Uniforms in public school?

[deleted account] ( 40 moms have responded )

What are your thoughts? The other thread, "Single sex or Co-ed" got me thinking. I think Sara mentioned that even the public schools had been enforcing uniforms for about 15 years. I can't imagine.

What about freedom of expression? I understand they have their place in certain enviroments but....

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[deleted account]

I went to a private school with uniform and freedom of expression was there trust me. We just have to find different ways to express ourselves. Jewelry, hair, words and personality. We simply learned to develop and express ourselves by other means. I am all for it.

IMO, once we learn who we are as a person without the aid of clothing, we can determine our own style and express ourselves by several means other than clothes. We also learn to focus on the person, not what they are wearing.

Amanda - posted on 09/20/2010

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My children wear uniform tops in their public school, at first I thought it was a great idea... until i realized now I have to buy 20 dollar tops (im cheap i buy all clothes on sale and spending more then 5 dollars on a top is insane to me, as well I would also have to buy pants, and more tops (none uniforms) for my children.

Uniforms have not stopped children from picking on eachother for their clothing (one excuse for the school switching to uniforms), now they pick on eachother about their skinny jeans, shoes, hoodies and hair cuts.

So in my opinion uniforms are a waste of money and time for most parents.

[deleted account]

It is a rarity for public schools to not have uniforms here (all of the schools in my local area have uniforms). I completely agree with the use of school uniforms because:

1) They help reduce bullying because everybody is the same (to a degree) and so it is less obvious when people are poorer and can't afford name brands.
2) They give a sense of belonging to a community (school) as the uniformity brings people closer.
3) They are easier, there are no arguments over what to wear for school because the children know they have to wear the uniform.
4) They are cheaper as the children do not need as many outfits (and uniforms are sold on deals at back to school times).
5) They are safer as the teachers/ adults in schools can instantly tell their pupils when on daytrips (or even when other school kids come to cause trouble/ fights).
6) They help prepare children for the workplace as most workplaces have some sort of dress code if not a uniform.

Also uniforms do NOT stifle expression of for children, I know this from experience I always wore a uniform to school, with the exception of mufti days (no uniform days) for charity. We expressed ourselves with other aspects while in school, such as art, drama, dance etc.

Megan - posted on 09/22/2010

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As a teacher, I LOVE the idea of uniforms. I get tired of high schoolers judging one another immediately based upon the type of jeans they're wearing. The school I taught at had a fairly strict dress code, and it was impossible to enforce. It would have been SOOOO much easier on the teachers for students to just have a uniform. There is still room for creativity and self-expression with a loose uniform (for example, khaki pants or skirt and a polo in a certain color or range of colors). I also agree that this is excellent practice for high schoolers especially who will be entering the work force. Most of us don't have a job where you can just wear whatever you want. I mean, seriously, no one complains that McDonald's employees have a uniform (except, maybe, the employees). I mean, after all, shouldn't going to school be our kids jobs?

April - posted on 09/22/2010

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freedom of expression isn't totally out the window. they don't tell the kids how to wear their hair, do they? they kids aren't robots, surely? they all have expressive personalities that shine through? uniforms aren't armor. as for my own opinion on the uniform issue...i don't care either way. whatever the schools here want to do on that issue is fine with me.

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Chaya - posted on 07/25/2012

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I went to a school that required uniforms, as a result, I will fight for my daughters right to wear her own clothes. When we moved to our current location, we found out that the middle school required uniforms, I spent the summer finding ways to go to a different school. I had to send her out of district, but nobody's going to do that to my kid

Megan - posted on 09/22/2010

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And just so you know...guess who enforces the dress code at your kids school? The teachers. In order for a standard dress code to be enforced at a high school , for example, it has to be VERY specific because high schoolers are going to try to push that dress code to the limit. The gray area that is created in this situation is typically not caught in the written dress code which then calls for a judgement call on the part of the teacher/administrator who handles the situation. In this case, the "gray" areas cannot be adjudicated consistently throughout an entire school. Remind me to tell you about the torn pants/legging issue sometime. Uniforms are clean and simple. You either are wearing the uniform or you aren't. The schools in my area that have moved to uniforms are having great success with them, but the uniforms are relaxed and can be as expensive or inexpensive as the parents deem appropriate. Who can tell the difference between khakis from WalMart and khakis from Dolce and Gabana? The students are still allowed self-expression via their hair and limited jewelry--even jackets and backpacks. I realize that some schools are not that loose in their uniforms, but this seems to be working for a lot of schools in our area--from the inner city schools to the more suburban ones.

[deleted account]

I went from being 5'3 to 5'8 and from 105 pounds to 140 in high school. I should have mentioned that what we call High school in QC is 5 years after grade 6. So from about 12 years old to 17. My shoes had to be black, brown or navy. My socks had to be white or navy without any designs, my polos were school issued and so were the pants, gym clothes and sweaters. We could easily find second hand uniforms from other students. Like I said, my pants had to be let out a few times and the hems taken out as well but the uniforms were made in function that we would all grow like weeds.

Alison - posted on 09/22/2010

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"4. I don't understand the argument of self-expression. Why encourage kids to express themselves in the most artificial way possible?" (Sarah Hopkins)

Gotta disagree here. There is nothing wrong with wanting to dress a certain way over another. I believe personal appearance is a legitimate form of art. I don't want my girls to be obsessive about their appearance, I will not spend more money than what seems reasonable, but if she prefers pink over gray and loves to wear her flip flops with the flower on them, I am all for it.

Alison - posted on 09/22/2010

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'These kids need to learn how to dress appropriately for the workplace...' (Alison P)
Have you noticed how much the workplace dress code has changed over the past two decades? It'll change again before our kids are here.

I am for a strict dress code, as long as it does not incur additional expenses to the parents.

Candi - posted on 09/22/2010

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I can understand wearing the same clothes throughout high school. I am still the same size I was in high school and I am 35 now, so that I can understand, but my children are 11, 10, and 5. You show me 1 child at these ages that can wear the same thing for 4 years! My 5 year old has grown 2 pant sizes since spring!Since my 10 year old is built so differently than my 5 year old, we have a hard time passing clothes on. My 11 yr old is a boy, so once he outgrows his clothes, we have to buy more and have to donate his. The school my friends children went to in TX had uniforms. The shoes had to be solid white, socks had to be white, sweaters had to be white or navy blue, no coats were allowed, but you could wear a jacket and it had to be solid white. The only jewelry to be worn was studs in the ears by only girls and yes, hair had to be combed and well kept. It was like a military school.

[deleted account]

As far as outgrowing their uniforms... throughout high school, I used 2 pairs of pants, 15ish polos and 5 pairs of shoes (because they were too worn out in most cases), 1 cardigan, one sweat shirt ,2 gym clothes sets.

All the uniform pants were sold by one store and all had plenty of length and width to be let out through the years. moreover, the fabric was very good quality and lasted even if worn every week day.

The amount of money my parents spent on my uniforms is minimal compared to what my friends paid for their clothes at the public school...

Nikki - posted on 09/21/2010

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I went to a private all girls school so we wore uniforms. I think a uniform is incredibly beneficial. They don`t have to distract themselves on other people`s appearance who has money , who doesnt, having to stress out every morning about what to wear because typically at that age it is a very big concern. They can focus on education in the classroom rather then being concerned with other distractions.

Isobel - posted on 09/21/2010

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I would like to see public schools with uniforms AND segregated (between boys and girls) classes...as well as the ones they have now...and let parents choose :)

[deleted account]

Here in the UK the majority of schools have a school uniform. Around where I live every school has a uniform but I know some in Londond don't. IMO it prepares students for working as in most jobs there's a dress code and also some studies have shown wearing a uniform is condicive to a better learning environment. I know that I would have hated not having a uniform as I'd have a drama picking what to wear everyday.

[deleted account]

Also, like I've said, every church, PTO, and news station holds a uniform drive. Teresa, if you were to suddenly move to my neighborhood and had to go to school here, your kids wouldn't go naked!

[deleted account]

Possibly Teresa. Here the uniforms are pretty generic and you can get second hand ones. And like I said, you could wear the same clothes for 4 years straight.

[deleted account]

In the past year I haven't spent over $100 total on clothes for all 4 members of my family and $40ish of that was on 2 nursing bras..... Could uniforms for 2 of them (and still have enough $ for my growing son and my occasionally needed item) top that? ;)

Sara, they probably don't care about fashion cuz they know they couldn't get it anyway. Either that or they're just oblivious. ;)

[deleted account]

@Candi, I wore the same set of skirts for the 4 years I was required to wear them at school. They were made so you could let the hem down if you got too tall. For the shirts and jerseys, I think my parents only had to buy a bigger size once. So think about it - I had 2 skirts which lasted me 4 years and 3 jerseys which lasted me 4 years and I'd estimate 6-8 shirts which lasted me 4 years. Can you really say that is more expensive than buying all non uniform? Sure, I had non-uniform clothes for the weekend but I didn't need as many as I only wore them 2/7ths of the time.
It IS a lot cheaper.

Lyndsay - posted on 09/20/2010

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Personally, I like the idea of uniforms. It saves the struggle of picking clothes in the morning and it really is safer for the school. It's a lot easier to identify an outsider in a school where everyone is dressed the same.

Starr - posted on 09/20/2010

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Some of our public schools have uniforms but not all of them yet. I think it is a great idea. I understand the freedom of expression but at the same time our children don't even have the freedom to vote yet. So, allow them the freedom of expression at home. These are my reasons why I love the idea of uniforms: 1) you don't have to worry about name brands. Those children's parents who cannot afford to buy name brands don't have to worry about their kids getting picked on. Popularity can now be because of personality and not what someone is wearing. 2) With the amount of gangs and clicks out there, we don't have to worry about our children flashing the gang colors and one possibly getting beat up because they are wearing the wrong color. and 3) Uniforms can helop to keep[ our children safe by identifying who is on the campus. If a person is on the campus and not in a uniform then we can better pick them out and find out why they are on the campus. like drug dealers or sexual predators.

[deleted account]

I bet you $100 that if most public schools in the area started requiring uniforms, someone somewhere would do a uniform drive.

Cassie - posted on 09/20/2010

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The public school I teach in requests that students wear a uniform. The uniform consists of either khaki or navy blue pants, shorts or skirt, and a white or navy blue shirt. These uniforms are sold for very cheap at almost all stores including walmart, old navy, department stores, and target.

Our dress code, while encouraged, is not enforced though. We do not punish students who come to school in normal clothes. Usually, at the beginning of the school year, all our children come to school in uniform but by the holiday season, the children have often ditched their uniforms for normal clothes.

I think it can be a really good thing when working with the poorer population because children aren't automatically defined as rich or poor based on what they are wearing. It gives the kids a more even playing field for getting to know one another without the influence of who is wearing the coolest clothes.

Candi - posted on 09/20/2010

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@Toni, I know that my kids would outgrow uniforms quickly b/c I know when they hit their growth spurt. It has been going on for 11 years, same time every year with all 3 kids! Once in late fall then again in late spring. People have said to buy clothes that are too big for them, but thats not an option. Kids can't wear baggy clothes to school. Certainly not a uniform! My husband is military so we don't qualify for any type of assistance, not even for me to go to college! As far as schools having uniform drives, not in this area. They have drives for school supplies, but not clothes! Stores around here know a lot of kids are required to wear uniforms, so they DO jack up the prices. It happens all over the place! As far as my daughters not wearing skirts to school, well my youngest is in Kindergarten and if she wore a skirt, every kid in Kinder would know what her underwear looked like! Plus Kindergarteners are not allowed to wear any shoes except sneakers, so that would probably look a little tacky. Skirts and my 5th grader don't mix either! She only likes to wear skirts and dresses to church. If she had her choice, she would wear shorts everyday of the year though

[deleted account]

1. Uniforms are easy. My argument has never been that they make students perform better. But they save a lot of wasted class time, because teachers don't have to enforce dress code and kids don't miss school for being sent home for being dressed inappropriately.



2. I think the learning environment is better because kids are not distracted by what other kids are wearing. You know it's true. I remember going clothes shopping with my mom and trying to convince her to buy the latest fad that so and so was wearing. (Apparently Teresa's kids are an exception to that rule! =) )



3. Around here, you can get uniforms a dime a dozen because every store sells them, because everyone buys them. There's a place up the street from me that sells 5 shirts and 5 bottoms for $40. That's all you really need. Plus every church and PTO and the news station has uniform drives. Even if they were slightly on the expensive side, couldn't you take the normal amount you spend on kids' clothes, deduct what you spent in uniforms, and spend the rest on clothes for at home and play? If your school creates a need for uniforms, the community will create a way to get them to you for free or cheap.



4. I don't understand the argument of self-expression. Why encourage kids to express themselves in the most artificial way possible?

[deleted account]

Why do you assume that children will outgrow uniform so quickly? Our uniforms certainly lasted us the school year, if not longer.

3 children would make uniforms more expensive but then you already buy clothes for school so you already have an expense. Also where uniforms are necessary they are cheaper because there is a higher demand for them. Also here we have aid for the really poor to assist them with purchasing uniforms.

So as you know here is what my uniforms were in secondary school (11-16):

Black or Navy trousers/ skirts (girls could wear either)
White blouse/ shirt (short or long sleeved)
Navy sweatshirt with school logo on (or plain blue sweatshirt)
School tie
Black shoes with a heel less than 2".

PE kit - navy shorts, white t-shirt, black rugby top with school logo, trainers or football/ hockey boots.

We can get ALL of that uniform for under £30 (excluding the trainers), so it is inexpensive in comparrison with wearing their own clothes.

I didn't say that not having a uniform meant that children would not turn out ok, just tha uniforms are a good idea.

On a little tangent why can your daughter not wear a skirt to school, what is wrong with wearing appropriate length skirts?

Oh and I'm from the UK not the States

Candi - posted on 09/20/2010

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Answering your question, yes I buy my children school clothes, but just a few pieces until fall when they hit a growth spurt. I would hate to buy them a bunch of uniforms only to have them outgrow them in a couple of months. I don't know what state you live in, but school uniforms are not cheap. I have 3 kids and I would end up spending hundreds of dollars. The shirts are usually around $20 each and the jumpers that look like girl scout uniforms are expensive. The student can only wear certain shoes, socks, etc. I understand school is a place to learn, but its also a place where a child should feel comfortable. I never had a uniform dress code and I turned out just fine. I know eventually people will end up pushing school uniforms into every school, just as they have pushed prayer out of school, but until them I am happy my kids can wear what they are comfortable in. Like I said, I do not allow my kids to dress badly or wear inappropriate clothing, but I like for them to have a choice as to what to wear. I won't let my son wear skinny jeans (and he wouldn't if I let him), just as I won't let my daughters wear short shorts or skirts to school.

[deleted account]

I wore a uniform at Intermediate (middle school) and College, and I must admit I preferred it and dreaded mufti (no uniform) days.
When I started at intermediate our uniform was more old school (and brown and yellow! Mmmm, lol), ie brown skirt (or shorts for boys), yellow linen shirt, brown jersey, black/brown leather shoes. But in my 2nd year they relaxed it to polo shirts, track pants and hoodie tops, all in the school colours and with the logo. By the time my brother got to intermediate they had changed the colours to blue and aqua (I was not impressed!). They were very comfortable and close to what the children would have been wearing anyways.
At college we had a similar uniform, blue skirt, white shirt (polo usually), blue jersey. The boys wore grey shorts and shirts and a blue jersey and grey school socks. The senior school boys were allowed to wear pants (but the girls still had to wear skirts, go figure) but if they did they had to wear a white shirt and a school tie. We also had school blazer's for anyone who represented the school ( I never had one lol!) In the final year we had mufti until the year after mine where they had a relaxed selection of tops with the school logo and they could wear whatever bottoms (within reason) that they liked.

Like I said, I liked having a uniform as a student. I didn't have to think about what to wear. I didn't have to worry if I was stylish or not (because I wasn't lol). It was considerably cheaper for my parents because I only needed a couple of sets of clothes to last me all week. They didn't have to worry about buying name brands or anything like that.
Everyone looked the same and distinguished themselves by their actions and not their appearance, which I think is a very important life lesson. The staff could instantly tell who was a student and who wasn't.

Sometimes I do wonder if I'd have more of a fashion sense if I was forced to think about it more when I was a teenager but really, I think it would have just traumatised me more. Stupid clothes :)

Oh and little kids look so cute in uniform. :)

[deleted account]

We have a dress code at the girls school, but no uniforms. Considering that over 90% of their clothing is hand-me-down's from friends or thrift store finds by their auntie... I would not support a dress code at all. My kids are always dressed appropriately and have no interest in name brands or any of that.

[deleted account]

I did not say that uniforms completely eliminated bullying but reduced it. Yes to an extent you can still tell the poorer kids BUT it is harder. They also reduce bullying because everyone looks the same - there are no funky clothes or quirky outfits to make children stand out.

Children are comfortable in uniforms, I was never any more uncomfortable in my uniform than in my outside of school clothes.

Also on the money aspect are you telling me you have NEVER brought your children clothes to wear to school?

[deleted account]

Bloody hell 100's of dollars on school uniform, that's a little extreme, we're not talking gold plated clothes here!

Candi - posted on 09/20/2010

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sorry with your points, you will never sell me on the idea of school uniforms. If I want my child to wear uniforms, I will send them to private schools. No matter the dress code, kids will still pick on the poor kids, and yes, you know who the poorer kids are. Bullies exist and will continue to bully. There was a terrible bully in my son's boy scout troop, where they all wear a uniform and are on the same level! I enjoy not having to spend hundreds of dollars on school clothes when the kids go back to school b/c they can wear their summer clothes. I feel that if students can wear what they want (within dress code), then they will be more comfortable and it will be a better learning environment.

Jenny - posted on 09/20/2010

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A thousand times yes. Uniforms are an equaliser. They help foster a team atmosphere. They are a time and money saver. I wish I had uniforms growing up and intend to bring up the idea with my school's PTA tonight.

Candi - posted on 09/20/2010

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Uniforms were not even heard of when I was in school--not for public schools anyway. I think the idea of uniforms in public schools is silly. Studies have shown that test scores are no better in schools with uniform than in schools without. My kids have been lucky so far not needing uniforms. My son has a very high IQ and is in the Highly Gifted classes. He has been in those classes since 1st grade (in TX) then when we moved to VA, he tested in the highly gifted level again and is in 6th grade now. He wears what he wants to school, although he chooses polo shirts and jeans. He is a Boy Scout and also in band. My oldest daughter is also a straight student, active in 2 different dance classes, and luckily she can express herself through her clothes!! She is definitely an individual! Don't get me wrong, I believe in enforcing a dress code, but not a uniform. Thats just a little extreme, not to mention expensive. Some say its cheaper, but I don't see how having to buy 2 sets of clothes is cheaper. My friend had to have uniforms special mde for her daughter b/c she was so small. On a military salary, we are looking for ways to save money, not spend more having to buy clothes they can only wear to school

[deleted account]

The uniforms at all the public schools I've ever been in (a lot b/c of my education courses in college) had simple uniforms. Blue or khaki bottoms, white or red or navy polo shirts. Closed toed shoes. Belt. Solid color jacket (winter coats were an exception). It was so easy as a teacher to not have to worry over checking the length of someone's skirt or sending a kid home for wearing a vulgar t-shirt. No class time was wasted on enforcing dress code. You did a quick check of each student as they walked in the room. If a student wasn't wearing a belt, for example, it was easy to spot. And the office kept uniforms and uniform accessories on hand, so students weren't sent home for breaking uniform rules. Easy Peasy.

To address the self-expression concern, there are plenty of ways for kids to do just that while in uniform. For one, hair ribbons, bows, tennis shoes, backpacks and lunchboxes could be used to express their taste.

But we all know that who we are is so much deeper than what we wear. A kid is uniform has to go a bit deeper that the skin to express themselves, which is wonderful. That is why I feel the arts and athletics are important to keep in schools.

We did little art projects here and there and of course, lots of writing. But one big project we did still stands out in my mind as an example of how kids don't need the choice of clothes to experience self-discovery. We did a class play. Sounds simple. But it was 100% kid-produced. The kids were able to chose teams...actors and actresses, line coaches, set design, costume and make-up design, advertising. And they made it work by using the talents they had and working in groups. No one was above another because the play wouldn't have been successful if even one group had slacked up. It was wonderful the expression and depth these kids in uniforms were able to display. Oh, and these were nine and ten year olds. =)

Juliana - posted on 09/20/2010

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I think uniforms would be good in public schools. I went to a private school. Our dress code was dress pants and a collared shirt. No jeans and no tshirts. I didnt like it at the time but now that I look back on it, it was good. Everyone looked appropriate and we still got to express ourselves.

Amy - posted on 09/20/2010

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i think uniforms are a good idea to a extent (we had to wear black trousers, white polo shirt and a school jumper) as they need to learn how to dress appropriate and in alot of work forces you have to wear a uniform,also i think there would be more bullying due to what brand clothes you have on, but at the same time school is mainly about teaching children, therefore what they have thier hair like, what bag/coat they use should be completly upto the child... my sister got excluded because she dyed her hair purple, my mum went mad because her hair was in no way affecting her education lol

Sherri - posted on 09/20/2010

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No way as long as the schools are on top of the dress code and it all students are expected to dress appropriately. They should be able to choose there own clothing on a daily basis. We have a pretty strict dress code here and I am thrilled that the students still get a choice with no uniforms.

[deleted account]

In the greater Nashville area all public schools have a dress code. It's not as strict as an actual school uniform, but it's still a good start because it gets rid of high fashoin and logos. The kids also look smarter because jeans, short skirts, hot pants and excessive amounts of jewlery are banned.



I would like to see it get even stricter with the kids wearing dress shirts, tie, smart shoes and a jacket with the school logo. Thats what some of us had to put up with in some UK public schools and it didn't kill us.



These kids need to learn how to dress appropriately for the workplace and school is a good place to start. Free expression is something that an employee can do outside of work hours. The same principal should apply to school kids because they need to learn that there's a time and place for everything.

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