September 10, 2008
By East County Times
In a weekly feature called "e-views," we invite readers to answer a question via e-mail.
Last week's question:
Some schools in East County have instituted a uniform policy this school year. How is it working so far? Do you like the idea of a uniform clothes policy? Should other schools follow suit?
I LOVE THE uniform policy. I think free dress is OK as well. I have a child in kindergarten who doesn't know the difference or doesn't seem to care. All he knows is that everyone looks like him.
I have a freshman who was ready to wear scrubs had he gotten into Dozier-Libbey. I don't think it matters like it did when it was first suggested because I think kids have found that it's pretty painless. As a parent, I think they look great. It's refreshing to see a kid in clothes that fit properly. As long as a couple of free dress days are thrown in throughout the year for the kids, everybody wins.
IN THE ELEMENTARY schools and the middle schools, I believe that uniforms should be mandatory.
However, as for the high schools, the final decision should be the result of meetings between faculty, parents and, of course, the students themselves. One important point for all to consider though is the "security factor" that would allow faculty to monitor who the actual students are and would prevent strangers with possible criminal intentions from appearing on campus. Schools have the responsibility to provide a safe, secure campus and students in uniforms can be easily recognized.
MY CHILDREN grew up wearing school uniforms. It solved a lot of problems and eliminated the "what shall I wear today" question.
It saved money and put everyone on an equal plane. Recently I read how in hard-core schools -- one was in Chicago -- both behavior and school grades improved dramatically.
ADMITTEDLY, behavioral change has many components with no single silver bullet. Nevertheless, there is a reason why 11 schools in Antioch now have uniforms. It's the same reason why nearly 25 percent of the nation's elementary, middle and junior high schools have adopted them. Americans are tired of an age of unfettered indulgence, anything-goes, kowtowing to and being, at all costs, friends to their children. Thankfully, many parents no longer worry if boundaries, discipline and respect are considered modern and "hecka cool."
Uniforms are a secret that parochial and private schools have known for years. Heck, my daughter and wife went to Catholic school and don't seem the worse for wear. They're both tough, creative, free spirits. Uniforms are, in fact, the norm in public schools in countries I've visited, ranging from Mexico, Nassau, England, Turkey and Japan.
To help pay my son's college bills I rent to a teacher at Antioch Middle School. She, like many administrators, teachers, parents, the custodian and even the sandwich shop owner around the corner tell me the campus is now a different place. Though not mandatory, there is a 97-percent compliance.
Benefits include lessened roots for gang activity, knowing strangers on campus, easier truancy sweep identification, lowered costs, less morning dressing hassles, decreased classroom distractions and keeping up with the Joneses economic competition, and an on-task, school is "my job" seriousness. Dressing for success, it seems, can start young.
This week's questions:
Last week in Antioch a teenage foster child was found murdered, allegedly at the hands of her foster mother after at least a year of severe abuse. No one, including child welfare workers or school officials, questioned why she was not in school nor did they notice anything wrong. What can be done to protect children?
E-mail your response to [email protected] Please limit responses to a few sentences and be sure to include your full name and city of residence. Not all responses will be published.
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