When I was a kid, I went to a Catholic school for 12 years. In elementary school, I wore blue pants, a white shirt and a blue tie. There were no exceptions.
Things changed in high school. I still had to wear a shirt and tie (of any color), but now I had to wear either a suit jacket or a school sweater (this was in New Jersey).
In all 12 years, I wore dress shoes to school ... no sneakers. Of course, in those days sneakers were not a status symbol.
In school, you couldn’t tell the poor kids from the rich kids or the in-betweens (I guess I was one of those). Everyone dressed the same. I can’t remember ever being mocked because of my clothes, or looked down upon, or looking down on someone else. We were equal, and we were there to learn. It was one less thing to worry about.
In fact, uniforms were sort of an identifier. It showed that the students were united.
The only detrimental thing that I can see, looking back, is that to this day I absolutely despise wearing a tie. We do have uniforms of sorts here at the Pioneer, different color shirts with our newspaper name embroidered. I enjoy wearing them, and have one on as I type this.
But no tie.
I don’t know what the outcome of the school uniform meeting at Joyce Bullock Elementary was this week, but I’d like to see the implementation of a uniform policy throughout the county.
Obviously it would be a little more liberal than up north. Shorts would have to be allowed, and certainly no ties would be required. It is much warmer here year-round than up north, even with the cold weather of this week.
But as the kids got older, it could be extended to older grades. It’s great preparation for the young people, who someday are going to have to go out in the real world and make a good impression as they seek to get a job. Neat clothes (and haircuts) are part of that impression.
It’s funny, but when you talk about the success that other countries’ students have, and you see pictures of them in school, you almost always note that they are in uniform (they go to school six days a week, too).
So let’s not ignore this uniform thing. It could be beneficial to our students as they make their way through the school system.
Please, though, don’t make the boys wear a tie.
Jim Clark is the editor of the Williston Pioneer Sun News. He can be reached at email@example.com or at 528-3343.