By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
School uniforms still a good idea
Courier editorial
Placeholder Image
School-aged children make a variety of independent choices daily pertaining to their routines and behavior. While parents usually set guidelines and ultimately hold veto power, most students are free to decide who to befriend, what to eat for lunch, how much to study, what activities to participate in and how to handle conflict. However, one choice Liberty County School System students don’t face is what to wear to school. And that’s OK.
In April 2008, the local board of education approved uniforms for high school students. Elementary and middle schools already required uniforms. Some parents and students balked; others accepted the ruling with little fanfare.
A week and a half ago, during its April 14 meeting, the BoE tweaked the existing dress code for middle and high schools, tightening some restrictions but loosening others. For the 2010-11 academic year, uniforms cannot be tight or body-hugging; belts can be white in addition to previously approved colors; tights and socks may be navy blue in addition to previously approved colors; and newly enrolled students will have 10 school days — rather than 15 — to prepare for the school dress code policy.
Upon announcing the changes, BoE Chairwoman Lily Baker reportedly said, “We know it’s not easy to enforce a dress code policy because the students don’t want to [follow] it … even first-graders don’t want to follow it.”
Well, the school board apparently thought it was a good idea then, so enforce the policy now.
Contrary to the beliefs of its foes, the dress code wasn’t designed simply to punish children or make life more difficult for parents. The board’s decision to require uniforms was about creating a better atmosphere for education in Liberty County schools. And success stories from other districts that made similar moves prove that, given time, the policy will pay off.
In 2006, The New York Times reported on a study by Youngstown State University researcher Virginia Draa, who talked with administrators and examined test scores, attendance, graduation and suspension rates from 1994 to 2002 at 64 public high schools in Ohio’s eight largest districts. Among the six schools that had uniform policies, graduation rates increased 11 percent from pre-uniform years. Rates at non-uniform schools dropped 4.6 percent from the earlier years. Mean attendance rates rose by 3.5 percent at four of the six schools with uniforms, and mean expulsion rates dropped 0.6 per 100 students in the years the schools required uniforms.
So, maybe it’s time to hang up your jeans during school. You’ll be able to choose your outfits soon enough. For now, it’s time to tuck in your shirt, pull up your pants and learn.
Sign up for our e-newsletters