Last weekend we did the bulk of our back-to-school shopping. Our daughter is in a school that requires uniforms and I absolutely despise it. Many have assured me how much it levels the playing field, how much easier it makes getting dressed each morning. I’ve endured this speech exactly 293 times and while I believe that the speech giver truly believes what he/she is saying- I don’t know if I can stand it again.
First of all about half of the schools in the county require uniforms and half don’t. I find this utterly ridiculous: all public schools within the same school system should have the same policy! I know a family that moved halfway through the school year and even though it was a mere 5 miles from their old home- the new school required uniforms. It was a hardship to replace the wardrobes of three children midyear and almost impossible to find anything in a store. Finding school uniforms here is a total crapshoot unless you haunt each major store daily- for the entire month before school starts. Quantities/sizes are limited and after school starts they rarely replenish the supply. Buying online is difficult for us because we never know what size we may need- one brand’s size six is another’s size eight, but that’s another rant. God forbid your child has a growth spurt or stain all of her school shirts in art class with the “washable” paint.
About leveling the playing field: I don’t really believe that it does. An expensive school uniform looks like an expensive school uniform. There will always be a social hierarchy, there will always be cliques. There are no “uniform” shoes, so if you have sneakers that cost $120.00 that probably throws a kink in the whole “leveling” system. Even though I know individuality comes from the inside I hate seeing them all dressed like little clones. And honestly- by December we all loathe navy blue and khaki.
It might be easier for some children to dress each morning with uniforms- but not for us. My child is extremely tactile sensitive- it drives me insane. If we weren’t in a uniform school she would happily live in cotton dresses, elastic waist shorts and track pants. As it is I have to watch the “I hate these pants” grumpy faced dance everyday along with the accompanying “I hate these pants” shrill verbal rant. Every day.
The biggest problem with school uniforms: no pink. Thank God we can jazz it up with Hannah Montana sneakers.