School Uniforms to Enhance Security?

Look at the last line of this article, about an Ohio town considering mandatory school uniforms in lower grades:

For Edgewood, the primary motivation for adopting uniforms would be to enhance school security, York said.

What is he talking about? Does he think that school uniforms enhance security because it would be easier to spot non-uniform-wearing non-students in the school building and on the grounds? (Of course, non-students with uniforms would have an easier time sneaking in.) Or something else?

Or is security just an excuse for any random thing these days?

Posted on July 5, 2007 at 6:30 AM • 76 Comments

Comments

AnonymousJuly 5, 2007 7:12 AM

Yes and no, a uniform policy has little to do with security, it is just that school administrators use any rationale to justify policy. An uniform policy provides a way for the school to identify nonconforming students who are thought to be more of a discipline problem.
It does not help that a lot of administrators and teachers are afraid of students, nonsense like this just creates a self-fulfilling prophecy that students who are disciplined for uniform problems are likely to resent authority.

GregJuly 5, 2007 7:15 AM

Maybe the uniforms won't have pockets, so that students can't bring in the dangerous things that they usually keep in their non-uniform pockets. You know, like tissue, loose change, and keys.

syberghostJuly 5, 2007 7:17 AM

Non-students who come on campus to settle gang grudges or otherwise cause security problems aren't clever well-planned infiltrators who research the target school's uniforms and invest in a set of matching clothes; they're violent dumbasses who get high and walk in to start trouble. Yes, uniforms absolutely do make it easier to spot them. They're teenagers on drugs; they think they're invincible, remember?

Ed T.July 5, 2007 7:24 AM

@syberghost:

Did you notice that they are talking about mandating uniforms in ELEMENTARY schools? I don't know about where you come from, but in my part of the world we don't have many teenagers in the lower grades of elementary school.

~EdT.

Ed T.July 5, 2007 7:28 AM

I personally think it is the "something else". Namely, that putting the kids in uniform crushes any spark of individuality they have, turning them into little conformist sheep, thus making it easier for the guards... er, teachers to keep them in line.

The only place I have seen uniforms have a real "security" benefit (from being to identify who is who) is in a prison - maybe the school administrators are frustrated wardens?

~EdT.

Jurgen VoorneveldJuly 5, 2007 7:33 AM

Just a question. Why do elementary schools all of a sudden need extra security measures? Was there some elementary school shooting I missed in the news?

blaiseJuly 5, 2007 7:38 AM

The arguement i've heard is that in school districts where there is significant gang violence (typically inner city), having all the kids in their uniforms and not in the gang colors reduces incidences of spontaneous violence which can quickly escalate. That being said, after looking at the wikipedia entry for this town: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgewood%2C_Ohio
i highly doubt gang violence is the first and foremost thing in their mind.

TamasJuly 5, 2007 7:40 AM

@EdT: I agree completely with your comment on school uniforms and conformism. In my experience, school uniforms were more common in socialist countries.

I still recall our school uniforms from the days when I went to elementary school in Hungary (mid 80s): it was blue, and made out of nylon, which added two extra benefits: (1) it was quite flammable, (2) students stank by the end of the day.

Tamas

KristineJuly 5, 2007 7:45 AM

Maybe the uniforms are transparent, so there is no possibility of bringing dangerous objects into school.

Well, except for the satchel.

@EdT: ACK.

Kristine

AnonymousJuly 5, 2007 7:52 AM

@jack: The guy in the video would have set off the metal detectors before he made it to the classroom.

@Kristine: Some schools require that kids use tranparent plastic book bags/backpacks/purses so that the teachers can see what's in them.

HugoJuly 5, 2007 7:59 AM

Of course, all school uniforms are RFID tagged.

It would be cool to play pac-man on the RFID monitor :)

J.D. AbolinsJuly 5, 2007 8:07 AM

The "security benefits" from school uniforms often cited are 1) giving less opportunities for concealment of contraband, 2) eliminating some clothing accessories, such as belts with heavy buckles, that could used as weapons, 3) discouraging gang colours [which can often include sports team clothing items with a gang interpretation of the colours], 4) encouraging cohesion among the students and eliminating clothing competitiveness & mocking. And, then, there is the "discipline of conformity", telling the students and parents who's in charge.

The school cohesiveness factor may have an unintended consequence from one person's account oif his school days in India. He told me that whenever school-related fights broke out, they were between students from different schools and bystanders will join the fray according to the uniforms involved. By that story, the uniforms might have lessen fights among one's school's student but given a social facotr for fights with "rival" schools. Mind, please, this is one anecdote and not proof that all uniform programs will result in interschool brawls.

Sez MeJuly 5, 2007 8:23 AM

Technically, uniforms can contribute to security, but security isn't the right way to sell them because, as Bruce said, it is becoming a blanket. When my wife and I helped with a girl scout tour, they were all required to be in uninforms not only during events, but during travel to and from. This made them easily identifiable at airports and museums, etc.

But, that said, i'm with Bruce. If the school wants uniforms they need a better pitch. I personally think uniforms would be a benefit for many reasons, whereas many honorable people disagree.

THe security pitch, however, is just too convenient because anyone who debates can be shut down with "don't you want your kids to be safer?" In many cases, that's a valid argument, but using it in situations like this cheapens it.

pbaJuly 5, 2007 8:48 AM

@jack
The YouTube video is cute, and also largely bullshit. The video shows a kids packing enough hardware, including a shotgun and an sub-machine gun. If you've got students actually brining that much firepower to campus, you've got problems far beyond anything a dress code will fix.

NicolaJuly 5, 2007 8:52 AM

I'm italian, here the elementary schools used to require mandatory apron (blue->male pik->female, or, black->male white->female). I heard some time ago an educational reason for this: letting kids wear casual dressings would have started a competitive dress-race between parents, and consequently inferiority complex for kids that coldn't wear griffed dressing: I have three brothers and, since I wore trousers and shirt (not griffed) that previously belonged to my elder bros, i can agree with this choice.

So, school uniforms as a mean for equality... i can comprehend that this seem a socialist principle, but i think that it's reasonable for elementary schools.

Bye.
Nicola

AlexJuly 5, 2007 8:58 AM

~EdT wrote:
> I personally think it is the "something else". Namely, that putting the kids
> in uniform crushes any spark of individuality they have, turning them into
> little conformist sheep, thus making it easier for the guards... er, teachers
> to keep them in line.

Haha! ;)
Well on the other hand the harrassing/bullying of kids who don't wear the
latest Sneakers/Shirts/Basecap/ stops.
Uniforms are meant to make people equal, at least no a fashion-scale.
And yes, that already starts in primary school.

Alex.

PaulsonJuly 5, 2007 9:01 AM

["... putting the kids in uniform crushes any spark of individuality they have, turning them into little conformist sheep, thus making it easier for the guards... er, teachers to keep them in line... The only place I have seen uniforms have a real "security" benefit (from being to identify who is who) is in a prison - maybe the school administrators are frustrated wardens ? "

~EdT. ]

______


" The main function of the public school is not education but social control... Schools are prisons, to which children are sentenced by compulsory education and truancy laws. "

{Dr Thomas Szasz}

ShaneJuly 5, 2007 9:04 AM

I don't understand the reasoning behind the longer quote: "The main motivation for adopting uniforms is to enhance school security by creating a team atmosphere..." Teams have fights just like any other organized group. That being said, I think the confusion about security in elementary schools is a red herring. It looks like they're introducing uniforms in elementary schools as a preliminary step toward requiring them across all the district schools.

Colossal SquidJuly 5, 2007 9:15 AM

"The main motivation for adopting uniforms is to enhance school security by creating a team atmosphere"
And they could use the fasces image on the uniform badges:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fasces

Strength through unity and all that.

In the UK uniforms allow quick identification of pupils from a rival school when selecting candidates for a good kicking. Might be a bit of a downside.

Bryan FeirJuly 5, 2007 9:24 AM

I'm reminded of a time, several years ago, when the Ontario provincial government floated an idea about mandatory school uniforms in public schools. Security wasn't included as part of the reason: school spirit and reducing the clothing one-up-manship were. And they were more interested in high schools, where the bigger problems were. The idea didn't last all that long.

Though the thing I'll remember was an editorial cartoon that showed up a day or two after that suggestion: three boys in a school hallway, all with identical slouches, all wearing dark shirts, low-slung jeans with pockets turned inside-out, and baseball caps on backwards. The first said, 'School uniforms?' The second said, 'That would suck.' And the third finished with, 'We'd all look the same!'

Rich WilsonJuly 5, 2007 9:40 AM

Slightly off topic, but shopping for a baby monitor the other day, I laughed out loud over this feature of the 'Fisher-Price Private Connection Monitor':

"It has 10 channels to increase the privacy of the connection by reducing the likelihood of someone else picking up the transmission."

a) why does your baby waking up need to be private and b) if you really want it private, then I'd say 10 channels qualifies as snake oil.

David FrierJuly 5, 2007 10:02 AM

To answer Bruce's question, Yes. Security is the blanket excuse for almost everything now. Unless you're in a US corporate environment, in which case it's "Sarbanes-Oxley." But I digress.

As for the OT baby monitor conversation, parents often forget that the little tyke's room is "bugged" and can be heard to have the most, um, interesting conversations for up to 1/4 mile....

John DaviesJuly 5, 2007 10:14 AM

@David Frier

Some friends of mine used to take advantage of this fact. Rather than sit downstairs and watch TV while listening to the baby monitor they used to sit in the pub 50 yds down the road and listen to the baby monitor.

Mind you that would probably get you locked up and the child taken into care these days!

RoyJuly 5, 2007 10:31 AM

If anybody believes uniforms would help defend against terrorists, then forget about the kids, make the faculty wear uniforms. A terrorist would have a shot at infiltrating the school by passing himself off as an teacher, staff member, or visiting parent or official. He'd have no chance passing for a third grader.

If the object is to prevent kids smuggling guns into school, switching to uniforms won't do any good -- unless the uniforms are fully transparent, or they are snug-fitting body-stockings. School uniforms will never be see-through, and they are never tight-fitting, so they always provide the bagginess needed to conceal handguns, grenades, explosives, toxins, poisons, and so on.

If kids are forced to wear uniforms, then terrorists can outfit a kid with a suicide vest under his uniform -- which they bought legitimately, or stole, or counterfeited.

anonymousJuly 5, 2007 10:32 AM

In general people aren't all that articulate about what they are trying to do.

It doesn't help that SECURITY really is too generic a term. Too many people are thinking about their silo of security. One little security benefit and the entire word gets invoked.

This article it seems to be position security as a generic benefit. Whenever I see generic benefits, I break out the (pinch of) salt.

I might buy the fashion arms race. Hardly a security issue.

There are so many problems with this.
The ELEMENTARY school focus is part of that. Gangs seems far fetched in that geography. Security from outsiders? Insiders? Kidnappers? Head counts? Bullying?

Bully's don't go away they just change reasons and possibly targets. But bullying counts as (a very small part of) security.

Which all begs the question, what were they really thinking? We'll probably never know.

Perhaps the local taxpayers should apply some critical thinking.

radiantmatrixJuly 5, 2007 10:32 AM

All the theories about school uniforms and security are kind of cute, in context:

Gang violence? In an elementary school? Not real likely.

Identifying outsiders? Like all those elementary kids that want to sneak *into* school?

No, folks -- talk to an elementary teacher. My wife teaches K-6 music; their school has a uniform (for teachers as well as students), and there are a couple of good reasons for it:

1. Makes a minimum dress code easier to enforce by eliminating gray areas.
2. Kids don't steal each other's uniforms (they *would* and *did* steal other items from gym lockers and the like)
3. Fewer fights over who has and has not kept up with the latest fads.

The last two definitely are part of school security, though they deal with less-glamorous aspects of it.

monopoleJuly 5, 2007 10:37 AM

One word: sēr�?-fuku (ok, maybe two words).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sailor_fuku#Sailor_outfit
Terrorists and gang members would avoid the schools if they faced certain destruction from moon tiara attacks. A henshin society is a polite society.

Better yet, they could do a hat trick and promote abstinence and enlistment in naval aviation with uniforms from this series:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xQiQTWzsaU

@jack
I'd love to see that guy try to walk, much less get past a metal detector.

AnonymousJuly 5, 2007 11:16 AM

Uniforms also make the kids easy to spot when they're enroute to/from the school. This, of course, can be exploited by bad guys.

AgnesJuly 5, 2007 11:34 AM

I have no problem with the idea of my elementary-age kids wearing uniforms. I support the idea for a lot of personal reasons, many of them to do with the removal of parent-child conflict of what constitutes acceptable school attire, a subject that is wearing me out.

However, I have a problem with the school district not telling the truth. I have seen this happen in a number of instances, where reasons cited for a decision have nothing to do with the real reasons. It seems to me that the reason "Our teachers are spending valuable time enforcing dress code issues and are having difficulty turning students' attention from their sneakers to their reading" is sufficient to begin the conversation about uniforms. Why officials feel they have to win immediately with trumped up claims of "security" tells me a lot about the school officials' lack of management skills.

Brandioch ConnerJuly 5, 2007 11:45 AM

For everyone who believes that uniforms will prevent any fashion one-ups-manship, you are wrong.

Unless the uniform is issued by the school, there will be different versions. And the kids will know who has the cheaper versions and who has the most expensive versions.

And that's not even counting the obvious items such as watches and bracelets and such.

Rather, the school needs to be honest and specific about the issues it is facing (or believes it is facing).

Then the various approaches can be evaluated.

anonymousJuly 5, 2007 12:06 PM

@Brandioch

Bingo. So true, even when the school issues the uniforms.

I recall that the girls at the local Catholic schools used to modify their uniforms. Partly individuality, partly to see how close to the line they could push limits. Some could easily adjust their uniforms for in school and out of school.

I'm sure this must still go on.

Another arms race. And legs, etc.


dragonfrogJuly 5, 2007 12:32 PM

@ Ed.T

Come on, it takes more than matching shirts and ties to turn people into conformist sheep and crush all sparks of individuality. I went for a while to a school with uniforms, and the effect I noticed was that pupils were less worried about their appearance - which can be freeing to allow greater individuality where it matters, in thought and creativity.

There may be a bit of fashion one-upmanship still possible - you can tell who has the more expensive pants and shoes. But the importance attached to that difference is greatly reduced - if you really care about looking cool, you invest in clothes that you change into after school, not in better dress shirts to offset your school tie.

I can see some ways uniforms could have a security benefit, and it's not spelled out in the article whether any of these apply. If kids are getting jumped for their expensive sneakers as they walk home, uniforms could help. As other have noted, if there's a problem with outsiders coming into the school and stealing or starting fights, uniforms could help.

MarkJuly 5, 2007 12:40 PM

"The primary motivation for adopting uniforms would be to enhance school security"

Kevlar uniforms?

Matthew SkalaJuly 5, 2007 1:00 PM

In Japan, where all high schools require uniforms, teenage girls developed a fashion of extremely baggy socks, so loose they had to be held up with sock glue* - because that was pretty much the only thing left unspecified in the uniform code. Although I'm told it's no longer considered fashionable, you'll still see such socks in anime, and places that sell paraphernalia to North American fans, still sell the glue. (http://www.jbox.com/SEARCH/sock_glue/1/)

It's as Brandioch Conner said: there will be cheap versions and expensive versions of the uniform, and the kids will most definitely know the difference. Even if the uniforms ARE government-issued to prevent that (and where will the budget for it come from?), the students will find ways to turn them into status markers with whatever accessories they're allowed to have, or by non-standardly fastening parts of the uniform or unfastening them or leaving them loose or cinching them tight or...

Might as well order the tide not to come in to shore.

* Which, for any true Canadians in the audience, should of course conjure a vision of a female Roch Carrier reminiscing that "We wore loose socks like Ayumi Hamasaki, and we used a special sock glue to keep them in place."

Ed T.July 5, 2007 1:05 PM

@dragonfrog -

You're right - it *does* take more than simply requiring everyone to look the same to crush the individuality out of a child.

However, it is a good start - and too many of the schools I have seen certainly don't stop there.

Oh, and don't think that kids are attacked only for their fancy clothes - when I was in school, I was assaulted in the middle of the gym - while the *entire class* was present - because someone didn't bring his shoes that day, and felt he needed mine more than I did.

~EdT.

JohnSJuly 5, 2007 1:14 PM

I can't see where uniforms add much to security.

In grade school, at least, our experience was that they did reduce the 'one-up-manship' quite a lot. They also eliminated fighting with our daughter about what to wear - not so much particular styles but changing her mind six times in the morning!

By high school a dress code would have been enough, for all the uniform alterations and differences already mentioned.

evildadJuly 5, 2007 1:22 PM

Long ago, poets chose restrictive forms such as sonnets or haiku because it takes greater creativity to work within constraints. Engineers show their creativity by working within constraints. Uniforms don't crush creativity, they re-direct it.
Now, if I was to start a new gang, I might choose school uniform colors just to be perverse...

TJJuly 5, 2007 1:41 PM

They're obviously concerned about midget paedophiles, who would otherwise be able to freely move around the school. :-)

Only the slightest bit more seriously, how about school uniforms for the school staff, that way one would -- very theoretically -- be able to distinguish the out-of-place adults at the school.

FrancesCJuly 5, 2007 5:03 PM

But all the private schools use uniforms and no one objects and I really don't know why. Do they all crush creativity and individuality? They claim to be doing the opposite. I think it boils down to limiting problems with dress codes.

Brandioch ConnerJuly 5, 2007 5:29 PM

@FrancesC
"But all the private schools use uniforms and no one objects and I really don't know why."

It's not the uniforms.

It's the claim that the uniforms will improve "security".

Because claims of "security" are being used to justify anything and everything. Even down to school uniforms for grade school kids.

MaiaCJuly 5, 2007 7:54 PM

"Or is security just an excuse for any random thing these days?"

You got it. "Security" is just an excuse for any arbitrary exercise of authoritarian power. It's the Red Peril of the post-9/11 generation.

nomblymouseJuly 5, 2007 9:36 PM

Possibly the "security" is the security of the students themselves.

The most common failure mode for securing elementary school students is that they wander off on the way to and from school. (Having minds of their own, and all.) Uniforms are a handy way to mark students that wander off, so that adults can identify them at a distance. This is handy, if you are the school administrator tasked with driving around the community trying to find the kid who decided to go home after lunch.

The context for this is that in conservative, midwestern, small town Ohio, there are a significant number of home schooled children, and some private schooled children who may be wandering about, and as a school official, you don't have the authority to, ah, corral them and return them to base. Note that 1st through 4th graders can be sufficiently intimidated by adults to be effectively mute, so an external marker that they really do belong to a school that could be called is quite helpful.

Uniforms also let playground supervisors differentiate at a glance interlopers looking for trouble from their charges. (I've seen this happen.)

The school-uniform-as-security is also present in Japan.* Elementary age students walk a prescribed path to school, with each route segment in a direct line of sight from one parent volunteer to the next. Since each school has a distinct uniform, it is possible to return students who get lost or "distracted." I think this could be seen as an example of a layered security model: fixed route, surveillance, a marker that prompts intervention. A number of things have to go wrong for a child to go missing. (Apparently intervention by responsible adults - like shopkeepers - the child would encounter is an expectation of this society.) Do you suppose this would lead to fewer false positives in missing children alerts? (I.e. if the kid is missing for more than 45 minutes, the chances that they were _actually_ abducted is pretty good. In the U.S. it could take a couple of hours to establish if the kid was missing at all in larger schools.)

*I can't find the reference, but this information comes from a written first person account by an American anthropologist who's children attended school in Japan for a few years in the 1990's.

DylanJuly 5, 2007 11:26 PM

I'm so late on thsi thread, nobody is going to read this anyway.

Seems to me most anti-uniform posters have no idea what they are posting about. Apart from the Hungarian ("all uniform wearers are socialists") none of you seem to have any experience of school uniforms.

Speaking as someone who was schooled american-style (without a uniform) and australian-style (with a uniform) I'll just say right now that they have nothing to do with fashion, or security, or conformism.

And let's face it, we all wear uniforms all the time anyway (whether it is an official corporate uniform, or a deliberately rebellious personal uniform.)

What scares the willies out of Americans is that they don't get to choose the uniform they wear in the case of school uniforms.

(To bring it back on topic, I think there are also security benefits to having school uniforms, but that they are only a side issue in most cases.)

Wyle_EJuly 6, 2007 1:49 AM

It sometimes happens that the uniform contains one item whose only conforming version is available from just one local distributor, who is a contributor to the campaign funds of the officials pushing for the uniform policy. This scam has other forms, like the overpriced spiral-bound "Spelling Notebook" that was sold by the brother of the teacher who would accept no substitutes.

IainJuly 6, 2007 1:50 AM

Various Queensland (Australian) government-run secondary schools use the same rationale: that an "intruder" not wearing a school uniform is easier to spot and subsequently deal with when uniforms are compulsory than when they're not. This - with this same excuse! - has been going on since at least 1990 over here, so it's certainly not new. Of course, the obvious questions of "why are teachers exempted from wearing a uniform of some type" or "when uniforms can be freely purchased from various main street retailers, what's to stop an intruder from buying same for themself" go unanswered.

As others have said, it's more an ends-justify-means situation, though: other excuses have been that it ends the one-upmanship between students over fashion (what?), and that it's more "professional" (what?).

KristineJuly 6, 2007 2:05 AM

School uniforms are not "security theatre", but "symptom covering theatre": Instead of forcing all pupils to wear the same to prevent discrimination on grounds of clothing by other pupils, the school should teach tolerance towards those who are different (in clothing as well as in other aspects).

But of course with uniforms the school can point to the -- quite visible -- school uniforms and say "we did something".

@Dylan at: Maybe we all wear uniforms all the time (a debatable claim), but we do this out of our own free will. We are not forced by someone else (except when the employer requires it). Of course pupils can wear school uniforms if they like, but they should not be forced to.

Kristine

P.S: I wonder what would happen when in reaction to a plan like the one in Ohio, the "Society of pedophilic school uniform fetishists" would release a press statement saying they completely support this move.

KristineJuly 6, 2007 2:11 AM

@Tamas: I don't think school uniforms are mainly associated with socialist countries. I associate them mainly with Britain and Japan, not really socialist countries. The point is not if the country is socialist or not, but if it values individual freedom (which of course includes the freedom to choose one's clothing[*]) or not.


Kristine

[*] Yes, including being completely naked. Just sit on a towel for hygiene's sake, please

KapsJuly 6, 2007 6:43 AM

Making school uniform compulsory, can be considered as an act to enhance school security. But, other pupils can easily buy school uniform from local market. So other steps need to be taken for the sake of school security.

Sean ClearyJuly 6, 2007 11:29 AM

Ok, there are more threats in a school than the international terrorists. There are street gangs. And people in school who wear gang colors. So if you do not want obvious gang influence in your schools, if you want your students to be able to walk to school and not die, putting them in a designated and hopefully non-local-gang color uniform would greatly help. Perhaps security is not the right word, but the effort is in that kind of direction.

As well as the above mention that with a uniform no one can be outclassed in dressing, gold chains (which also denote gang influence) can be eliminated. There are strong real world reasons for dress code policys in a school atmosphere, and uniforms just take this to the next point, usually from an atmosphere of being tired of drawing the line any laxer.

Sean

X the UnknownJuly 6, 2007 12:14 PM

It's economic security. Schools get paid by attendance. Kids in school uniforms walking around outside of school are easy for truant officers to spot.

X the UnknownJuly 6, 2007 12:20 PM

"Random Attacker" elementary-school kids who infiltrate (Ninja Academy, anyone?) are easily spotted if they are out of uniform. But, they will probably have to spend some time in-uniform but off-campus before sneaking in or escaping, so they're easier for authorities to catch.

That's because, once an eight-year-old goes all Columbine somewhere, all of the "real" school-children (and teachers) will, of course, stick to the official school-policy emergency plan of calmly assembling in head-countable classroom groups in the pre-specified emergency-assembly areas. They obviously WON'T just scatter to the four winds, trying to save whomever they can.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!

X the UnknownJuly 6, 2007 12:31 PM

@Sean: "...putting them in a designated and hopefully non-local-gang color uniform would greatly help."

I've often heard this "disruption of gang-identification" as an actual argument for school uniforms. I'd like to see some evidence of how well it works, though.

To and From school, gangland alterations are trivial to enact (take a bandanna out of your pocket, and wrap it around your head, for example). But, as I recall, even issues such as the angle of the bill of your baseball cap can be a gangland symbol. So, if the uniform doesn't include baseball caps (a likely case), they could just shift to things like "how off-center is your belt-buckle, and in which direction". Enforcing against that type of signaling would be almost impossible. Students could say they were hurried getting dressed, and just didn't notice, when some authority figure calls them on it. And they can trivially re-assume the "appropriate" gangland attitude as soon as the authority is out of sight.

X the UnknownJuly 6, 2007 12:45 PM

Also, depending upon the stringency of the uniform-specification, there is a commercial economic interest. If they are actual "uniforms" (not just "black pants, oxford shoes, and white shirt), then they are in limited supply.

Everybody will have to buy from someone who has some sort of "arrangement" with the school (they design and approve the uniforms, and probably end up contracting for their manufacture), or even directly from the school itself.

Custom clothing on such a small scale is expensive. In a huge school, maybe a few thousand students. Since it's an elementary school, you have an incredibly-wide range of sizes and fits. You'd be really lucky to get an average order of a hundred units for any particular size-and-fit.

csrsterJuly 9, 2007 2:18 AM

This is just wrong. Don't these people understand how vital it is to preserve the general public's superficial freedoms? How else can we distract them while we dismantle all their fundamental freedoms?

DeMartianJuly 9, 2007 1:28 PM

I wish we had school uniforms when I went to school. My family didn't have money for fancy namebrand jeans and I was picked on for it. My son has a dress code at school and it really helps me get him ready in the morning. No arguments about what to wear.

Security? Maybe it cuts down on the bullies and hence a safer environment.

FaithJuly 10, 2007 5:29 AM

I wrote the school board against uniforms, just because there are too many different opinions about it and nothing factual. I just wanted the real reason for the implementation. I received no response. The main reason that they gave was that board members had visited other schools with a uniform policy and they thought it was a good idea. We found out they were voting on it the day before the vote.

After all of that, my son (in elementary school), will be wearing a uniform this year.

MeepJuly 10, 2007 7:11 AM

That kind of logic has worked in RL

When I was in high school (Macleans College, Auckland, NZ) back in 1991, the summer uniform incorporated shorts with the socks pulled up.

One day a student from another school, came over to sell some drugs, in a borrowed uniform, with the socks down.

It caught the vice principal's attention, who demanded they be raised, why the student was so puzzled at having to do this as it was mid year, and finally wanted his name, class, house, etc .

The visitor tried to do a runner, but was tackled 200 metres away by a member of the schools first15 rugby team. (the vice principal was their coach)


You could also make the argument that since Principal Prentice had made a point of knowing 1200 student's by name , staff had a better eye for hinky and "don't quite feel right" gut instincts, as well asa culture of active patrolling of the grounds between classes.


The school reason for uniforms was that it's fixed yearly price and common standard, reduced costs on parents as well as reduced teacher workload by having a fashion police role

BrynnJuly 21, 2007 6:45 PM

School uniforms are not as simple as simply buying clothes and moving on. I think that unless they are hand made you can have the problem of them falling to pieces (the hems fall out, they tear easily, & you later notice missing buttons). When shopping for clothes that are expensive you sometimes are just relieved that it's in you size...if you have a popular size you have to go to the trouble of getting something to big and getting it tailored.

While I'm sure that parents can be thankful that their kids are not harassed by bullies they may also have to maintain their children's clothes which are hard to get in just so in the first place. I think that the schools should at least be more lenient with the elementary school students because it honestly was irritating to put up with: the stains, torn clothes, not fitting clothes...etc. My youngest sister grew quickly during those years and it drove our mother mad. Having to keep so clean ruins their play time as they don't always get to change into sports friendly clothes before recess... we discovered bleach that year.

I remember the years before they brought the standardized dress to our school district. I don't remember anyone dressing that horribly in elementary school.

BrynnJuly 21, 2007 6:50 PM

While maintaining your clothes is a good lesson my sister was hard to shop for & it made things harder when we had to find a specific outfit. If we had been allowed to buy her clothes with a wider amount of choices she probably would have been dressed just as nicely.

LeraillezJuly 24, 2007 6:38 AM

I had a school uniform when I was young and lived in France. It was just a blue blouse going down to the knees and no sneakers allowed except during sport class where the short, T-shirt and white sneakers were a uniform.
I went to junior high school in the States and there, like in my elementary time in France I had to wear a uniform for sport time.
Being dressed like everyone else never bothered me. On the contrary, I felt liked I belonged to a group, a team. As someone here said, and if its true, I suppose that the Nixon time was a tough socialist time in the states.
You dont really differentiate yourself with your clothes in school, you do it in the classes where you are excellent, good or bad.
If you can wear the clothes you want for the defense of freedom, why cant you, as a kid, choose your teacher, your classes, your school?
Dont forget that you, adult, decide what is good for your child, from your point of view, not his, and that for lots of things.

GalenDecember 20, 2007 7:58 AM

honestly school uniforms are retarded sure it would help not start trouble but why should we spend so much money on something i know i wont wear i know if you adult were in school you wouldn't want to wear it when you are young so why change our thing if you wanna try and ruin it for us you cant because we arent gonna wear them

stormJanuary 22, 2008 11:18 AM

I CAN;T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!! UNIFORMS ARE B-A-D WE DO NOT NEED THEM THEY DON'T HELP WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

marisMay 20, 2008 1:38 PM

School uniforms do not create a safer environment because most schools allow the kids to wear blue, red, white and khaki which by the way are all recognized gang colors. The kids can dress in all of one color which is what they do because I live by a school and I see them in groups dressed like gang members in school uniforms. I did not have to wear uniforms when I went to school. I am glad I did not have to because I got an opportunity to be an individual and I got to choose my clothes everyday. The kid are programmed by all the rule. Clothing is a form of personal expression. The only other institution in our society where dress codes are "designed" is the penal system. We all need to think.

cheryl picoApril 21, 2009 1:02 PM

i think all of this 'uniforms helps discipline' shit is fucked up. my school enforces this, butt i dont wear it most of the time. i just want them to stop!! they dont even care anymore.. i take it off in front of my teachers.

ri-chanNovember 12, 2010 11:52 PM

yes certainly , when a child wears the uniform it helps him or her to stay reconciled in their group among the other mates . Irrespective of what caste , creed , race or social background they belong from. it develops a sense of equality as well as security among them.therefore the uniform becomes a sign of identification for him or her and thus provides security to them .
i insist more and more countries to adopt the system of uniform at least in school.

umbertoMarch 13, 2012 10:53 PM

We are talking about LOWER classes...
not teenagers bringing weapons to school or participating in gangs and stuff like that.
please read the article before writing anything unfitting (:
umbee

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