School UniformsMy school had quite a time last year with students violating the dress code, the commonest offense being young women wearing tops that were too low cut.  Many of these girls were...

School Uniforms

My school had quite a time last year with students violating the dress code, the commonest offense being young women wearing tops that were too low cut.  Many of these girls were apparently making an honest attempt to dress nicely, and they didn't seem to grasp what was objectionable about their attire. When the principal threatened to solve the problem by instituting school uniforms, the worst offender in the decolletage department was overheard saying to her friends "I don't think it's fair that just because a few people don't know how to dress we might all have to wear uniforms!" This same girl, of course, would get huffy if she thought any of the boys was staring at her cleavage, and threaten to report them to the office for sexual harassment.

How does your school handle this sort of thing? Is there a solution for Miss Decolletage?

Expert Answers
pacorz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would like to try teaching in a school with uniforms.  Besides being less distracting, and besides highlighting those who have money and those who don't, as a male teacher, I will never comment on a young woman's attire, even if it is inappropriate, as any male teacher is just one accusation away from having their career ended.  Most male teachers I know feel this way, and the administration doesn't fight us on it, as they know we're right.

I am a female teacher, and I still am not always comfortable talking to girls about what they are wearing. I'll add to my original post that one semester I had Miss Decolletage herself for first block class, and found myself in a really untenable situation. She would get defensive and argumentative when asked to cover up, and she had a hard time letting go of it. She would thus waste a chunk of instructional time and set a negative tone for the entire class, and the next day she'd be right back dressed the same way anyway. After a couple of futile requests to the office and guidance to do something about her, I decided to just ignore it and get on with teaching. This girl is very intelligent, and in my professional judgement it was better to not give her the attention she is clearly seeking, and also to not let her education be derailed by her mode of adolescent rebellion. Hopefully some day she'll figure it out for herself, but in these days of political correctness and hypersensitivity there are battles you just can't win.

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I, too, am a bus duty warrior like the previous poster, and I too seem to find myself repeating over and over how to follow the school guidelines. The problem at our school is, you guessed it: The parents! They sign for a student guide that they do not even read! They are lazy and allow the kids to choose their own clothes to go to school- which is another excuse not to do it themselves. Well, what does a 7 year old know about dressing to the weather? It aggravates me so much because they get upset if we demonstrate their lack of common sense back to them. The truth hurts, I guess. I just find it unforgivable to drive a child all the way to an 8 hour school day knowing that the shoes they are wearing expose their toes and could get them hurt, or that the shirts with spaghetti straps might make them feel cold in an air-conditioned school. Hello?!

missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

My children attend a school with uniforms. The discussion of clothing and offense has been eliminated. It simply isn't an issue. If a large public school went to a uniform, the first year would face some trials, but after that, it would become a non-issue. I think we have spent so long teaching the right to the freedom of expression that it has gone to an extreme in this culture. Many schools have uniforms that are attractive. I have even seen schools who have a uniform that is merely a specific pair of jeans and a polo. This fits both boys and girls. Other schools require jeans and logo wear of the school. These are not difficult school policies to create and a large scale discussion of eliminating the possibility for this girl to even talk about the issue would be a worthwhile pursuit.

bigdreams1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Every year on the first day of school, the principal goes over the school dress code policy (tops must cover the belly...tops must have 2 inch or wider boys t shirts can be cut down the whole side...and  the fingertip rule for shorts and short skirts)..BUT

of course...every year many, many students ignore the warnings....mostly because the teachers and administration are too afraid to enforce the rules because parents will call and complain.

I think school uniforms would be excellent. Since we have a bit of a class war in our district (very rich students and very poor students, with not many in-between), I think uniforms would help erase the name-brand clothes things...and promote discipline.

lsumner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I really wish my school would resort to school uniforms. I have morning duty in the parking lot. I probably say "tuck your shirt in" hundreds of time, literally. Then when I see these same kids at break, their shirt tails are untucked. I feel I am fighting a losing battle. It is not working to merely say "tuck you shirt tail." At the moment you say it, they respectfully tuck. Then when they are out of sight, the students untuck their shirt, only to be reminded by another teacher down another hall to "tuck your shirt." When our county tried to turn to school uniforms, the parents rallied, picketed and called in the media to keep from having ot go to a school uniform. Again, it is a fighting a losing battle.

booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In so many ways I think uniforms for school kids would ease so many social problems. If everyone wears navy shirts and khaki pants, no one has much to say about who has a great wardrobe and who does not. Kids will find anything to criticize their peers about, or find reasons to be jealous of their peers: clothes are a biggy. A good friend in another district says the dress code there has addressed a great many difficulties, and they don't have to worry about inappropriate dress much either. And I find it a wise move that the kids and teachers dress the same: then there is no double-standard to make the kids resentful. I think it has merit.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

My school's in a small rural district where the administration has no problems with simply sending someone home to get dressed more appropriately or with giving them a PE uniform shirt to wear over their skimpy clothing.  When I was the volleyball coach, I once had the superintendant (like I said, small district) tell me to have my girls stop "dressing like whores" at practice.  So here, at least, there's not a lot of angst that goes into dealing with this particular issue...

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would like to try teaching in a school with uniforms.  Besides being less distracting, and besides highlighting those who have money and those who don't, as a male teacher, I will never comment on a young woman's attire, even if it is inappropriate, as any male teacher is just one accusation away from having their career ended.  Most male teachers I know feel this way, and the administration doesn't fight us on it, as they know we're right.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Given this last week was our first back to school, we had many dress code infractions. We are cracking down hard now so that we do not have issues throughout the year.

I do not necessarily agree, or disagree, with the use of uniforms. But the threat of uniforms may get students to adhere to the dress code we have in place. Soon enough, they are going to get tired of changing into their PE uniforms and not wear inappropriate clothing.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
My school has uniforms, and I know some of the kids think it's dorky. We have talked about the issue though, in preparing for debates and so on. They admit that they like not having to decide what to wear, and not looking at everyone's clothes makes them less distracted.
tosi1ae | Student

I teach in a very rural, low socio-economic, school and I know that a few of my students like wearing uniforms because they don't have to worry about not being able to afford the "cool" clothes. Also a few years ago my school tried not having uniforms and the behavior problems when way up. Also every time we allow the kids to come in non-uniforms the referrals increase. The kids can still show their personal style by their shoes, belts, and the style of pants they wear.

riot174 | Student

um and #17 whats with the esssss? if you don't have something to say don't post stupid non-sense.

riot174 | Student

i think school uniforms are a good idea but have a variety of styles the students can choose from. I think school uniforms are a good idea because then girls (like myself haha) won't always worry about not wearing all the top expensive clothes and the girls that do wear the top brands can't down you for it. It happens alot at my school and alot of my friends have gotten extremely upset about it and it is ridiculous.

samster97 | Student

I wear uniform to school and sometimes it is quite annoying,especially when the times are hot. Sometimes the Student Council stops us and tells us to fix this and that.And we have to wear a tie because it is apart of our uniform and it's kind of chocky. I find that some positive things about uniforms are that there would be no discrimination against poor children and rich or fashionable and unfashionable. I find it both good and bad.

just-s | Student

our school is very disciplined with uniforms, if you violate any rule you will be sent home to change and be brought back to school. i think you need to be strict from the begining of the next year and show the students that you are seriuos about carring out punnishment and be stern at first and then you will see the difference for your self they will take some time but gradually get it that there will be no way out but following the rules. oh yeah and do regular spot checks after assembly with out prier notice or any thing. i think in our school the teachers are on the look out at all times for those who violate any rules and is therefore reprimanded same stern and straight -foward from the begining and hopefuly it would help!!!!!

blackveilbrides08 | Student

I may not be a teacher but I think you should at least have a students opinion.  I think schools like that need to have uniforms, I even think all Americans schools should have uniforms.  It's ridiculous how many kids get dress coded, if you have a uniform, you don't have an excuse for not wearing appropriate clothes.  I all schools for Americans should require this but then not every one has the money to buy their kids uniforms, so that part will be hard for parents who don't have the money.  Everyone kid goes on about that they shouldn't have uniforms because they can't express themselves with uniforms, but that is so wrong, but you have to be in school regulations.

If your school you teach can afford for your kids to buy uniforms, I think you should do that, or your just going to get more kids in the office.

In my school, when you have been dress coded three or four times, the vice principal calls the MP's.

I don't know if this help to have a students point of view, but what the heck.  It was worth a try.

evelynguy3 | Student

I have worked in different school districts, and in different type communities. I objected to uniforms at first because students hated the idea so much. I realize an adolescent's dress is their way of asserting their growing independence, and I endorse that. However, after working at a couple of schools with unforms, and after dealing with some districts that did not, and having to use valuable instructional time with dress code violations, I fully endorse uniforms. Let students declare their independence/rebellion outside school,or, within limits, or casual days.

guapo | Student

I worked in a school w/ no uniforms. It was a K-8 school, and by the time the kids hit 7th grade, the peer pressure ws so much more intense, and the girls were the worst. They would ridicule others who didn't wear the latest fashions/brands of clothing. Many of these girls hated coming to school, it was a non physically violent bullying that crushed so many kids.

I then went to a middle school where there was a policy. Many kids hated it because they hated being told what to do (not unusual). Yet the fights, tormenting, and bullying over fashion was eliminated. Now my new school is in a heavy gang area, so the uniform was an easy fix to eliminate the outward appearance of the gang life, yet the kids found other ways to express alliances.

Overall, I'm for school uniforms, it helps keep the kids easy to identify, lessons the pressure for kids to dress in the most current fashion, keeps them more appropriate for their age, and like others have said, keeps to stop the problem of having to figure out what to wear.

beanz777 | Student