Monday, February 28, 2005

School Uniforms

A Knoxville News Sentinel reader wrote a letter to the editor yesterday regarding the question of school uniforms in Knox County Schools.

An excerpt:
"I feel students should be allowed to express their individual personality and style of clothing. By allowing students to express themselves in a personal way, it will support building individual character and independence."
I try my best not to take seriously letters-to-the-editor since most are written by people who are more at home yelling at those damn squirrels to stop watching them, but this one caught my eye in its emphasis on a societal norm...

Apparently this writer feels the only, or at least the main way that students can express their individuality is through fashion. Or in most cases, the color, style and messages on the clothing they wear. I read this and just shake my head at the shallowness of how society considers our children.

BrainyBoy and Tink go to a private school, and have worn uniforms since day 1. It's basically a grey or white polo shirt, with navy pants or shorts. In Tink's case, they also have the option of a navy blue jumper over white shirt. In the older grades they can wear khaki's with white Oxford shirts. There are some small variations such as sweater vests and sweatshirts as well, depending on the weather.

In the 4 years that we've been involved in that school, I've seen more individuality in those kids than I would have in most any other non-uniformed elementary school in town. Children, and adults, use their minds to be individuals. They use their hearts, they use their minds, talents, skills, wit, creativity....

I understand that people might be hesitant at such a drastic change in the culture of the schools. I know that when I was in school, the idea of wearing uniforms would've been met with resistance simply because it was change. But don't push the "freedom of clothing choice = individuality" idea, because it's a cop out. Our schools, and our kids, need real avenues to express themselves, and fashion is not where they should be directing their energies.

Parents, how know, fighting for better educational opportunities for your kids..fighting for more time for yourselves to spend with them outside the classroom. Not fighting against what you perceive as:
[looking] like we all are in a prison chain gang.
Read his last quote and you'll see where the hyperbole hits:
Allow us all be united and stand for our individual rights of appearance. Let us now draw a line to this display of dictatorship and vote "no" to implementing school uniforms.
Ok, now - on to Proffits!

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