08/28/07 — Uniform idea: Schools that checked ‘yes’ made right choice

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Uniform idea: Schools that checked ‘yes’ made right choice

As usual, the children are leading the way.

After a small, but loud reaction to a proposal by the Wayne County School District to implement a “higher standard” dress code, there was a vote in each school.

Most parents said ‘no’ to the plan, choosing instead to stick with the original dress code, which was not quite as restrictive. Without the parents’ approval, the dress codes would stay the same.

But for six schools, the higher standard seemed like a good idea — and Monday was the first day to see if they were right.

And the first reviews are extremely positive.

Administrators and teachers at Dillard Middle, Brogden Middle, Carver Heights Elementary, Goldsboro Intermediate, North Drive Elementary and School Street Elementary schools reported that students seemed to have no problem at all with the new standards.

In fact, most of them were eager to wear their new school clothes, nagging their parents to have the chance to sport their new outfits.

And the adults also noticed something else on that first day — pride.

The teachers and administrators said the students seemed to stand a little taller and to be more disciplined, seemingly aware that somehow their new school clothes meant something special.

Maybe it was just the first day or maybe it was something else, but the bottom line was, these students seemed to sense something was different.

And that is really what a uniform policy is supposed to accomplish.

We have all been there. School is full of all sorts of pressure to conform. You have to have the right shoes, the right outfit, the right look. It isn’t easy trying to fit in.

And all that pressure can make it tough to focus on what really matters — learning.

The Wayne County Schools uniform policy is not that strict. Students have lots of choices of colors and tops and bottoms. They can still be individuals, just with a little more attention to the basics. And it isn’t expensive either. Most of the choices available to students are probably in their wardrobe already.

Gone are the logo T-shirts, the crazy cuts of pants and skirts as well as anything else that is appropriate for after school, but not a classroom. And that is how it should be. Now is a great time to teach students that there are standards to which they must adhere in the real world.

And at first glance, it seems some of them are getting the message — and teaching us something at the same time.

You get the behavior and attitude you expect.

Published in Editorials on August 28, 2007 10:54 AM