Uniforms, Standard Student Attire...Your thoughts?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Caesar753, May 26, 2016.

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Should students be required to wear uniforms?

  1. Yes

    9 vote(s)
    36.0%
  2. No

    10 vote(s)
    40.0%
  3. In certain circumstances (explain in comments)

    6 vote(s)
    24.0%
  1. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    What is your opinion of requiring students to wear standard student attire or uniforms?
     
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  3. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I'm undecided. My last school started the year with them and then decided halfway through the year that kids didn't have to wear them. The P I worked for was new that year, the uniform policy had been created by the previous P, and the new one basically got rid of it as soon as she could get approval from the district. Supposedly the uniforms were cheaper for parents, and again supposedly the parents had requested a uniform policy in previous years. They used to have a uniform exchange at the beginning of the year where people could do and exchange their uniforms with each other to get new sizes, which would be helpful. We were also told that it would help keep kids away from wearing gang-related colors/clothing items (either on purpose or accidentally), however when we stopped the uniforms that didn't seem to be an issue.

    I didn't see any benefits that some people talk about as far as kids being more respectful or taking school more seriously when they wore uniforms. I don't think they did anything to curb bullying either, since bullies will always find something to make fun of regardless of what the other person is wearing. Perhaps that would be different in high school when kids care more about style, but in elementary school kids tend to get picked on for personality quirks more than anything else, IME. Uniforms didn't seem to be an "equalizer" as far as popularity or anything like that. I think it would also be harder on kids that are overweight because the uniform may not be flattering to their body type whereas with other clothes they could choose more flattering styles.

    As a teacher, I also didn't like having one more thing to manage, especially in an inner city school that had a lot of discipline problems already. With the severe behaviors I had to deal with on a regular basis, worrying about someone who wore a red sweater instead of the uniform blue one was not a battle I wanted to fight. Basically, I don't really like them, but if it really is true that it's significantly cheaper for parents, than I could see why schools would have them, especially in the neighborhoods I taught in.
     
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  4. phillyteacher

    phillyteacher Comrade

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    Our district has uniforms for all schools. As a teacher, I didn't love enforcing them this year but that was more to my school not having a good enforcement system than everything else. Outside of enforcement, I do like having them - I think it's one less thing for the students to focus on and it limits the possibilities for inappropriate school attire. It throws me off when we have dress down days!

    As a parent, I love uniforms. It is so easy. The uniform at my son's school is khaki pants or shorts and a navy polo (and sweater when it's cold). Gym uniform is navy sweats/ shorts and tshirt/ sweatshirt (no logos). It's pretty simple and easy to find at a variety of price points and there are no decisions to be made in the mornings.
     
  5. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I have no interest in following or upholding a uniform code. If my school ever instituted one, I'd make it clear that somebody else could talk to any of my violators.
     
  6. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    And as a parent... If my daughter's school told me she needed to wear specific clothing, I would expect them to provide it for me.
     
  7. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    The area in which I teach likely affects my feelings, but I voted no, they shouldn't have a uniform. It is never an issue around here, but also, I feel as though I build my classroom community around choice and individuality coming together to create a unique and powerful environment...and this would go completely against that.
     
  8. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I think so. It levels the playing field (kids don't stand out as the rich/poor kids) and encourages a sense of school unity.
     
  9. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I don't think it levels the playing field at all. Students find ways to make themselves stand out while still following the uniform. I've taught in schools with and without them, and I've never thought the uniforms made a difference.
     
  10. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I do think that ours does. I can see how it wouldn't, but I really don't think my kids have much of a sense of who has "better" things. The most individuality they show, really, is who has a fancier water bottle.
     
  11. TnKinder

    TnKinder Companion

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    This is not the case in my district. Students have been in uniforms for 14 years, and looking at a random group of students you can tell the haves from the have nots. It all boils down to the brand of the collard shirt and khaki pants if it's not branded with a major name , the students, especially middle and high schoolers, don't want to wear it.
     
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  12. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I say that if the school for whatever reason (board, parental wishes, etc.) want to institute a uniform policy, awesome. Families can either accept it in full or go elsewhere. And no, I don't think a school should be required to purchase each child a set of uniforms. Parents will be buying kids clothes one way or another--reserve some of the budget for uniforms.

    On the flip side, if a school for whatever reason does not want a uniform policy, just as awesome.

    I teach at a uniform school. In many ways, I love it. In many ways, I don't see how the attitude and school spirit is any different from a non-uniform school.
     
  13. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I too can still tell a lot about a student because of the uniform. My kid who went homeless in the middle of the year did not have new uniform pieces and was lucky enough to get things washed. On the other hand, you could tell who had the money and/or commitment to keep uniforms regularly replaced and with quality pieces.
     
  14. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    The idea of leveling came when uniforms all had to be purchased from the same provider. There was no difference and they used to designate what kind of shoes and socks had to be worn when my sibling was in a catholic school that required uniforms. Making uniform purchase more affordable has eliminated those specifications.

    Also, the rich kids always had the new uniforms and the poor kids had the worn ones.

    Unless they also exclude jewelry and anything else that can designate wealth and provide all school supplies so they are of the same quality, there is no level.
     
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  15. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    My school, which is classified as extreme poverty, requires uniforms. The reason for the uniforms is less about "leveling the field" as far as the haves and the have-nots (because, quite frankly, they are all have-nots) and more about safety.

    Our neighborhood is infested with gangs and gang activity. The dress code standards prohibit gang colors even when it comes to accessories--no red coats, no red hair bands, no red socks. The elimination of gang-related colors and displays seems to have led to a reduction in gang-related violence on campus.

    Besides this, our school is multi-level, pre-K through grade 12. Each level has its own uniform colors, so it's easy to tell what grade a kid is in just by looking at him, which is very helpful in a number of ways.
     
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  16. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    I have worked at a uniformed school (inner-city Catholic grade school) and two non-uniformed public schools. At my current school, we have students from a wide variety of socio-economic backgrounds, and the outfits students show up in are just as wildly different as the wearers. We have kids who show up *literally* draped in the Pride flag, and I consistently hear from students that bullying is not an issue on our campus (it happens off-campus and online, but not because of what kids are wearing).

    My previous school was in a rural area with a surging gang population that the administration had no idea how to handle. It turned into blatant racial profiling: the "nice white kids" could wear whatever they wanted, but if one of the Hispanic kids showed up looking "too gang-like" they got sent home. There was no sense or consistency to it, either; one kid got sent home for wearing a black t-shirt, while kids wearing head-to-toe Bulls gear (all red, no actual sports affiliation) were ignored.

    At the uniformed school, we still had issues with kids pushing the limits and trying to get away with red streaks in their hair, etc. I suppose it did make enforcement easier and more consistent, although it also made the "haves and have nots" only more obvious (those who could afford nice new pieces vs those wearing cast-offs from the hand-me-down bin).
     
  17. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I would be happy if I didn't have to see butt cracks, bellies, and backs. The dress code addresses that but most clothing is not the correct size so we are constantly having to tell kids to pull down and pull up.
     
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  18. Reagan

    Reagan Rookie

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    This is why I'd prefer no uniforms in general (none at my school currently, but I've been there.) So many parents are saving money by going the used and hand-me-down route, which is fine and dandy except when you want your student body looking nice. Raggedy or ill-fitting clothing is not good for the purpose of uniforms.
     
  19. mckbearcat48

    mckbearcat48 Cohort

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    Most schools I know of around me have voted on this issue many times, and they vote to keep dress the way it is (no uniforms). The biggest argument against uniforms has been cost for many years now.
     
  20. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Wow. What a stance. I'm surprised. What if you can't afford to move or provide transportation to another school? If our district decided to do uniforms we would be out of luck (if we couldn't afford them) because we don't have charter schools or choice other than paying for a private school.

    Uniforms cost. Parents may not be buying clothes anyway. All clothes their children get may be hand-me-downs from siblings/relatives/friends or thrift store whatever you can find that is cheap and fits.
     
  21. ChildWhisperer

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    Our district is the same, except instead of each grade having its own uniform colors, it's by school. For example, our school is khakis/navy/black bottoms with white/navy/light blue tops, while another school has (the same pants &) white/maroon tops.
    It has definitely cut down on gang-related clothing since everyone is dressed the same. Since the entire district AND all private schools in the area require uniforms, there are several stores that sell cheap uniform items and they have exchanges ,etc. Goodwill even has their own school uniform rack. All students look the same. You can NOT tell who has money and who does not.
     
  22. mckbearcat48

    mckbearcat48 Cohort

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    If your school has uniforms, what is the enforcement procedure?
     
  23. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Our uniforms are mostly khaki-type pants, shorts, or skirts and polo tops of a particular color (depending on grade level), although technically it can be any shirt with a collar. Because uniforms are so prevalent in my town, you can find these items at all major department stores--WalMart, Kohl's, Target, KMart--for very, very low prices. I mean, the polo tops are usually under $4. Most parents would be hard-pressed to find non-uniform tops for that price. Besides this, we have tons of uniform exchanges, both at the school site and elsewhere, where families can trade up or down sizes for free. My school also has a huge room full of uniform pieces for students whose families cannot afford uniforms and cannot, for whatever reason, participate in an exchange.
     
  24. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    If you don't have appropriate attire, you will be sent home. If it's a matter of needs, like if a kid is wearing jeans because he literally has no other pants to wear, the school will usually provide several days' worth of uniform pieces at no cost.
     
  25. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Groupie

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    Referrals.
    Every so often, the class (grade) with the least amount of referrals gets a free-dress/no-uniform day
     
  26. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    I am in favor of any enforceable dress code, but only if all the teachers buy in and write up infractions. What tends to happen, though, is that a few teachers enforce the code, and many others look the other way, making the enforcing teachers the "bad guys", and those teachers who turn a blind eye the "good guys" who are frequently cited as "saying it is OK as is." All I want is consistency across the board, with teachers enforcing and students complying.
     
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  27. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    This is exactly what happens at our school. The infractions are little, like colored socks or not the right shoes, but I call kids out on it and I end up looking like the mean one.
     
  28. Reagan

    Reagan Rookie

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    Oh, I don't know. Many low-income schools manage uniform policies just fine. I think.it's stranger to expect a public school to provide free uniforms.
     
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  29. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Remember, I was replying to someone who said if their school changed to uniforms.
    There is a big difference between an established uniform policy where the community and school has used uniforms that are affordable for the poor or can be given to the poor and a school just deciding to have a uniform policy and there is nothing in the area except for new.

    As another poster described their uniform policy had a rather wide range of acceptable. Three different color pants and a collard shirt or something like that. I can see that being a much more affordable and accessible option for almost all families. It is wide enough to allow families to have some options if they can't find the one specific type of pants or shirt. Something like that might work, but a very defined one might cause problems until the community built up supplies of old clothing.

    I can see how some may feel that if a public school requires a uniform in order for a student to access their education that the school should be supplying that uniform like they supply textbooks. Especially in some states, public schools can't require parents to pay to attend even in terms of supplies. Uniforms are required to attend, not jut any clothing that covers the body appropriately which makes them a required supply.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2016
  30. applecore

    applecore Devotee

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    As a teacher in a dress code ran school district, it's okay. Not the perfect situation. I feel like I'm more of a dress code police than a teacher sometimes. I truly envy teachers that are allowed to wear jeans like their students. It's true, we can see the difference in the "leveling of the playing field".

    Our district had to delete a few dress code rules due to being a rural community because each year the dress code was changed and getting a little bit tighter on what was allowed--the two page, back to back, single spaced size 10 font document was growing. Apparently the girls hair bows and socks/stockings having to be matched was something of importance to someone for a year, and then quickly not so when the staff showed up at a dress code meeting. We asked the person who decided on this idea to come and policy the dress code for a day to ensure this was being followed. They declined, and so went the matching code. Gang related activity was the reason behind the "only colors allowed". Because if you wore pink colors in your hair and on your socks on Wednesday, you were in a gang.

    As a parent in a dress code ran school district, I hated it. When my youngest was finally in high school in the non-uniform dress code, life was so much better for my family...even on my wallet. I spent more money from k-8th grade on dress code than I have during the high school years. And the kids at the high school could care less what people are wearing. They're all just excited they get to be themselves...or whoever they're trying to be.
     
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  31. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I don't entirely get the argument that uniforms are prohibitively expensive.

    In my state, my school is required to give one free uniform shirt each year. Extras can be purchased at a very affordable price.

    Kids have to wear pants, shoes, and socks whether they're wearing a uniform or not. Our dress code requires colors, not specific brands, for these items, so they can be purchased at thrift stores if desired.

    Ultimately, it all shouldn't cost any more than a regular school wardrobe. Many kids wear hand-me-downs if they have an older sibling.
     
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  32. ChildWhisperer

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    Yeah... how are uniforms more expensive than regular clothes? Uniforms can be found in almost every store, including Walmart, and they're pretty cheap. "Regular" clothes are way more expensive, especially if your kid wants name brand whatever whatever.
    AND it would never be a problem as a hand-me-down if your kids are into different styles of clothing since they have to wear the same thing anyway. Even if it's passed from sister to brother and vice versa since polos & pants are pretty gender neutral.
     
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  33. phillyteacher

    phillyteacher Comrade

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    I also like that you can't tell who has more pieces, necessarily. At my school, the girls wear plaid skirts (or navy pants, but many wear the skirt most of the time). Except for occasional issues with frequency of laundering, it's impossible to tell who has one skirt vs who has 5. Same with the blouse - as long as they're kept fairly clean, who knows how many each kid has. That would not necessarily be the case with non-uniform pants and definitely not with shirts, where it would be noticeable if a kid wore the same shirt almost every day.
     
  34. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    To me it's not a price issue, so much as telling parents that something very specific must be bought. I'd expect to face derision from parents if I posted a class supply list with specific brands marked off required. To me, this is no different. A poorer family can get clothes from goodwill, Salvation Army, yard and garage sales, etc. the second you require a uniform, you start closing those avenues. Sure, if it's a big enough school, the Goodwills, Salvation Armies, etc will eventually catch up, but that won't be much consolation for the first few years of a uniform policy. You also will run into situations of parents needing to buy double the clothes (unless they/their kids are okay with them wearing drab school uniforms 24/7/365.)
     
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  35. phillyteacher

    phillyteacher Comrade

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    There are tons of stores that sell uniform clothes very inexpensively (Walmart, Target, Old Navy). Also most schools around here do have systems in place to support students whose families really cannot afford to buy the items whether it's exchanges or closets maintained by the counselor or whatever the case may be.

    As far as double the clothes, we really haven't found that to be true for our family. Our son has his school clothes and then a few items of play clothes. He doesn't usually need to change out of his uniform when he gets home, so he usually only needs play clothes on weekends and off days. During the summer he will wear his uniform khaki shorts with regular t-shirts (voluntarily - he picks out his outfits on non-school days).
     
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  36. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I see the benefit of uniforms in areas where gang colors are an issue. I don't know if it's much use anywhere else. Though I have heard the argument that it provides school spirit and unity. I don't mind non-uniform schools, as long as there is a dress code that is applied equally towards boys and girls.

    One of the things I'm annoyed with my school about right now is that the admin is fine with providing consequences for female students who break the dress code, but feel like it's not worth the effort to hold boys accountable for their saggy pants. I address it every time I see it, but my statements basically have no teeth as the admin won't back it up. As such I don't bother to address female dress code violations anymore, because it's not fair to.
     
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  37. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Groupie

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    Also, school uniforms are the majority in other countries, even in 3rd world countries. It's just the opposite here.
     
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  38. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Plus, I think students just look more scholarly in uniforms! Haha. I would have loved a uniform as a kid.
     
  39. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Groupie

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    Me too!!!!!!
     
  40. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Me too. One year I went through a growth spurt and only had two pairs of pants in the size I was wearing. It would have been less noticeable that I only had two pairs until the spurt was over and I stabilized for a while.
     
  41. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    When my kids went to elementary school it was the only school that required "uniforms." It was also the poorest school in the district. I was in the PTA and helped run the community closet. We had donations (from parents and stores) of brand-new clothing as well as clean, used clothes that students could get if needed. Want to know who got clothes from the closet? Almost always it was "rich" kids that forgot something or tried to sneak non-uniform pieces. Seldom did we have to provide clothing out of true need.
     
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