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BornToRun 05-29-2012 05:28 PM

Would Like Some Thoughts On This Article Published About School Uniforms
This article was published on the 24th. My Civics teacher read it to my class today, and I was hoping to get some thoughts about what has been said in the article. It is titled 'Uniforms one step in returning discipline to school"

Here it is:

"The school year is nearly over. But if I could have one wish heading into the 2012-2013 term it would be that public education officials in this region and province-wide revisit the issue of school uniforms in an effort to help bring some discipline into a system which appears to be sadly lacking in that department.

I first became hooked on this notion after visiting Great Britain in the mid-1990s and having occasion to see school children there in uniform. We have family and friends in the United Kingdom and uniforms are a long standing tradition there, one they can't imagine being without.

On a late summer morning, two years ago, we watched with our friends in West Yorkshire as their granddaughter headed off for her first day at their equivalent of junior kindergarten. The vision of little Ruby heading out the door in her crisp, new school uniform has never left me. It's a very powerful image and it says something about their system - something extremely positive in my opinion!

Head west across the Atlantic to our shores and the situation is very different. Education is a provincial responsibility in Canada so circumstances vary from one jurisdiction to the next.

In Ontario uniforms are a staple in most private schools and also in Catholic secondary institutions, including Notre Dame Catholic High School here in Carleton Place, our adopted hometown.

I fully realize that the old adage "a uniform doesn't make the man/woman," is probably true. But it sure helps! Picture military personnel on parade, the changing of the guard on Parliament Hill in Ottawa for example.

True, school uniforms aren't that impressive. Still, I believe they set a certain standard that can't possibly be ignored.

Not surprisingly our community is simply a microcosm of what is happening elsewhere in Lanark County, the region and the province of Ontario.

As a journalist and also as someone who is involved with a volunteer committee that organizes international student exchanges, I have opportunities throughout the year to visit local schools and see things up close. There are some noticeable contrasts at the two secondary schools, something I have also heard from colleagues.

Certainly the dress style at Carleton Place High School (CPHS) the public institution is considerably different.

Let me make myself clear here! I have no axe to grind with CPHS. Both our children graduated from the school and have done very well for themselves.

I also know there will be varying points of view on this subject. That is always the case with opinion pieces.

It is true that my observations are limited. I'm not at schools regularly. But when I am, I find subtle and not so subtle differences between our secondary schools.


Notre Dame on the surface at least seems to have a little calmer environment. Orderly is a word that comes to mind.

I'm sure it's not always so! But in my personal experience I have heard less shouting and fewer swear words from students at the Catholic school. I have also experienced less acting out by teenagers. Things such as throwing objects, general horseplay and dropping trash in the corridors.

In terms of the student exchange we have found that young people at Notre Dame are more engaged, ask more questions and are better informed about our program at least. As a result we have more applicants from that school.

Of course there could be a number of reasons?

But to me the biggest contrast between the schools is style of dress. School uniforms set Notre Dame kids apart, even if there are complaints that some girls wear their skirts too short and certain boys leave their shirt-tails hanging out.

In general there is a standard, a dress code that students are expected to adhere to.

That is not the case in public high schools such as CPHS.

To reiterate, I don't feel our schools are any different from those in other neighbouring communities. The same issues apply according to those I have spoken to.

Certainly the "dress code" in public high schools at least appears to have hit a rather low level. At this time of year young girls are often seen at school in shorts (some of them very short), revealing tops and flip-flops. Boys wear gravity-defying trousers that are so low a portion of their underwear is sometimes visible.

That is far too casual for my liking. The low-slung pants are particularly unattractive!

Some public school teachers too have adopted rather casual dress which I don't believe sets a good example.

I went to school in the late 1950s, 1960s and the early `70s. So I definitely qualify as an old fart. But I will take the dress shirts and ties for male teachers and skirts worn by female teachers in those days any time. That is far more professional attire and sends a clear message.

The message is straight forward. "We have standards here!"

I feel that when dress rules are relaxed, good manners and discipline also take a beating.

Inappropriate behavior in schools is commonplace today. During a recent event at Caldwell Street Public School in Carleton Place I witnessed behavior on the part of some young students (they were in Grades 6-8) that was appalling. Special visitors from the United States Embassy in Ottawa were making an Earth Day environmental presentation at the time.

Several boys were removed from the room and sent to the office. That didn't appear to have much influence on a number of others who continued to be inattentive and rude. Those individuals were verbally reprimanded - by one of the guest speakers. It was downright embarrassing!

I later had lunch with the special guests, one of whom was a former middle school principal in Pennsylvania. She wasn't the least bit surprised by the behavior issue. "It happens every day (in schools)," she said nonchalantly.

Well, if it does it shouldn't. That's just not good enough!

There should be some tougher rules and higher standards set and maintained.

It seems to me establishing a higher benchmark by introducing a dress code, including school uniforms, would be one positive step in the right direction.

Little wonder I am hearing more and more examples of parents enrolling their children in separate schools, regardless of their religious affiliation.

In the midst of a rapidly changing society Catholic schools are seen as an island of sanity in an education system that could be much better.

Nothing is perfect, nor do I expect it to be. But setting a few guidelines and standards and actually achieving them seems the right direction to me. Surely we can do better?"

What are your thoughts about it?

equiniphile 05-29-2012 05:48 PM

Personally, I don't think forcing kids into plaid and knee socks is going to suppress the disrespect rate in public schools. Our dress code where I go to school is actually pretty strict (skirts/shorts to the knee, sleeved shirts, no midriff, etc.), and we still have the slackers and the druggies that won't change their habits with a dress code change. If anything, they'll drop out when such measures are taken. Dropping out is tougher in a private school, when your parents are paying a fair amount of money to send you to school every day.

Bearkiller 05-29-2012 06:12 PM

I have 2 thoughts on this. My children go to a private school that requires them. At first, I didn't care for it. In my mind, it limits freedom and is part of the process of fitting all children into a specific mold. Which can lead to poor education(at least) and brainwashing (worst case scenario). Again, these were my thoughts. After 2 years of them attending the school, I find the uniforms a relief. They are alot cheaper than designer clothes and there is no competitive crap. No one has nicer stuff than the other, ect...... This isn't a dress code. These are school uniforms. Polo shirts and khaki's or skirts. No jewelry other than one piercing in each ear. The only down side is that you can pick out a student of the school from a mile away.......

kitten_Val 05-29-2012 08:25 PM

When I was a kid we had uniform rule in school that was eventually let go so you could wear anything. The unfortunate part of wearing anything is that some kids had money and very expensive cloth, while others were wearing some kind of old junk simply because the family had no money. Now yes, I understand cloth is not the most important thing in human etc., but kids are kids, and jealousy was there.

Personally I like the idea of uniform (the only exception I think girls should be allowed to wear uniform pants as well as skirt). I also think the jewelry and piercing should be limited to something modest in ears, and no heavy make-up etc. In the end you come to school to learn, not to show off.

Joe4d 05-30-2012 08:06 AM

the article has no evidence of causative links between facts. Thats even assuming your observations are facts.
Less yelling in catholic schools has more to do with nuns beating you than what you were wearing.
Want to have discipline in schools ? Let principals beat some rearends with a paddle when they get out of line.

Skyseternalangel 05-30-2012 08:28 AM

730 Attachment(s)
I am going to lose so much respect over this...............................

I went to British school as a child. Always in uniform

It was hell compared to American school. Sure you wear uniforms so you look "equal" but no they then attack your looks (feet size, height, hair colour, makeup or not, etc.) it's really really really stupid.

Manners are not better in a school with uniforms. We had more people suspended and getting into a lot more trouble, especially since uniforms made girls appear boyish so away from school they dressed like complete hoochies.

From my experience, it doesn't help the situation at all. Better to have casual dress codes so the person can express themselves without being picked on and setting realistic rules for kids to follow on manners.

I resented wearing a uniform. It sounds really immature of me to say but it really did not help at all.

So unless you've experienced it, you have no real cause to say "oh I think we should go ahead and do that because those guys wear their pants so low, blahblahblah"

>: |

ellygraceee 05-30-2012 09:46 AM

I preferred having a school uniform. I used to dread having free dress days because I knew that I would be judged for the clothes that I wore or that I would feel left out because all of my classmates were wearing short shorts and shirts from shops that will never have clothes to fit my size. Our school was fairly laid back with uniforms. We had three different options of polo shirts (plus a fourth option for Year 11s and 12s), and two colours knit shorts for summer and then either a jumper or spray jacket with long dress pants for winter. Our formal uniforms had to be rented from the library and only worn on formal occasions. Our hair, hats, jewellery, shoes, hair accessories were all up to us as long as they met OH&S requirements. They may since changed rules to make it a bit stricter, but not by much.

I can't think of any schools in my state though that don't wear school uniforms - most schools are much stricter than mine! My primary school was much stricter. We still had knit shorts and polo shirts, but everything had do be all tucked in and neat looking.

Bearkiller 05-30-2012 09:54 AM

At my kids school the girls can wear pants or skirts. My daughter actually prefers the pants because it makes PE and recess easier. I do agree with some, though. It's not just about uniforms. It's an overall discipline. If the uniforms are the only difference between a quality school and a bad school, nothing will change by adding uniforms to the bad school.

You can't blame school uniforms for how people dress when they are away from school. You could blame the parents. You could blame an overall lack of good character. In my experience, the ones who dressed like "complete hoochies" (as you so delicately put it) :) out of school, dressed that way in school. I can't see how uniforms make a difference negatively on that. At least it keeps some modesty in the schools and distraction out. In the end, it's supposed to be about educating children. Not about children "expressing themselves".

BornToRun 05-30-2012 09:58 AM

I did not write this article. The word your is coming up a lot. I did not write, or publish it. I just wanted opinions. Just so we can clear that up.

kait18 05-30-2012 10:05 AM

i think it would definitely not hurt to have all schools wear uniforms. and i am only saying that because some of the crap i see kids getting made fun of, for wearing certain things and from some of the distractions caused by certain kids attire. however i can understand showing ones own personality through dress which is fine, i just dont see why they need to show it during school. at school there should be no differences between students other then there natural looks which would help alot of the bulls*** bullying going on.
i also thinks since uniforms in a public school setting is unrealistic that the measures of taking cellphones away either in the homeroom each morning and giving back afterschool during ther last period or taken away before every class to minimize the distraction during school hours. children do not need cellphones during class they need them for after school. and i dont think any child under 6th grade should have a cellphone personal perference but seems alittle dumb to have children with cellphones when the majority of kids who travel with sports are 6th grade and up.
and the biggest factor is why most public schools look like crap is because the students don't have respect for anything! when they get in trouble mommy or daddy threaten to sue or something and therefore make kids unruly and pretty much useless. however by giving schools the authority to discpline in the sense of sending so-an-so to the corner for disrupting a class or something. embarressment works both ways and i find it very good in the school setting especially with class clowns however using this techinque with a child who is not full of themself can cause more problems. along with giving schools the authority to punish students there time of punishment of behavior is strictly during school hours. after the last bell rings or before the first bell rings teachers/admin do not have a say in how children should be punished. facebook should not be checked by the school even during school hours enless you catch the student on it in the library or school computer, and if the school suspects something then they talk with the childs parents.

as you see uniforms alone will not solve the problem of disrespectful children. the only way to solve that is for parents to fix the childs behavior from home and give the schools authority to punish during there time of guardianship over the child. without boundaries schools are just going to get worse and parents should not complain about why there child isn't getting the best schooling through public school when most parents don't punish or set boundaries at home for there children to learn proper behavior.

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