choices on middle schools, IdentityCrisisMama, and I definitely do not have any problem with kids choosing to go to a school with uniforms — whatever works for the child and the family. But in answer to the title question, "should public schools require uniforms", if the intent is should the school system as a whole require them, then I've got to go with "no". If the question is applied to a situation like yours where some public schools in an area choose to have them and some other public schools don't then I've got no issue with it. I just am not in favor of requiring them in public schools across the board in a town so that a family has no way to opt out beyond pulling their child from the local public school system and going private or homeschooling.


Edited by beanma - 8/13/13 at 8:07pm
post #50 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post

But in answer to the title question, "should public schools require uniforms", if the intent is should the school system as a whole require them, then I've got to go with "no".

Ah, yea, well...that's where paying attention to the thread title will get'cha. I missed that entirely. To that I also say, "no". Ha!  

 

Interesting that our kids got to a school that seems pretty similar and that our take on the benefits of uniforms is different. My guess is that they probably don't cause as many problems as you think they may and don't solve as many as I attribute to them. Peace and love, man. 

post #51 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

 

 

There is no need whatsoever to call preteens and teens slutty.  Completely inappropriate.


Woah, way to misinterpret what I said. I said dressed slutty. Believe it or not... the girls that I hung out with used that phrase and supposedly it was a way to fit in with them. "the sluttier the dress, the better" I went to a small middle school and started to dress that way and then went to a big high school (4000+ students) and dressed that way. I was definitely not a slut and I didn't call all teens and preteens sluts... I have no clue where you got that from. Big difference between the two. I have no other way to clarify it really... should I say "dressed too maturely"?

post #52 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by C is for Cookie View Post

 I have no other way to clarify it really... should I say "dressed too maturely"?

Slut is just such a loaded term but hugs to you for getting called out for using it. Though I would not have used the term "slutty", I would have had a hard time describing what you meant and sympathize with your word choice. Maybe "sexually suggestive"?  Because you were talking about yourself you know what your motivations for dress were... 

 

Here's why I love the internet: I wanted to see if I could find a quick article on the word slut that got into how loaded a word it is. So, I Goggled "slut feminism" and found this: http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2010/04/04/what-is-slut-shaming/

post #53 of 140

Peace and love, backatcha, ICMPeace.gif .

 

FTR, I took the kids back-to-school shopping at Kohl's two weeks ago and bought them each 3 tops that they picked out (t-shirts, peace sign rainbow, unicorn wearing shades, yin-yang heart, periodic table "I wear this shirt periodically", panda BFF, and a tie-dye-ish one with a little strappy thing going on at the upper back), and 2 pants each which they also picked out (camo cargo pants, fluorescent yellow shorts, black sweats shorts, turquoise knit skort). I think it totaled about $60-something. The cargo pants were the most expensive at $22. Everything else was around $5-10. They're super happy with it all and wanted to wear it right away. I promised them some new shoes, too, and I need to get them new winter coats (they've been wearing the same ones for about 3 yrs now and that won't work any more). I'll supplement the new clothes with some thrift shopping, but they have way too many clothes for their closets and dressers now. They gotta weed through that old stuff before we can bring anything else into the house.

 

Although we could afford it I am way too cheap to spend much $$ on kids clothes unless they're really special local organic, etc. I actually feel much better about my part in things shopping used. That way I know I'm not indirectly supporting sweat-shop labor, etc.

 

I want to try to help them sew some knit shorts or something easy of that nature if we can squeeze it in before school starts. They really enjoyed making bags this summer. Dd1 was all about doing it almost all on her own, but dd2 took a little help from me and we made a nice bag out of some of DH's old jeans and lined it with this cool marbelized lavender woven cotton fabric. I put a zipper on it for dd2 and she picked out a ribbon for a strap and some buttons and patches to accessorize it. She sewed on all the buttons and sewed in the lining and sides. We used a back pocket and made a little flap for it with a cupcake button she picked out. She is very happy with it and Dd1 is very happy with hers — sage green on the outside, lined with mustard yellow, turquoise strap, giant red buttons to hold it closed. 


Edited by beanma - 8/13/13 at 9:07pm
post #54 of 140

My kids have school uniform, here in the UK I think most schools do. I have to say I don't see it solving many of the issues that have been claimed to me anyway that it will solve. The kids still know who has what brand of scooter, what gadgets, phones etc they have at home and all the rest of it. Admittedly I haven't heard much about clothing brands but then they are only 9. They do have enough non uniform days to see what all the other kids are wearing though.

 

Again people tell me that uniform is cheaper, well not for us. Till school we got most clothes either passed on to us from friends or bought used. There are plenty of places selling cheep school uniform but it's cheep for a reason, badly made and doesn't last. While the school can not enforce the sweaters and polo shirts with the school logo they are heavily encouraged and the kids do comment on anyone wearing the cheaper plain ones. The school ones are at least double the cost of the plain ones in the sale.

 

My final gripe is that it has been almost impossible to find cotton uniform, everything is non iron teflon coated polyester, yuk. I finally found cotton trousers this year and have always made the kids wear plain cotton polos rather than the polyester logo ones. Excema has been a nightmare till now so I'm hoping net year will be better. We don't have nearly so many issues in the holidays.

 

I would much rather be able to send my child, especially my one with sensory issues, to school in clothing which they are comfortable in and can concentrate properly but the uniform takes away that choice (though in fairness the school know about DSs issues and would be happy for him to come in whatever works, however he can not break the routine of school clothes, so whatever I find has to fit his image of that. So far I have got away with changing from polo shirts to plain t shirts as he can't deal with the collars but that is it.)

post #55 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by C is for Cookie View Post


Woah, way to misinterpret what I said. I said dressed slutty. Believe it or not... the girls that I hung out with used that phrase and supposedly it was a way to fit in with them. "the sluttier the dress, the better" I went to a small middle school and started to dress that way and then went to a big high school (4000+ students) and dressed that way. I was definitely not a slut and I didn't call all teens and preteens sluts... I have no clue where you got that from. Big difference between the two. I have no other way to clarify it really... should I say "dressed too maturely"?

 

 

I was in no way mean about it.  I felt it was inappropriate.  Slut is a loaded term and it did appear that you referred to others dress as well.  But I'm not up for arguing I was just pointing out it wasn't a good descriptor.

post #56 of 140

Breathe!

 

Great link ICM!

 

namaste.gif
 

post #57 of 140

Ah, I didn't know it was a loaded term. I will make sure not to say it again. Such a difference between generations because a lot of girls today use that word so freely and not know that it is inappropriate (including me blush.gif) Sorry.

 

*Rainbow.gif*

post #58 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by C is for Cookie View Post

Ah, I didn't know it was a loaded term. I will make sure not to say it again. Such a difference between generations because a lot of girls today use that word so freely and not know that it is inappropriate (including me blush.gif ) Sorry.

*Rainbow.gif *

I'd love to know what generation you are from because it isn't a common thirty year old term or preteen term and I don't hear college students use it except in deragatory ways.
post #59 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by C is for Cookie View Post

Ah, I didn't know it was a loaded term. I will make sure not to say it again. Such a difference between generations because a lot of girls today use that word so freely and not know that it is inappropriate (including me blush.gif) Sorry.

 

*Rainbow.gif*

That was very big of you, C!! It's HARD to get called out like. Very gracious, mama! love.gif

post #60 of 140

Also, I did want to go OT for just another second to say that the word 'slutty' and "slut-shaming" in general was very common when I was in school late 80s-early 90s. I suspect slut-shaming (the term used in that link, which is new to me) has been around a LONG time. The reason I think it comes into consciousness as we get a bit older is because, as women, we start to realize more fully how much that idea shames our sexuality, pits us against our fellow women/girls, and is used to bully women into very narrow boxes. And, as we get older and sex isn't so confusing...and when we have kids and our sexuality (for women who conceived through sex) is REALLY not a secret, we really reject this idea that it's "bad" that people know we have sex, or like sex, or like look or feel sexy. It's like, "Oh, you don't think I should be an obviously sexual being? Well, what would you like me to do with this pregnant belly I've got right here?"  orngtongue.gif

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