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LetterRip
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This is somewhat in response to the clothing with flags on it conversation.

If schools mandated school uniforms - this issue would never had come up and the schools wouldn't have had to deal with the PITA it causes, which distracts them from their actual job of teaching.

Of course there are other pros and cons on this topic

http://www.middleweb.com/INCASEUniforms.html

Are they 'too stifling of kids creativity' or 'oppressing of kids free speech rights'?

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hobsen
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The link covers the main concerns. The parent asking came from a community which probably had no need either for a dress code or uniforms, as there were few problems without them. The responses came from parents who indicated that one or the other could solve some problems, and made no huge difference to students. About gang identifiers I am skeptical, as I suspect ingenious gangs could standardize on yellow shoelaces or a particular style of book cover to show who belongs. Changing the style of dress will not stop serious criminal actions if those commonly occur. But a dress code or uniforms can make things run a bit smoother in some schools. The usual problems come from parental fanatics who expect uniforms to solve everything, or on the other hand fear they will iron out all differences. During my time in the Army I learned it was quite easy to tell people apart even if they dressed the same, and that the individual differences among them remained huge.
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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by hobsen:
The link covers the main concerns. The parent asking came from a community which probably had no need either for a dress code or uniforms, as there were few problems without them. The responses came from parents who indicated that one or the other could solve some problems, and made no huge difference to students. About gang identifiers I am skeptical, as I suspect ingenious gangs could standardize on yellow shoelaces or a particular style of book cover to show who belongs. Changing the style of dress will not stop serious criminal actions if those commonly occur. But a dress code or uniforms can make things run a bit smoother in some schools. The usual problems come from parental fanatics who expect uniforms to solve everything, or on the other hand fear they will iron out all differences. During my time in the Army I learned it was quite easy to tell people apart even if they dressed the same, and that the individual differences among them remained huge.

I agree with the statement concerning the ability to tell people apart. After being in the army long enough I was generally able to tell an individual's rank from the way they walked and carried themselves. It was a fun guessing game we would play amongst ourselves. I'm afraid it does not translate over to the civilian world very well. Most civilians purposefully avoid eye contact or looking at other people, especially in public places. My wife is always jumping on me for "staring" at people. I try to tell her it's all about situational awareness.
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TomDavidson
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I'm not a huge fan of uniforms; I think the problems they solve aren't actually the problems they're intended to address, and I'm nonconformist enough that they make my skin crawl.
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PSRT
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You really think that students wouldn't have found other ways to be offensive if they had to wear a uniform?

I'm with Tom. Uniforms don't really solve anything.

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Clark
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It solves the problem of figuring out what to wear each morning!

I guess your school experience wasn't as traumatic as mine! (Actually, I didn't care then what I wore, other than the vague worries that I had worn that set of clothes to school 3 days previous. I care so little about what I'm wearing that half the days of my life if you blindfolded me and then asked me what I was wearing, I might not know.)

edit: ARG! I screwed up your/you're. I'm an idiot.

[ May 12, 2010, 07:40 PM: Message edited by: Clark ]

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Grant
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I went to private school. I had to wear uniforms most of the time, but I liked it better when we simply had a dress code.

Like Tom and PSRT say, the non-conformists won't be able to handle being in uniform, and they will simply find other ways to express themselves. If they want to be offensive they will find some new way, then they will be punished, new rule, and the cycle begins again.

Uniforms are not a magic bullet, but they have been instituted in many school districts and from what I understand there have been some positive results. I bet LR can find plenty of source material on the results of uniform codes.

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TomDavidson
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*nod* One positive benefit of uniforms seems to be that they actually instill some sense of formal discipline in students who otherwise don't recognize that school is not meant to be a social club; the jarring effect of enforced appearance demarcates "school" from "home" in the same way that a work uniform does. In a school uniform, students are "on duty."

This effect vanishes once all the schools in an area wear uniforms, however, and students begin wearing their uniforms around the clock.

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