Do school uniforms improve discipline, stamp out gang influence and quash the fashion wars? Or are uniforms a soul-crushing, Orwellian attack on free expression?
The Harford County Board of Education will soon decide one way or the other. Take a stab at the questions they plan to ask at upcoming public meetings or just tell us what you think in your own words:
To me, the bigger question about school uniforms should be “What do you do with students who refuse to comply?”
Detention, suspension, expulsion for non-compliance? The current dress code policy addresses lewd or vulgar attire. Doesn’t the public school system owe the children of Harford County an opportunity to learn, whether they are wearing khakis and a polo shirt or jeans and a T shirt?
I think I’m changing my thoughts on school uniforms. Originally, I was in favor. I’m not sure there is any hard evidence for good or for bad–security, school spirit, improving grades etc Is there any problem which uniforms will fix. . I think I am leaning against their so called advantages. I know my wife will be busy washing and keeping the uniforms presentable each day. Unless you buy 4-6 uniforms, the washer and dryer will be always running. My son will need one every day, with the persperation and drink and food spillings etc. Not to mention that the minute they get home it will be a big rush to get real clothes on. I guess I wonder if the expense and extra work by the washers is worth it. Is there a real problem out there that uniforms will help or will grades improve because of them or is this just another area where we make a change in order to make a change. If there is a real advantage, what is it? And yes, learning should be top priority.
Maybe each pathway could have their own uniforms and kids who get E’s can not wear uniforms—Just Kidding with the last sentence!!
My daughter is a high school teacher in the Baltimore City School system. She reports that some students refuse to comply with the dress code, fully or in part, and this brings another discipline problem to the teachers and administrators.
On the other side of the argument, current clothing styles for girls often accentuate the female figure in a way that is inappropriate for a school setting. Some parents seem to miss this point and some students like to bring this attention upon themselves. Either way, uniforms would be a positive solution for this problem.
My suggestion for the typical uniform would be something simple and easy for all to acquire – plain colored pants and polo shirts in that school’s colors (ex., Bel AIr students could wear either white or navy blue polo shirts.)
I wouldn’t have a problem with uniforms for my children, but can we please put Baltimore on the away jerseys?
Kidding aside, I think there are benefits. How strict are the guidelines going to be? Will all kids where the same color shirts? Khackis only?
vietnam vet says
I don’t see the point in uniform’s. I think they better turn there focus to education not what the kid’s are wearing. there is a continous I want too change the child’s individual personality.
Doing so by forceing uniform’s. to be worn in school.that being the case we should name the boy’s jim bob & the girls jane.we won’t need to allow them to grow in to there own personality’s. or may be we could just issue them a number. no need for a name.
Here are the latest recommendations from the committee the Board of Ed put together to study school uniforms. Of course everything is subject to Board approval, but it gives some idea of how uniforms might look in HCPS.
I think there should be a great deal of dialogue before this is instituted. I grew up in Catholic school and have no problem with uniforms. It is all what you are used to. I had 2-3 skirts and a bunch of blouses that I changed everyday. It did not create too much laundry. The reason(s) WHY should be clear. Is there a county wide problem with discipline and enforcement of current dress codes? If there is a problem with enforcement now, how is the adminstration going to inforce a uniform code, especially when you may have parents who are not in favor of uniforms and won’t support the decision? What are the statistics on infringement of the current dress code? There are parents who are STRONGLY opposed to the entire idea. What happens when a parent won’t make their student comply? If there was a way to stagger the introduction, begin with elementary and work the way into middle, high school. So many of the decisions made are because of problems caused by a “few”, yet the “whole” seems to be “punished”. This response if sort of a “stream” of consciousness, just bringing up points that need to be considered.
vietnam vet says
Cindy good info. but as we know. when we talk ”money” prices just seem to rise & the poor folk who are strapped all ready are left with more unavoidble expense. my wife & I are raiseing a 6 year old’ little girl.
with out the help of the state….
i'm for it says
they do this already in many d.c. public schools. girls and boys both wear khakis (there are various shades allowed) and polo shirts (same deal). no visible labels.
my daughter is in high school, and i personally think it’s a great idea. it takes focus off of the school “fashion show” and the urge to wear the latest thing and look the coolest. plus, it will make the socioeconomic gap invisible in the classroom–which it should be. it doesn’t matter if you get your khakis at wal-mart of nordstrom’s–they still look like khakis. in a school like havre de grace, where you’ve got kids from bulle rock going to school with lower-income children, i think it will help to even the playing field–both in the peer group and in the eyes of teachers who might not even realize they would take note of such a thing.
i also don’t think the argument against them would be cost or laundry. as said, these could be acquired pretty cheaply, and when compared to the cost of putting a high schooler in fashionable clothes–this would actually save me money! plus, the laundry? it’ll be the same as it always was–you’re just washing different clothes.
vietnam vet says
As a psychologist told me we are simply’ trying to shelter a child from the bumps & bruise’s of life. there’s rich there’s poor ( me) it’s and ugly part of life they are going to have to accept.
Uniform’s reduce the counter culture of Hanna montana. but do nothing to teach the child that all thing’s are not equal.
i'm for it says
vet: your argument is that uniforms shelter children and make them believe they are equal to other children–and you’d like them to learn they aren’t? children growing up in poor families are completely aware of who they are and where they come from. those reminders are there when they go home, and they’ll be there when they wake up, they’ll be there on christmas. what i’m suggesting is that in an educational forum (which should promote the belief that any child, regardless of circumstances can see their full potential) they should not have to be judged or reminded of their socio-economic class. i’m saying that it helps to keep that all that crap out of the classroom, and may promote better self esteem and class unity. there will be plenty of time to beat them down later, don’t you worry.
a mom says
As a mother of 3 children who have attended HCPS I have a difficult time coming to a decision about this uniform issue. On the surface I agree with the premise that yes it will be less name brands, and hopefully demand less time of the teaching staff to enforce-therefore freeing them up to teach!!
I am sure the staff on the high school level spends some time reminding boys to pull up their pants and girls to wear longer shorts. I suspect it is a distraction.
But several of you make good points– what is going to happen to the student who doesn’t wear the uniform?? What will the discipline be?? And as adults we all know there are still ways to individualize yourselves even in a uniform- the kids with the means will still wear the more expensive sneakers and the girls will have the designer shoes and purses.
Ultimately it should be about whether it allow more time for instruction and does it cause less problems than what we have currently?
although I do like Carl’s thought..let the students in the respective pathways each wear their own uniform.
vietnam vet says
You miss understand. I’am simply Quoteing what I was told by a psychologist they have the degree’s, and spend a lot time in higher education getting them.
Now these very same people are makeing decision’s for our children. so if that being the case. we have a problem.
Are we not in a public school system? Do you really think that uniforms will be the answer to disclpline problems and lack of compliance to the already existing dress code? If the schools cannot currently enforce the dress code good luck with the children who refuse to comply. As a parent of 2 “A” students, I REFUSE to spend the money on uniforms. Enough is enough! Our school dollars currently do not pay for pens, paper, post it notes, tissues, antibacterial wipes, protracters etc etc and now you want us to purchase uniforms in addition to their street clothes? My child cannot choose were they sit in the school cafeteria, there are assigned seats, my son is jammed in his new school hallways because they cannot use the other stairwell. I worry that the teachers and school administraters and UNELECTED school board members need to focus on safe schools and how to enforce dress codes currently in place. This is the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA not a socialistic country, lets not make it one. Life isn’t fair and that is the lesson that kids need to be tought. If a chlid wears a pair of pants that are falling off of their hips exposing their underwear then discipline them. Kids need to know that there is a consequence for their behavior and inappropriate dress. Don’t punish my kids and take away their freedom to make choices for themselves because our public schools fail to follow their own guidelines!
I think the whole thought of school uniforms in ridicules.
Especially for a public school! You’ve got to be kidding me!
Yeah the cause of this you could say is not following the dress code, but I’m telling you the school uniforms will not fix the choice of what students wear to school. If this passes and students have to wear uniforms you will have more problems then where you started from and it will become a bigger head ache. What happens when students don’t show up in there uniforms? Over time it gets worse, suspension accurse, more and more students don’t show up at school when there only there to learn not be criticized by what there wearing! May I mention when we get into the real world you can’t control what others are wearing around you. You see different and crazy, new appearances everyday and your just going to have to live with it. And that’s life. When It come down, ALL STUDENTS OF ALL PUBLIC SCHOOLS SHOULD BE ABLE TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES AND WEAR WHAT THEY WANT TO SCHOOL!
A mom says
I’m against school uniforms partly because the majority of my kids don’t want them, but mostly because I believe there is no benefit to having them. I certainly don’t think that having students wear uniforms will solve the social problems (gangs, inequality, self-esteem, etc.) that the uniforms are intended to correct. From the parents I know who send their kids to private schools, the uniforms don’t make the kids any “nicer” or less likely to engage in bad behavior. Thugs will still be thugs, gang members will find some other way to identify themselves, and mean kids will still find something to be mean about. It just seems like an attempt to make everything look better on the surface when, in fact, nothing really important will change.
Why does our school system spend the time hashing out uniform policies when the time could be better spent making changes that could really enhance our kids’ educations?
vietnam vet says
We the people would very much like too get you elected to the board of education. it’s apparent they think the parent’s can not raise there chillin’s.
With out goverment interference.these are ”public” school’s not private school’s
It’s interesting that people talk about the “real world” and freedom to wear what you want to — and do not recognize that almost everyone at some point has to wear some kind of uniform. Police officers, firefighters,military, doctors and nurses — all professions our young people look up to — have uniforms that they wear. Heck, if you work at McDonalds, 7-Eleven, T.G.I Fridays, or Blockbuster Video…You’re expected to wear their uniform. Professionals (including the teachers and administrators being attacked for proposing this policy) are all expected to dress professionally … and can be reprimanded for not doing so.
I think it’s absurd to be so vehemently opposed to a policy that is not harming the students, but is designed to create an even more structured and educationally sound environment. Students are individuals no matter what they wear. The current dress code policy allows too much room for students to push the envelope.
Perhaps parents who want their children to be able to express themselves should encourage them to read & write, sing or play an instrument, paint or draw or any of the things that truly further self expression, not supporting the students wearing clothes that show skin and underwear — and are distractions in a classroom setting.
Concentrate on being vocal and trying to change the policies that are harmful to your kids’ education … (Block schedule, “Teaching to the Test”, etc…) A uniform policy is the least of your worries.
vietnam vet says
I would hope the school has better thing’s, too do than argue over uniform’s been there & done that.
I think they do….Teaching the students…
3 out of 4 of the educators polled expressed support for a uniform policy. It’s the parents and students who are spending the time arguing.
vietnam vet says
I’am thinking the teachers, are looking for and easy solution to the problem’s they face every day.best bet is get another job. depending on the area your in. kid’s are street smart. & they will buck the system.
So what if you are poor or it (may promote better self esteem and class unity) self esteem is learned through everyday life, and it is just something yo have to learn to have. I mean sure in life sometimes you will have to wear a uniform, but this is our time to shine and our time to express ourselves, and if you want to take that away from us then send us to a private school but not in a public school. Uniforms don’t help they will just make us want to rebe more. I also believe if you make us wear uniforms more people will drop out or suspended.
And for people who complain about being made fun of for what they wear, one the other person is probably really immature and needs to grow up, so you need to realize that and get over it.
I do realize that schools do take away some of our God given rights, but this is just ridicules.
I’m thinking that the teachers are looking for a way to have a less distracting environment in their classrooms, and hoping for a policy that might be easier to enforce than the current dress code.
This inference that teachers (the ones who are spending every day devoting time to the street smart kids who tend to buck the system) are looking for an easy way is ludicrous. Teachers who remain teachers certainly do it for the long term only because they care about the students. Not for a paycheck…and NOT because they can’t get another job….There are plenty of educators who DO leave the profession because they are not supported by parents, administrators, or their supervisors when it comes to enforcing policies or decisions that they had to make in their classroom.
DRESS CODE YES…UNIFORMS NO….RICHIEC HAS SPOKEN.
1. BUISNESS CAUSIAL DRESS CODE
POLL A NUMBER OF BUISNESS ESTABLISHMENTS TO DETRMINE THEIR BUISNESS DRESS CODE FOR CAUSIAL AND IMPLIMENT IT.
PURSES….WELL MANY BUISNESSES ONLY ALLOW CLEAR PURSES FOR SECURITY PORPOSES…WHY NOT.
STATEMENTS ON CLOTHING, INCLUDING SHOES (SNEAKERS)…DISSALLOWED.
ITS A NO BRAINER…NO 300,000 DOLLAR CONSULTANTS NEEDED FOR THIS ONE.
GO DAGGER ! !
LOOK MA…SPILLCHUCKER SAID “NO MISTAKES” !
How do you get kids on free and reduced lunches to pay for uniforms. Would the schools have to supply them if the parents said they couldn’t afford them because it is an added expense? Would each school then be responsible for those kids?
This issue being talked about just muddies the waters even more about what is really going on in the schools. This seems to be a huge distraction away from the issues that are really effecting kids in the system. If there was a big educational advantage then I could understand it but since this is going to be a problem for so many, why bother?
I think the school system needs to concentrate on the spelling and meaning of the word “ridiculous”.
I agree that the punishment for not wearing the uniform is going to be a big problem. Maybe instead of uniforms, they should just enforce the dress code and suspend the kids wearing revealing clothing and pants around their thighs.
Nope, they are too scared to do that, so the next step is uniforms. The current dress code is probably too subjective, and principals and administrators are unwilling to make the tough decision.
As I said before, for my kids, I’m fine with uniforms. Many of their friends attend local private schools and have no problems wearing “normal” clothing away from class.
what is wrong with teaching kids to dress with respect. I currently have an elementary, middle and high school kids. 95% of the girls in each school are wearing shirts and shorts too short and “cami” shirts with their cleavage hanging
out. This is not only a distraction to the boys in the class but what about the male
teachers that are trying to teach. I have spoke to many of them and they are affraid to say anything b/c they can be brought up on harrassment charges. The boys enjoy wearing the inmate style pants down to their crotch. About 5-7 years ago when Mr. Thomas was board president, I helped him get proof of how weapons can be hidden in clothes. I found a man in Georgia who did presentations for a living and showed a video to Harford Countys Board. In that
video, the mans son wore baggy pants and a large tee shirt. He was able to conseal 26 weapons, including a mashette.
How could any of you blame the school board? If you want to complain, blame the parents who buy this junk and let their kids out looking like that. The same parents who pay $100.00 for a pair of Jeans or sneakers will be the ones to complain about the price of uniforms too. Face it,in the past 10 years, teens being more sexually active , pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease, date rape
have all increase dramaticly. Now look at the way these girls dress! What is wrong with teaching decency and some respect for your body. If parents would have the nerve to say “NO” to their kids and abide by a dress code, we wouldn’t be having this discussion now. I think our society needs to be parents and stop being our kids friends by buying them.
As far as discipline, they get sent home….period! Miss too many days….get left back…….period. I don’t see to many private school kids missing days b/c they dont like their outfits. Rules are rules and you follow them. Laws are laws and you follow them. enless you are the parents who tell kids that it is ok not to follow laws that you dont like.
As of this morning, the very unscientific Dagger reader’s poll sits at 33-15 in favor of school uniforms.
Janet Jensen says
Mr. Domenico, our beloved Band Director, told us that he was now on the School Uniform Committee. This means we will all be wearing Band Uniforms next year.
The “controversy” is taking too much time/resources/attention from important issues. Has anyone counted the dollars in labor expended on this?
Let’s try it if the school thinks it will help. If it causes them more heartburn than without it, the school can change the dress code back. Polos and khaki’s sound great! I just ask that whatever style clothing is required, PLEASE make it something with cotton or Cotton blends. We have alot of skin allergies.
See you all at the next Band Concert!! 🙂
As a parent who has had children in both private and public school, and who has taught in both environments, I support uniforms. The cost is less, the deciding of “what to wear” in the morning has been taken away, the fashion show of who buys the popular names bands is unseen and all the students are seen as being equal. This helps eliminate bullying and self conscienous situations especially with middle and high school students. When private schools have an “out of uniform day” the students carry themselves differently and do not show the confidence and respect that they have when in uniform. Think about when you dress up for an important business meeting or a special occasion. Don’t you feel better about yourself? I agree with “f” above, rules are rules, send the student home. Parents must discipline their children.
I think I can come at this topic from a different point of view from most people. I have had, at the same time, a child in a Harford Co. public high school and another in a local private school that requires uniforms.
I am 100% in favor of uniforms.
I have seen the clothing that many kids wear and often find myself wondering both if these kids have the same mirrors that I have and how in the world do their parents think the kid looks okay. And this is with the so called dress code in place.
The private school our child attended not only required uniforms, but the only place to get them was the most expensive place in the greater Balto. area. Even with that I spent MUCH less on her total wardrobe than our public school child. We found that 3 skirts and 5 shirts worked out just fine. Being able to have khaki’s instead of a skirt would be even easier…and cheaper still! No matter what the uniform cost, it’ll beat the “in” stores at the mall every time.
We had one surprise, by the time our older child graduated last year she totally switched her views on uniforms and is now totally in favor of them as well. Never having to think about what you’re going to wear in the morning became very inticing. With the kids getting up so early, one less thing to do is always welcome!
Let’s take away the fact that our teachers just don’t get paid enough to have to view and deal with all the “muffin tops” and boxers hanging out because the jeans are hanging so low that the kid has to walk funny. School is about learning, not displaying personal differences. If uniforms take away the distraction of who is wearing what or isn’t wearing the “in” thing and frees up that time for actual learning then only positive can come from the change.
So many stores are carrying uniforms now, including both Target and Walmart. The subject of not being able to afford the uniform is a common one. Clothes are purchased no matter what, it’s just changing the purchase. Uniforms, namely the pants, can be worn a couple of times during the week resulting in actually being able to have a smaller wardrobe. If inner city public schools can make this work then I think Harford Co. can do so as well.
Karen Dunbar says
If our kid’s “souls” and personalities are tied to clothing than I think we have a bigger issue at hand. Can you remember what you wore to school each day? Did that red shirt make you go out and smoke cigarettes or drink in exess? Hopefully your answer is “No”. If it’s yes then that’s another “blogg” topic.
I want my children to develop and thrive from personal experiences and relationships they have had throughout their lives not from anything material …clothing included. How about if parents do a novel thing and start parenting again? Kids are just that kids….When they are able to pay their own bills then they have a say but until then it’s our job to do what we think is in their best interest even if we’re not popular.
Speaking from 14 years of school experience w/my children, I can clothe both of them for less than $300 a year. You can/t meet or beat that when buying street clothes. Many years they’ve fit in the same outfits so I’ve not had to buy every year so that’s even more savings. This year my daughter had to wear saddle shoes for the first time…She grumbled at first for a day or so then got over it. The next day she was focused something else. Funny thing….she’s popular with her school friends and neighborhood friends, plays sports, does well in school, interacts with adults, can carry on an intellectual converstation and yes even smiles regularly. I guess clothes aren’t that important after all!
It uniforms are good enough for the postal workers, police officers, fast food employees, and most of all our military they are good enough for our school kids.
I usually have a solid opinion, but not on this school uniform issue. I am apathetic. It will not affect me one way or the other. If it passes, my children will wear them. If it doesn’t they will continue to wear appropriate clothing to school. When I feel like one of my children are delaying doing something they need to do, they often say, “Mom, don’t I always do what I need to do”. I respond with, “Why would you not”. “It seems to be working for you. You’ve got a great life”. I feel that the uniform issue is for those students whose life isn’t quite working for them. The ones who are dressing inappropriately to school because they need attention. The ones wearing colors or gang type dress to fill their need to be a part of something like a family. The school system is responding the way they often do. It is difficult to address this larger issue, to single out those whose lives are not working for them. So, a blanket one size fits all policy is adopted. I am not apathetic to those students who need the help. I’m not sure wearing a uniform is the answer. Has the Board looked at other similar school systems? Have uniforms made a real difference? Enforcement is a whole other issue. Why are we seeing students in schools dressed inappropriately now? We have a dress code policy. The school system can not parent by policy nor should they. I still feel that the best policy is caring teachers in manageable sized classrooms. Manageable may be a different teacher/student ratio from school to school. Sometimes doing what is right is not politically correct. The bottom line should be what do the students need. My children do not need a uniform policy to guide them to dress appropriately but they may have one anyway. I’d rather my tax dollars go to smaller class size in areas needed.
Jodie I agree with your premise. I wish I could really see the value of uniforms, none of the arguments sway me one way or the other. It appears the biggest advantage is uniformity? Of course, some of the girls will probably go a button or two lower on their blouses and hike their skirts up a bit shorter and the boys will probably have their pants slide down below their waists. The gangs will still have ways to identify themselves and will the dress codes be followed on the buses. Teenagers can be very creative. I believe what some are saying, here, we seem to be spending a lot of effort on this and much less on the more important educational issues. This uniform issue seems to be a hot button for some, though.
I am not in favor a uniforms for a number of reasons. Children need to be taught to dress appropriately. By forcing them into uniforms they are losing an important opportunity to learn this. Another problem I have is that I have a daughter with a growth disorder. It is almost impossible to find clothing that fits her. This will take away so many options. Uniforms will be such a distraction. I believe that kids will learn best when they are comfortable, so they are not being distracted by uncomfortable clothing. If you are able to find a uniform that fits well and is comfortable I don’t see that it will be a problem, but I’m not confident this will be the case for all children. HCPS has an inclusion policy for our special needs children. Will it be difficult for these children to find affordable uniforms that accomodate their needs? G-tubes, for one, require special openings.
If we are required to get uniforms from a specific vendor, I will have a real problem with it. We cannot have our public schools forcing parents to support a particular business. That would surely be a conflict of interest. It also will pose a problem if those uniforms have a cut that does not fit a child well. I can’t go into every store and buy a pair of pants that fit me, some are just sized differently. We have to consider this for our children. Who wants to sit all day in clothes that don’t fit well? If we require uniforms but let parents choose where to get those uniforms, you negate the issue of putting everyone on equal ground. Some will get their uniforms at Walmart and some will get them at American Eagle. How is this different than buying your jeans and hoodies at different stores?
I can’t imagine a single child that would be uncomfortable in simple khaki’s and a polo style shirt. If a child is in need of having their “regular” clothes modified for health reasons, then I think it would be safe to assume they could just as easily modify the uniform as well. We’re not talking about them wearing something odd. Many wear polo shirts on a regular basis…and what could be more comfortable than cotton khaki’s?!
According to the information/link Cindy has above, Walmart has presented the initial uniform info with a full outfit costing between $15 and $20. I can’t imagine a single school ever using American Eagle as a source for uniforms, let alone an entire county. While Walmart did do the presentation, there are many stores that sell the same type of clothing at very, very reasonable prices and the information says that as well.
When you say Baltimore CIty is making it work, where are you referring to – academies? I think in other school districts that is how they have dealt with the uniforms by having certain academies wear them. I don’t know who pays for the kids who can’t. That is a question I still haven’t heard anyone respond to it but I know it is a problem.
Not sure if teachers and administrators are excited to take on the next thing to “police” at school. Certainly an appropriatedress code is a necessity, but school uniforms are not going to solve the all our social problems. I’ve seen plenty of high school girls manage to make even a Catholic school uniform look provocative.
Another issue concerning me is the stocking up of clothes that have a singular use – no child will ever wear a school uniform for anything else.
And, having experienced outfitting three children in uniforms at one time, I remember a lot of late night laundry loads during particularly busy weeks. Ever seen what a school uniform looks like when it’s been crammed into a backpack by an athlete attending an after-school practice? Not too much fun.
CLB you are missing a few points. I would challenge you to take my daughter shopping to find a pair of khaki pants that fit her. Trust me, I have tried and it is horrible. Stores do not make clothing for children who are not the same size and shape as everyone else. Special needs children do not necessarily have their clothes modified, they are special made this way. Do you know of a company that sells uniforms like this? I sure don’t. In a public school system you have to consider the needs of every single child.
There is a debate going on about the uniforms. There is an “option” that would require the uniform be purchsed from a specific vendor. There are also options that would be more general so that you could get the uniform anywhere. I’m not sure you understood this about the debate.
I can see both sides of this issue. As a Mom I can understand how this can keep children safe and have them put less focus on what they are wearing and more on what they should be learning. As a teenager I loved to get dressed for school; it was the late 70’s disco and all. The freedom of expression you have in how you dress should not be just glossed over. This is a huge statement in a teenager’s life. It helps them find who they are or who they are not. I would have hated to wear a uniform in highschool. 30 years later I would hate to have my children wear a uniform BUT I do understand the reasons behind it. I think if the current dress code was inforced we would not be at this fork in the road.
vietnam vet says
Val the current dress code is not inforced. I wonder how they intend to inforce a uniform code.going to be interesting to see… how they handle this one. I suspect the teachers are in for a bigger work load.
It would be easier to enforce a stricter policy that has a lot less loopholes. If you aren’t wearing a polo shirt and pants, you’re out of compliance. No debate about whether the skirt is really too short, if there is or isn’t underwear showing, if the shirt does or doesn’t have “sleeves”, if there is or isn’t too much cleavage showing…all things that students and parents will argue about with the current dress code. That is the nonsense that teachers and administrators have to deal with now.
As a mom of two children (one boy, one girl) who attended public school through middle school and then went to private high schools, I would like to let you all know that UNIFORMS ARE GREAT. How about no uniforms for elementary school and then start them in middle school when hormones rage? Both of my children seem to like uniforms, which surprises me. I bought five shirts and five khaki pants (on sale at Jos. Banks for $15) for my son because he plays sports and his school clothes get stuffed into the gym bag at the end of the day; I spent approximately $200(plus shoes and belt). I don’t know how many years he will get before he grows out of them. I will also have to spend a bit more for a winter jacket and a sweater or two. My daughter has not grown much in her three years in high school. The three skirts, two winter kilts, five shirts, and three sweaters/sweatshirts were about $300, but that is all I have spent in three years (plus shoes).
My children both wear their shirts once; I think this helps to keep them nicer looking because they don’t get as grimy. I would assume that HCPS would not have white shirts (both of my children do), so that would help with keeping them cleaner looking.
The schools also have uniform sales where parents can buy the too-small uniforms of other kids. I could see neighborhood swaps popping up.
As far as freedom of expression goes, both of my children’s schools have out of uniform days that still follow some rules. They usually pay a dollar or two to raise money for a cause, which everyone is happy to contribute.
Students do push the limit on the uniform rules. Skirts are short and they all want to wear different socks. And the rules are not uniformly enforced.
So if you have made it this far in the VERY LONG note, as a parent, uniforms are great. They save time and we save money, and because he has a uniform, there is never any problem with my son wearing it outside to play!
archetypical hero says
To the BOE…don’t ask us our opinion, make us feel a part of the process, and give us the feeling that you will listen to our voices– when ultimately you will discount the input if it conflicts with your own agenda.
When have you proved us otherwise?
You have failed to address the results from the CSSRP survey. What makes us think you will listen to our input regarding uniforms?
The surveying is waste of time and money and only gives false hope that our voices count.
Stop wasting time and pretending you care about public opinion. Implement the uniforms already.
Funny you should ask about CSSRP ‘hero’. There was an update at the last Board meeting which you can find on hcps.org.
It seems like the idea was to do a document dump on the Board and hope they would be too overwhelmed to ask questions. Normally, the Board gets a Friday packet containing all the information they will need for the meeting the following Monday. But at least one board member noted they had not gotten the CSSRP report ahead of time. Hopefully, that means once they’ve had the chance to review the report, it will come back on a future agenda and a real discussion can take place.
In response to who will pay for the uniform.. Who pays for the gym uniform now for middle and high school in HCPS? I know I did. Who pays for the students clothes now? Parents.
In my daughters private school there are students on reduced or free lunch and their parents pay for their school clothes. In addition, we have a “Trading Post”. You can donate used clothing and receive a coupon to get another piece of clothing to fit your child. This is for all clothing including gym outfits. Parents also swap clothes with friends whose children have outgrown them. I have purchased the shirts in a size larger which has gotten my children through 3 years so far. I have moved buttons on skirts to adjust to size. I have not purchased uniform clothing in 3 years and the $300 is about right for my purchase for one child. Laundry, is not a problem. No different care than my children’s other clothing.
If you have something like a school logo polo, a suggestion would be that the school can purchase a large amount at a discount and sell them near cost to parents though the school store or at Open House in the summer like now when parents purchase their child’s gym outfit.
Pants, khaki are sold everywhere from Thrift stores to Nordstorms. I am sure people can find them where they currently shop. No matter what school a student attends, they can use a pair of khaki’s to wear to any function; school events, dances, athletes wear them when they dress up to go to away games, family functions, etc.
In my opinion, we should be thinking about the most productive learning environment for the students and teaching environment for the teachers so we do not leave any child behind.
WOW! It is hard to believe that so much time is spent arguing a point to no finality. When will the board make a decision? Will they read all these opinions and take them into consideration? If a decision is made, will it be enforced? Is it worth all this effort?
My take– one way or the other is fine, my three children will obey whatever dress code there is and accept it. There will always be the “nay-sayers”, people who argue for the sake of argument alone, people who will allow their children to make their own decisions-good or bad, regardless of age.
Make a decision already, implement and enforce one way or the other! But if every parent was parenting to have their children be an attribute to society, and to conform for the benefit of the whole (we are not talking about extremes here), this would never have been an issue in the first place.
vietnam vet says
LMS you’ spoke the fact’s.MY children will do as there told. latch key kid’s were a big issue, a few years ago. gone and forgotten. television ad’s asked. do you know where your children are?
No child shall be left behind. unless they choose to disrupt the class. what is a teacher too do. become judge & jury. there is continuous pressure on the teachers to do more.
Sex education was a sure cure for teen age pregnancy’s. sure was only in creased the problem. kid’s haveing kid’s. the uniforms will be just another problem for the all ready over burdened teachers.
You seem to be speaking for the teachers and educators…a majority of whom have already expressed support for a uniform policy….
I think that the teachers in favor of having uniforms believe that not changing to a stricter policy is the actual burden. Having uniforms might actually make life in the classroom easier.
Well how about this…we dig up big Jim Fraley…gym teacher…coach…and auto driving instructor at Sewanhaka HS in Floral Park N.Y. Big JIM never had a problem enforcing dress codes…..running down smokers (even though he mus-ta been 350 plus pounds)…..and administering over detentions along with being a coach that got many a football player into college on scholarships.
Where are the guys and gals that will go the extra mile…is there anyone who can sail strait that can be the dress code CZAR in a school…is the concept so bizarre….a little pamphlet…and a set of eyes.
Go Dagger ! !
Two points of view on this one and both are in favor of uniforms. As a parent my wife and I like the idea because mornings can be crazy with four kids getting ready for school. I never seem to pick out the right clothes for my younger girls and this would make my life easier. Don’t get me wrong…they end up wearing what I choose, but even though I win the battles I would prefer not to battle at all. As a former building administrator in HCPS, I had the opportunity to witness students who often won the battle with their parents…that is if their parents saw what they were wearing at all. It can be a major distraction in a high school if not handled correctly by the administration and faculty. Regardless, I was supportive of a dress code when I was an administrator because me and my colleagues would often spend too much time as the fashion police instead of concentrating on academics. Some teachers would complain that the rules were not being followed by the administration while others had the students who were dressed inappropriately for 82 minutes and never say a word. I always found it frustrating when the same teacher that would complain was the same one ignoring it in his/her own room. I guess the teacher had to decide what was most important…spending time on fashion or teaching. Regardless, the issue monopolizes a large amount of time if the rules are enforced and is a useless rule if it is not. Uniforms may not solve all of society’s problems, but it could help school personnel focus more on academic achievement instead of spaghetti straps and baggy pants. Of course, a polo and khakis can always be modified so that a boy’s boxers can be shown for all to see as well as girls choosing sizes way too small. I guess students should also have size restrictions as well as color and style requirements.
Chris….we used a fold test…..if you couldnt get a few inches of folded material…its too tight.
Go Dagger ! !
I appreciate your answer about where to buy uniforms but you keep using the phrase “parents.” I guess you don’t realize it but there are parents in this county that don’t have a whole lot to do with their kids and they don’t come to school for much of anything. We are all using our own lives as points of reference but the people who may really have problems are not going to be commenting on here, and those are the kids I really am concerned about. There may be trading posts in some of the private schools but you are assuming the parent(s) play an active role in their kids’ lives.
I do think always having to buy a “uniform” for different things can be financially cumbersome for people and it is embarassing to say which is why uniforms should be the same across the board. If kids have to wear something at one school then the same at another because if they get redistricted, a family doesn’t have to bear the cost of a different uniform. I personally think the gym uniforms should be the same everywhere for the same reason. Does the school system currently pick up the tab for kids who can’t afford gym uniforms? Maybe someone else would know the answer.
Also what outcome are we trying to achieve by having uniforms? How is that going to be measured because there is going to be a backlash and is it really worth it? Are there certain schools that have such disciplinary problems and problems with inappropriate attire that they should be piloted first? I worry about the one size fits all approach because I think as evidenced by CSSRP, that isn’t always the way to go and once it is implemented, the school system has a very difficult time admiting they did something wrong.
stay at home mom says
I have to say after reading through all of this that I don’t see where uniforms solve anything. Kids need a chance to safely learn who they are and where they fit in, and in school, whether it’s through their choice of activities, in class or after school activities, or clothing, that’s a way for them to understand the differences that are there and choose what they like and don’t like. My daughter especially is learning this year about how her choices are appropriate or not as they relate to the dress code and to life in general. I have had many conversations with her as we have shopped and as she has dressed in the morning about what is appropriate and why. If she only had to choose a uniform every morning a lot of these ‘teachable moments’ would have been lost. I personally think that uniforms are just a way to put a ‘one size fits all’ solution on a problem that is not something that fits everyone (but I think that’s already been said)
Next the school board will be telling them how to cut their hair, how to walk, how to talk. Hey, maybe we can get a deal from some manufacturer so they can all have the same bookbags, jewelry and makeup too. I also think we should confiscate all the IPODs and distribute standard ones with specific music chosen by the school board and the teachers. We need to get control of this dangerous issue immediately or all is lost. If these children develop personalities and become individuals we may never regain control.
Sorry..couldn’t help myself there. The sarcasm just snuck out on me.
Seriously, I can’t believe this is even being discussed!!!! This is a parenting problem not a school problem.
Does anyone know the scheduled dates when the board and committee will be bringing the uniform policy out to the schools?
Here they are Carl, all meetings are from 7 – 9PM in the school cafeteria:
Oct 7 Patterson Mill
Oct 8 Haford Tech
Oct 14 Bel Air HS
Oct 15 C. Milton Wright
Oct 28 Havre de Grace HS
I am against school uniforms. If I wanted my children to wear them, they would attend Catholic schools. I won’t be saving any money either because I would have to buy a shirt and pants, etc for everyday. My children wear something once to school and it’s dirty and/or smells when they come home. I love to shop but I get everything on sale. My children have clothes from American Eagle, Hollister, Children’s Place, Penneys that I have gotten great prices on. I will be attending the meeting at BAHS.
For those who think that the school system hasn’t already decided what they are doing, look at their Strategic Plan…
1.3 Explore use of uniforms to promote social equality and focus on learning.
Measurable Results in Five Years:
???? A program for students to wear uniforms in all HCPS schools will be planned and implemented.
They always act indignant when they are accused of a predetermined outcome but I think this proves it. How do uniforms promote social equality? Now we are dealing with social issues and maybe that is why we seem to have so many problems with curriculum and teaching. What results are they MEASURING and how are they being measured??
I am not sure how I feel about this policy, although I am surely leaning towards uniforms at the moment of this typing. I definitely see both sides of this issue. I think it does make it easier to enforce the dress code. I do not want teachers to reduce the time they take working with kids (already lost time due to the block schedule) to have to enforce the new dress code and become the fashion police. That is the one thing that could be challenging, what are the consequences for not wearing your uniform? I would imagine it would be treated just as dress code violations are today.
Students are already involved in designing them, which I think is important. It really gives them the opportunity to have input into this issue. I also think that if they have options such as pants, shorts, different color tops, etc it would provide some options.
As Kate mentioned above me, the school uniforms are coming regardless of what the students think and the parents think. Why? Because the Board makes the decision with input from the Superintendent and Mr. Volrath. So, if those two want something, they get it. Remember, rubber stamp when we think of the Board of Education. Which is disapointing as they need to be free-thinkers and need to truly represent the group they should represent (parents, students, and of course tax payers) instead of basically doing what the HCPS head honchos want. This is the reason we need an Elected School Board.
I just want to make a brief comment… i am torn on this situation cause I know how it was when i was in school i was not the best dressed did not have the best clothes and was looked down upon for that but at the same time i feel like children should be able to be them self and express who they are so find a happy medium like students can where there choice of shirt with guideline… must have sleeves, not to rise above your pant button ot below the bottom of your zipper, be school friendly and not reveling and like black or tan pants with black shoes so then it is some what of structure but still indivuality and the school system just needs to stay on top of enforcement!!!
I have changed my stance…School Uniforms..yes
After seeing the comments from Angilique in another thread in defending a thug and blaming everyone else for his killing himself except him…I would not trust parents or kids to be able to handle such a complicated and sensitive thing as a dress code.
Supervision as we seem to have a slice of our community that needs intensive supervision..parents through toddlers.
Uniforms are the way to go.
Go Dagger !
vietnam vet says
Prison uniform’s are becomeing, fashionable. the point is. it’s a done deal cell block’s are next.
may be of interest says
just received electronically…
Due to economic constraints, all School Uniform Parent Community Meetings are cancelled and will be rescheduled. At this time, the Board of Education of Harford County is deferring the school uniform exploration process, as well as other new initiatives, in order to focus on current budgetary issues. The Board is analyzing all current initiatives in the operating budget and realize the need to focus their energies at this time. No decisions have been made regarding school uniforms and the process will continue at a later date. As soon as that timeline is available, it will be communicated promptly. Thank you.
Teri Kranefeld, manager of communications
Harford County Public Schools
Thanks for the heads up, “may be of interest”. I just got an automated phone call that went out to all parents from HCPS with the same info . This means the meeting at Patterson Mill last week was the only one until further notice.
I heard that meeting was pretty spirited…
My bad. There was also a uniform meeting at Harford Tech on Oct. 8th – wonder how that went?
I have to wonder, what does no new initiatives mean??? Does it mean we currently stick with what we have, which isn’t working?? The 4 period Block Scheduling means teachers teach more kids and classes for the same pay, that we be here forever now. That really is disapointing!!
90 minute classes forever and that means LICW will be here forever as it takes effort and $ to change it. The excuse will be just like the above one. I hate to say it that I just severely doubt the BOE and HCPS School System. I don’t think will change for what is best for kids, rather will save their hides and do what is best for them.
Yes, makes you wonder and keeps you guessing until it all is forgotten, but what else is new?
vietnam vet says
There suddenly concerned about the 5% percent cut that is comeing. you can bet there won’t be any pay cut’s. or holiday’s cut short.
I heard from several parents at the uniform meeting that there were many unhappy participants. Many people repeatedly asked the question about what the rationale was for implementing the uniforms. The people there (one of which was Pat Skeback , Director of Elementary Education and a Board Member Lee Merrill), who were unable to answer the question. They said they were just trying to get information but people weren’t buying it – even the ones that were in favor of uniforms. Apparently they haven’t looked at their own strategic goals because it is printed right there.
Also people were extremely upset about the format and the way the questions were being asked and answered. I wonder if that is the reason why these meetings are being postponed. I hope so because the people said this reminded them of how CSSRP got implemented with a lot of detractors and it got shoved through anyway.
Where is the school system on the CSSRP survey??? Dr. Haas said in The Examiner a few months ago that they were going to look into and it isn’t on the shelf. Too busy for that too huh? They paid money, got answers they didn’t like and completely ignored them. Sounds like a pattern…
vietnam vet says
It’s amazeing how the people who implement the plan, suddenly get amnesia when there confronted’ by a group of irate parent’s. for and and against the uniform issue’s.
Reminds me of a so-called “Town Hall” meeting on redistricting a few years back. Some questions were slipped in that amounted to push polling in favor of magnet schools. People said we needed another Harford Tech instead. Enough kids apply there to fill at least one, if not two more schools of it’s kind. But we ended up with magnet schools anyway.
I absolutely love Kate’s Comment: “Where is the school system on the CSSRP survey??? Dr. Haas said in The Examiner a few months ago that they were going to look into and it isn’t on the shelf. Too busy for that too huh? They paid money, got answers they didn’t like and completely ignored them. Sounds like a pattern…”
That is the problem they go ahead and get further away from the problem (timewise) and hope people forget about it. Think back to how bad LICW was nailed by everyone. How they recommend looking into 60 minute classes. I wish it could be published and sent out to school aged parents to know what is wrong and that no action is being taken. With new action as to the 5%, forget everthing!