Another Brick in the Wall

Little Dog's school wants to implement a mandatory uniform policy and I am furious. I absolutely detest the idea of uniforms. The idea of conforming, itself, kind of puts me off, but I respect that in order to achieve in this world some conformity is necessary.

We're talking about Jr. High School kids here. You remember Junior High? Young teens who are only beginning to find and define themselves. Kids who are experiencing more independence and more input than ever before in their lives.

And we want to preach a message of blind conformity?!

I can tell this is going to be another situation where I yell at someone in the school administration. Much like the time I got rather heated with the Principal of his grammar school because she implemented a lunchroom policy of "Girls-on-one-side-Boys-on-the- other."

Yeah, that one did not sit very well with this feminist momma.


Anyhow, back to Jr. High. The school sent home some printed propaganda about why uniforms are so great, which I will address below.

Students in Uniform feel good about themselves and their
appearances.
No. If you force teens to wear clothing which they wouldn't otherwise wear they are not going to feel "good" about themselves. They are going to feel awkward and uncomfortable.

Fewer options at home so fewer conflicts in decisions about clothes.
Uh, sure. Anytime you remove CHOICE there are going to be fewer problems with decisions. Duh. Oh, and by the way, that is NOT a good thing!!!

I have an idea. Why don't we leave in choice and encourage RESPONSIBILITY to go with it. I'm not against a dress code at all. Sure it may be convenient in theory to tell kids, "You have to wear this like it or not" and have them obey. But isn't it more productive to raise children who are able to make decisions within a certain parameter? So instead let's say, "Wear what you want as long as it does not offend the average morals." Spell it out if we have to: No obscene words, no pornographic images, no underwear showing, no cleavage...whatever guidelines are established.

When I pick Little Dog up I see the Goth kids. On more than one occasion I have wanted to approach this particular girl and ask how she manages not to pass out from heat stroke wearing a long velvet skirt and brocaded shirt when it is 102 DEGREES outside. I have wanted to point out to the chubby girl with the pink hair that maybe it's not such a good look for her. And sometimes I want to tell the guys with their pants hiked up a little too high and they are rocking a Revenge of the Nerds sorta look.

But you know what? This is their time to try it and to figure it out. So I say, let them wear the Goth, the Preppy, the Nerd, and even a little bit of the Slut - If they can get past their parents who am I to judge? What is it really hurting?
Uniforms instill a sense of belonging and team spirit.
Uh, so do gang colours, but I don't see anyone touting their virtues. 'Nuf said.

Student achievement is higher due to higher self-esteem and less
distractions.
How in the hell does stifling a child's individuality raise their self esteem?! Where did TPTB get these lines? From a military manual?! Sure, if I go through Marine Corps boot camp and survive to become one of the few and the proud, hell yeah I'm gonna feel great when I put on those dress blues. By God, I've worked hard to earn the right too wear that uniform. But a kid who is just going to school and trying to figure out who he wants to be and what he wants to do? Not so much. He is not going to feel better about himself just because he is wearing the same white button down all the other guys are wearing.

Strain on family budgets is erased.
Sign me up! I'm already on a tight budget! But wait, before I sign up could you explain again how buying a whole second wardrobe, to be worn only at school, is going to save me money? he already has jeans, t-shirts, shorts, white socks and sweatshirts which I still have to replace as he grows. I mean, I just don't see Little Dog running around town in his black pants and white polo while he plays laser tag or shoots hoops and such. So yeah, I will need three or four additional pairs of slacks, five button downs for winter and 5 Polos for summer, some dress shoes and some dark socks, in addition to the usual clothes. So really, break down the economic savings of two wardrobes for me.

Uniforms eliminate peer pressure for status and
popularity.
Did none of these people go to Jr. High School?! Maybe they did and they were all beautiful with super rich parents who never experienced what the rest of us schmoes did.

NEWSFLASH: You cannot eliminate peer pressure. Period. It is the foundation upon which adolescence is built. It is a rite of passage to be able to "Just Say No"; to accept that someone else's trainers are always going to have cost more; to realize and accept that some people have more money than you and some people have less.

You could put these kids in paper bags and they would immediately create a hierarchy of popularity based on whose bag came from the better store.

Jeeze! Didn't you people watch Mean Girls?! Hellooooooooooooo?

Promotes school safety and school identification.
I think the ID badges they all wear around their necks do a sufficient job of that. And, in case they don't, the four security guards patrolling the building at all times should make it safer than "mandatory slacks" ever will.

Sigh.

I have a pretty good feeling this whole uniform thing will be voted on and passed. I will comply, as will Little Dog. We pick and choose our battles, and this would be a losing one. Our public school system does not want inquisitive bright minds. They want culpable, impressionable minds on which to imprint the white-bread-middle-class values that have always prevailed in America.

And it's a damned shame.

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