The sChOOL Uniform

Posted: July 24, 2014 in Education, Humanity

School Uniform Joke

I started wearing a school uniform in high school. I had no issue with it. As far as I know, my friends never had an issue with it either and if they did, I certainly was never made aware of their displeasure. I attended a Catholic high school and our school colours were maroon and grey… ‘nuff said. We had to wear dress shoes (I wore a heavy pair of Dr. Martens) and they had to be brown or black. The strictness of my school’s policy never fazed me. As far as I was concerned, if I didn’t want to wear the uniform that badly, I would have just gone to a different school. It was nice not having to choose what to wear every morning and I assume some students benefitted by this as well by, perhaps, not having the most popular brands of clothes. Though, if I remember correctly, no one really cared about that kind of thing.

The high school I teach at is also a uniform school. I have no sympathy for my students who complain about this because they are allowed to wear whatever shoes they’d like. “If you want to express your individuality,” I tell them, “then wear colourful laces.” They have no idea how lucky they are to be able to wear their own shoes. Moreover, starting in September of 2014, my school is offering a new line of school wear, which includes (but is not limited to): a hoodie, a sharp-looking cardigan, and sweatpants – these students are sooo lucky!

15-year old blogger, Chloe Spencer, claims the school uniform “may not be the ingredients for [her] favourite outfit…but if [she] were given the choice, [she] wouldn’t throw away the idea of school uniform. Wearing a uniform is a badge of pride.” In Spencer’s post last October (2013), she vehemently declares that wearing a school uniform not only “teaches students to dress smartly” but that it shows students “buying into what the organisation is all about.” I would agree. This is why the majority of businesses require a dress code of sorts whether it be a cashier at McDonald’s or a lawyer entering his/her firm.

According to Spencer’s research, roughly 160,000 students miss school everyday out of the fear of being bullied or intimidated because of their clothes. Perhaps a uniform keeps students focused, keep students equal, and keeps students from being lost at field trips.

Just get used to being told what to wear…that’s your life now.

The point of a uniform is to remain uniform – to remain the same, unchanging. Both a uniform and a dress code go hand-in-hand. Wearing both communicates something about your character within a certain environment. Think of why you would wear one thing and not another on a first date or for an interview or while working as a doctor or teacher or car salesperson. What we communicate through our dress (whether we like it or not) is received either positively or negatively by those around us. Does it mean I can’t trust a doctor who decides to wear jeans or that you can’t learn from a teacher with a stain on his or her sweater? Not exactly. But their choice of dress will dictate how those around them will act. When a student wears the uniform and wears it well, they communicate respect for themselves and their school – there’s that badge of pride Ms. Spencer was talking about.

I suppose when students dress together, they learn together, and it perpetuates the idea that learning is community, not an individual process.

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