Three Cheers for School Uniforms

Today was a fantastic school shopping day. Amazing discounts and school supply sales enticed us, parents, to get in the store early and get what we need for our kids. I earned a gold medal today for efficient use of my time – in and out in 45 minutes. Also, my husband was happy that we didn’t spend as much this year on supplies as we did last year on comparable items (about fifty dollars less so far).

Tomorrow, my son and I are going school clothes shopping. He absolutely hates going, but his growing-and-out-of-proportion adolescent body makes it difficult to predict what size of pants to buy.

One of the great things though about tomorrow’s shopping trip is that all I have to buy are navy blue pants and plain, white shirts with a collar. I am fortunate that his school requires a uniform. Besides being an easy and cheap shopping trip, there are other positive aspects of wearing a school uniform.

In one of my past jobs, I was a teacher in a school that required uniforms. From this experience, I can tell you for certain that uniforms level the playing field. In a sea of navy blue and white, clothing became a non-issue. Bling was not allowed. Designer name brands were not allowed. Nobody felt embarrassed or ashamed of not having designer clothes because everyone looked the same. Kids could concentrate on their studies in classes (gasp!) instead of worrying that they couldn’t keep up with trends.

Think back about being a middle schooler and how you had to have the right clothes. Back in my day, the hot and must-have style was Brooke Shields and “nobody can get in between her and her” Calvins. Everyone had the right jeans, the feathered hair, and Nikes were just coming to the fashion forefront, and they had better be blue with a yellow swoosh. It was a rare kid who could resist and stand up to the trends set forth by the media. And if he/she did, there was a social price to pay.

That’s why I wish American schools would move more towards requiring uniforms because the stress level in parents and kids could drop dramatically. Let’s get the materialism out of the way and let the kids concentrate on their studies!

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