PUBLIC (& PRIVATE) SCHOOL UNIFORM POLICY: I see pros and cons and joined the heated debate!*

Vol. 2, No. 43, Monday, March 19th, 2012 

TITLE: “PUBLIC (& PRIVATE) SCHOOL UNIFORM POLICY: I see pros and cons and joined the heated debate!*” 


The other day, I saw some children in school uniforms and I thought that they looked so sweet. It got me to thinking. I know… I know …the school year is nearly over. All of you parents out there are thinking of summering with the kids….parks and playgrounds, forests and beaches, etc. But this is also the right time for parents to voice their opinions about the next school year. I then decided to write about school dress codes, the good, the bad and the ugly! My book of the week is: “The School Uniform Movement and What It Tells Us about American Education: A Symbolic Crusade” [Paperback] by David L. Brunsma (Author).(Editor’s Note: This is another post in a continuing series on schooling and returning to class.) 

PREVIEW (Sunday/Monday, March 25/26,2012): I am smiling silly. Why do you ask? I’ll tell you. April 1st is coming up. I will do an update of my post on April Fool’s Day of years past. Wait till you see the funnies that I will write about.  But I warn you.  Not only will you crack a smile, but there is a chance that you will break out in laughter and laugh out loud. As a result, I recommend that you not come by while sitting in a library. (Editor’s Note: This is another post in a continuing series on special dates and holidays.) 


Childhood: In school, I wore school uniforms – it was mandatory.  In elementary school, I was required to wear a navy blue tunic with a white blouse.  In high school, my uniform consisted of a pleated plaid skirt with a white blouse and a navy blue blazer with a border similar to the skirt.  I disliked the uniform, but my mother loved the idea of uniforms.  Dressing for school in the morning was simple.  I wore my uniform, no questions asked.  Needless to say, the expense of the uniforms for my parents was worth it. 

Motherhood: School uniforms were not enforced in my daughters’ school.  There was a lot of talk concerning a dress code, but nothing was ever done about it.  Deciding what to wear in the morning in my house was a problem.  There was competition among the kids especially the girls in their school.  It was important they wear stylish clothes with brand names.  This became expensive.

Workplace: I worked for a college and dress codes were not implemented.  Some of the students, young ladies in particular, wore very skimpy tops and leggings.  I also have seen students with short shorts – these were definitely not appropriate for a school environment. It was very distracting even for the teachers.  

THE AUTHOR: David L. Brunsma Ph.D. 

In 1998, David L. Brunsma received his Ph.D. in Sociology from Notre Dame. There was a time spent at the University of Alabama, Huntsville. His specialty, broadly speaking,  is critical race theory, social psychology, sociology of education and the sociology of culture. As well, he is particularly interested in the school uniform question, more so on the public side than in the private sector.


Several are:

THE BOOK: The School Uniform Movement and What It Tells Us about American Education: A Symbolic Crusade [Paperback] by David L. Brunsma (Author) 

Brunsma researches the subject of American uniform policies, their impact, effectiveness and consequences. He sees his work as contributing to higher understanding in the educational community: practitioners, parents, and scholars. He wants to provoke debate in a larger historical, political, cultural, and social context. 

The topic of this book is standardized dress in American public system (K-12 districts and schools). Brunsma provides an overview of the history of the issue, critical evaluation of the existent literature, reviews of several case studies, results of nationally representative empirical research, etc. He defines the debate. He sees school uniform rules as a dynamic between contested cultural and political meanings on one hand and symbolic codes on the other. He has a neat perspective. This book broadens your comprehension and helps you express your point of view. The big winners are your children.  


A school uniform is not just clothing – it’s more about education and learning important lessons.  There are advantages and disadvantage. You’re either for them or against them.  The question then is , do you support a rule on wearing school uniforms …or not?  

Personal Comments

I say:

  • That I would have greatly appreciated school uniforms for my daughters. 
  • Pros

    • That school uniforms are a great idea because:  (a)  The outfit, (tie and grey flannel pant/skirt, white shirt/blouse, cardigan), looks prim and proper; (b)  A student population dressed more or less alike,  builds school spirit; it also identifies people from the school community and those that are not – this contributes to better security and protection of our kids; (c)  A uniform dress code is less expensive, overall, for parents. Outfitting children for school with uniforms can be expensive, but in the long run, it’s worth it as it reduces on school year purchases except for weekend wear. Also, remember hand-me-downs. It also relieves the stress on students, who can’t afford brand names;
    • That some school administrators and educators are proposing the implementation of uniform dress codes as a possible policy addressing greater violence in our schools;
    • That the wearing of school uniforms: (a) Lessens competition among students especially the girls; students will be more focused on their studies, less on their appearance; (b) Makes it easier for parents to get their kids ready for school in the morning; (c) Instills discipline;  (d) Contributes to students taking a more serious approach to school; (e) Downplays sex, keeping the school population dressed appropriately and covered;


    Some people – not me – believe :

    • That,  school uniforms are stuffy and pretentious; 
    • That a school dress code increases the level of monitoring for students, making teachers, etc.  the ‘clothes police’;
    • That it’s better to instill into our kids good fashion sense as early as possible so that they can put their ‘best foot forward’ even in grade school and of course in high school;
    • That there is nothing wrong in children, 11 and under, dressing provocatively and having sex appeal;

     The Point

    Administrators, principals should de-emphasize body image and choice wearing apparel plus adornments. School, should be made a place,  not of hallways as modeling runways at a fashion show, but more about roadways to learning and knowledge.


    Parents should:

    1. Support a uniform wearing policy for all schools: primary, middle and high, both public and private;  
    2. Determine how extensive the rule should be and also which items of clothing bearing the school colors, logo, sport teams, etc., should be mandatory.
    3. Do fundraising in order pay for those students who cannot afford such purchases; in this regard, establish a confidential application policy that does not single out these students and distribute the clothing to them at the same time as the overall student population.  
    4. Explain to your child that garments, regularly washed and well- maintained plus personal cleanliness and grooming are much more significant than designer or brand names. 
    5. Tell your child that it’s more important to aspire to acquire knowledge instead of the ‘look’ of the day.

    Dress up could be child’s play…but wearing a school uniform teaches much!*

    And that’s my thought of the week on books, what’s yours?*
    Take it out for a spin and tell me if you agree.
    “Books are life; and they make life better!*”
    P.S. Big News: There are big changes coming to my blog – Please stay tuned.
    P.P.S. #1 I have a TWITTER page. Consider becoming a follower? Visit –   saveandread
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    *TM/© 2012 Practitioners’ Press Inc. – All Rights Reserved.


    S & R* CHOICE ANECDOTAGE #1: Dressed for Success?
    “On September 11, 1985, the Cincinnati Reds’ Pete Rose broke baseball legend Ty Cobb’s 4,191-hit record. Told of the historic event, Mickey Mantle, another famous slugger, declared: “If I’d-a hit that many singles, I’d-a wore a dress.”
    (Source: Anecdotage) –

    S & R* CHOICE ANECDOTAGE #2: Cheerleader
    “Kari Wuhrer was once asked to reveal something she had done in high school that she later looked back on and laughed about. “I was a cheerleader!” she recalled. “I hated it. I remember we were doing a cheer on the basketball court, and as they were building the pyramid, I was taking off my uniform, because the skirt and sweater belonged to the school and the briefs and the turtleneck were mine. Just as we said our last ‘Go get ’em!’ I was in my underwear and turtleneck, and I walked off. I was like, ‘I quit,’ and left the uniform on the court.” 

    (Source: Anecdotage) – 

    S & R* CHOICE ANECDOTAGE #3: Evening Dress
    “I was to photograph Pope Benedict XV,” Keystone Press founder Bert Garai once recalled. “The audience was for midday and when I turned up at eleven thirty I was told I must wear evening dress! I rushed out, burst into a cafe that I had passed on the way to the Vatican and, waving a 100-lira banknote under the head waiter’s nose, I induced him to allow me to undress the smallest waiter in the establishment. Within a few minutes I had changed into ‘formal’ uniform though, unfortunately, even the smallest waiter at the cafe was several sizes bigger than myself. Then back to the Vatican as fast as my legs would carry me. I arrived at one minute to twelve.” 

    (Source: Anecdotage) – 

    S & R* QUOTE #1: Michael Korda

    “Never walk away from failure. On the contrary, study it carefully and imaginatively for its hidden assets.”

    (Source: Wisdom Quotes) –

    S & R* QUOTE #2: Napoleon Hill

    “Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.”

    (Source: Wisdom Quotes) –

    S & R* QUOTE #3: Dale Turner 

    “Dreams are renewable. No matter what our age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within us and new beauty waiting to be born.”(Source: Wisdom Quotes) – 

    “For today, my word/phrase(s) are:  “school uniform”; “dress codes”; “”

    School Uniform

    “A school uniform is an outfit—a set of standardized clothes—worn primarily for an educational institution. They are common in primary and secondary schools in various countries.”

    Dress Codes

    “Dress codes are written and, more often, unwritten rules with regards to clothing.”


    “Traditionally school uniforms have been largely subdued and professional.[citation needed] Boys’ uniforms often consist of dark short or long trousers and light-colored shirt, often with a tie. Girls’ uniforms vary greatly between countries and schooling systems, but typically consist of a dress or a blouse worn either with a skirt or culottes or under a pinafore; some countries allow girls to wear trousers. The use of a blazer or suit-like jacket for either gender is also fairly common, especially in countries with relatively cold weather. While some countries have school uniforms that are essentially standard in all schools using it, others have each school with an individual uniform, varying in and often making use of badges.”(Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia)-

    Nearly all Roman Catholic schools have some form of dress code, and most of them (especially those with students in the lower grade levels) have a mandatory uniform policy.

    Stated purpose for uniforms, often set forth in school uniform policies, include reducing clothing expenditures for parents as well as avoiding distinctions among children based on whose parents can afford to buy them fashionable clothing to wear to school. The conservative clothing is also said to reduce distractions and help with student identification, ensuring that a stranger will stand out among the uniformed students.”(Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia)-

    S & R* NEWS ALERT* #1:
    School’s out for summer so let the vacation begin 

    “Why not get the whole family involved with vacation planning this year? Together you could make it a summer to remember, say specialists in this field. Take a look for example at these exciting ideas and tips, courtesy of Days Inns Canada:

    City or countryside: Before you and your family start planning, decide what type of summer vacation you want to have. Will it be an outdoor adventure or an urban discovery? There’s no wrong type of summer fun, but ensuring everyone has their say can help the entire family get on the same page.

    Family first: For new experiences, ask every family member to pick one attraction or restaurant they would like to visit. This way everyone feels involved and there’s bound to be variety.

    Surf the web: The Internet is a valuable resource that can be used to gather information and research possible ideas. Whenever possible, book attractions, tickets and accommodation online as there usually are discounts or incentives. For example, Days Inn tells us that you will save when you book direct due to their best rate guarantee.

    Staycation: Why not visit your closest major city and enjoy a ‘staycation’? Book a hotel, stay a few days and you’ll experience the city like never before.

    Memories: Encourage kids to keep a travel diary of all the exciting sites they’ve seen and activities they’ve done on their summer vacation. You can create a scrapbook at home with any tickets, brochures or photos that you keep.”

    S & R* NEWS ALERT* #2: Schools and businesses celebrate National Sweater Day across Canada 

    “On February 9, 2012, National Sweater Day, presented by Loblaw Companies Limited, is back for its sophomore year. This popular initiative from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) calls for all Canadians to turn down the thermostat by three degrees and don a sweater for the day.

    After a hugely successful inaugural event in 2011, National Sweater Day is a campaign that shows Canadians how to stay warm while keeping the planet cool. People from across the nation have demonstrated their support, from schools to corporations.

    As the presenting sponsor, Loblaw will demonstrate its support for energy conservation by lowering the temperature in hundreds of stores across the country on National Sweater Day.

    The Company has supported this conservation initiative since its inception through partial proceeds from our national charge-for-plastic shopping bag program, says Bob Chant, Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Communication. By turning down the temperature in our stores and putting on sweaters, we are encouraging our colleagues and our customers to think differently about climate change.

    Canada wide support 

    Trisha Dempsey, from the Office of Sustainability at Dalhousie University, spearheaded a campaign on the east-coast campus last year to engage students and create a new school policy on heating. To encourage participation, Dempsey invited them to a sweater party at the school’s grad house while enjoying a night on the town. Students were treated to a live concert with a local band. Dempsey also called on the community to show their collective support with a National Sweater Day pledge, inviting faculty departments to participate by having friendly competitions.

    I see campaigns like National Sweater Day as a catalyst for real change, says Dempsey. I hope that the traction we saw last year will translate into policy change at Dal.

    She offers some tips for how people can show their commitment to the environment beyond February 9: Keep your heater clear of clutter; make sure your house is properly insulated; and fix leaky windows by repairing the caulking or covering them in plastic.

    These are simple steps that everyone can take that, when they add up, will have an impact, she said.

    You don’t need to be a student to show support. Corporations are getting in on the sweater action too. For example, Procter & Gamble Canada celebrated National Sweater Day in 2011 along with other building tenants.

    Getting the leadership team involved was the first step, says Trish Crowe-Grande, Assistant Brand Manager at P&G. We created buzz leading up to National Sweater Day by putting up posters (printed on recycled paper) of our president and other leaders dressed in their craziest sweaters. This got employees really engaged. On National Sweater Day, we had a fashion show and contest featuring different sweater categories, like most colourful, best theme, and most unique. Any employee who wore a sweater could come to work that day in jeans, and we used the cafeteria as the hub for our activities. The best part of National Sweater Day was hearing the stories behind people’s sweaters.

    National Sweater Day is a meaningful way for P&G staff to exemplify our commitment to the environment, she continued, and an opportunity for the company to reduce our carbon footprint. On that day alone, we achieved an 11 per cent drop in energy use and we are using that to look at long term energy saving initiatives in partnership with our property management.

    Crowe-Grande suggests ways that all corporations can show their support. National Sweater Day is a turnkey event, with tools supplied by WWF. It’s a simple and effective tool to engage employees in a cause where you can see measurable results. It’s energizing for everyone involved.

    For Loblaw, it’s also a way to create meaningful change.

    National Sweater Day is just another great example of how simple changes in behaviour, both at home and at work, can have a positive impact on our planet, Chant said. “

    *TM/© 2012 Practitioners’ Press Inc. – All Rights Reserved

    This entry was posted on Monday, March 19th, 2012 at 11:31 am and is filed under Schooling and Returning to Class. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


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