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Suzanne - School Uniforms

Posted by Kathy G on 11/18/04 at 09:35 (164247)

Suzanne,

What a great letter to your principal! You made some very good points. I can't believe your principal actually asked people to walk to one side of the room depending on their take on the issue. Many people who would have raised their hands indicating their choices would be very hesitant to actually 'stand up and be counted.'

I'm so glad you mentioned that larger children shouldn't be forced to tuck in their shirts. As someone who hasn't tucked in my shirt for a few years now, due to this potbelly that seemed to appear out of nowhere!, I would be very upset if I had to start doing it now.

As to girls not dressing in an inappropriate manner, is that really a problem at the elementary level? And at the high school level, schools all over the country have had to take a stand on preventing girls from wearing some of the suggestive clothing that is in style right now. That shouldn't even be a concern for elementary school children.

When I think of how much my children loved their clothes and I include my son in that, I think uniforms would have taken away their individuality. As for teachers, right off the top of my head, I can think of two teachers my children had who made great impressions on them because of their dress. One was a third grade teacher who wore clothing appropriate to the holiday or subject study which she made herself, just as you do. The other was a fourth-grade male teacher my son had. He wore beautiful, stylish clothing and was still masculine and sent the message to the boys that they didn't have to be sloppy to be cool. It made quite an impression.

I still can't understand how public school systems have the right to enforce school uniforms. I think it they tried it here, the ACLU would have a hay day but then I live up North, which I guess judging from the last election, everyone else in the country perceives as liberal. No, I'm not starting a political discussion, just making an observation.

Please let us know how this all turns out.

Re: Suzanne - School Uniforms

Suzanne D. on 11/18/04 at 19:40 (164300)

Thank you, Kathy. I, too, was appalled that we were told to get up and walk over on the other side of the room - particularly since the principal had said he wanted to see which of three groups we were in. But then he only asked those who were against uniforms to walk to the other side; he said those who didn't have a strong opinion or who were in support of uniforms could sit where they were. To me, that showed that what he really wanted to know was how much opposition there was to uniforms.

I notice that we have a good many children at every grade level who are large and for whom tucking in a shirt and wearing a belt would be uncomfortable and unflattering. But the other schools in our district who impose uniforms all have that belt and tucked in rule. We have a school t.v. channel, and there has been 'propoganda' (my word) about how wonderful uniforms are for the behavior and look of the school being shown during the past two months. The teachers all have on the same uniforms as the children and a few are interviewed telling how wonderful the uniforms are for the children and the staff. They remind me of Stepford wives when they are speaking. (Sorry if I am being over-dramatic!)

The strongest champion of uniforms at our school is a fifth grade teacher who keeps saying that those of us who teach younger grades don't realize how much trouble they have with appropriate dressing from girls in their classes. I guess I haven't noticed it, but like I said in the letter - have some rules that will take care of the problem and enforce them.

Kentucky education has been quite different for over 10 years since the passing of the Kentucky Education Reform Act. I won't go into all the changes and demands as it would take up too much space and have everyone nodding off :) , but one resulting thing has been mandatory site-based councils with parent and staff members as well as the principal. In theroy, they are a good idea. In reality, when certain situations are in place, they can have way too much power, in my opinion.

In our uniform issue, I believe if I had not sent the letter which prompted 'choosing sides' in the meeting, the council would have quietly voted in uniforms. We would have just been informed of the rule after the fact. The three teachers on the committee are the 5th grade teacher I mentioned previously, another who is in favor of uniforms, and our PE teacher who doesn't care and would have gone along with them. I have been learning of some unofficial meetings and discussions which were setting the stage for their vote.

Sorry if I am making this sound like it is of national importance, but it is important to me, and I appreciate your comments, Kathy, as well as the others who responded. If you had known me through the years and known how truly hard it was for me to write the letter and to get up and walk across the room, you might have a better idea of why I needed to post about it!

Thanks again,
Suzanne :)