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No uniforms

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Letter to the editor by Charon Benton

By The Staff

Editor,

I am responding to your letter in last week’s “Editor’s Column” regarding school uniforms.

While many people perceive that school uniforms promote pride and unity, there is no substantial evidence to prove that theory. There are hundreds, if not thousands of studies on the Internet on school uniforms (I’ve looked at several hundred myself this past week since the issue of school uniforms was proposed).

I can’t find one single article that absolutely states without fail that school uniforms are the solution to the problems in schools, no matter which grade level you look at. While I agree that school uniforms MIGHT help some of the problems in the schools, it will not solve them, and in the process, possibly create more. Many proponents argue that uniforms will unite students. (You stated in your article that “we were united.”) Were you united because of your beliefs or because you wore the same thing every day? I submit to you that just because students wear the same clothing every day does NOT mean they are united. It takes much more than clothing to unite a student body.

You also said you wore a uniform in school, and I noted that you attended a Catholic school, not a public elementary school. (yours perhaps was public, I don’t know, but either way, uniforms are many times associated with Catholic schools) While many public schools have instituted uniforms, it has not yet become the epitome of a public education. Moreover, uniforms are more likely to be associated with private or parochial schools, neither of which Joyce Bullock Elementary is. I also note that you stated in your article that you “would like to see the implementation of a uniform code throughout the county.” Did you know that this uniform suggestion is not being introduced throughout the county? It’s only being introduced at Joyce Bullock Elementary school. I am completely opposed to a uniform dress code, but will admit that I would understand (not support, but understand) it more, had this been introduced by our School Board and been proposed throughout the county, not just at one elementary school within the county.

Before hopping on the bandwagon of supporting school uniforms or being impartial, one must educate him/herself on the additional issues of school uniforms such as, but not limited to, uniform cost, stunting a child’s individuality, buying two sets of clothes (one for school, one for home, outings, etc.), Florida’s heat and the fact that a collared polo shirt is a bit stifling in any given Florida month, ironing khakis and polos, grass stains and dirt stains, and on and on. Additionally, many persons would bring up the less fortunate and the predicament that uniforms would place them in. In this economy, people are financially strapped and many can barely afford what they wear now, much less costly uniforms and purchasing two sets of clothing.

Proponents of school uniforms will argue that all children are on a level field if they wear uniforms, but I submit to you that children will find other things to pick on each other about, simply because they are children. Just because the children all wear the same thing does not mean their behavior will change. You might change their clothing, but behavior is a different story. If children are on the same level, do we mandate that they all buy their lunch from the lunchroom so that one child doesn’t have more than another? Do we then go so far as to mandate how a boy’s hair should be cut or a girl should wear her hair? All these things could be a distraction as well and they aren’t addressed.

I suggest that parents of children in or entering Joyce Bullock educate themselves on school uniforms and the issues surrounding uniforms before deciding if they are opposed or in favor of school uniforms.

Charon Benton

Morriston