09/13/07 — Attire wars: Some people just don’t get it. It’s not about freedom.

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Attire wars: Some people just don’t get it. It’s not about freedom.

The fuss over what children will wear to school has been going on for ages.

Some parents want all of them to be dressed alike, while others want children of all ages to be able to express themselves through their fashion choices.

The problem is, it is not about fashion or freedom, not really.

The school uniform issue is focused primarily on sending a message to children that school is like a job where you have tasks to accomplish and standards to meet.

Just as adults put on suits, dresses and skirts to go into their workplaces, so, too should children dress up before they head to the bus. A dress code signals to children that school is different — special.

Establishing rules for dress eliminates the distractions that come with certain attire — and takes pressure off children who cannot possibly afford designer labels and fancy accessories.

It also eliminates a bit of the bullying and teasing that come when children look different. It signals to all students that they are equal in importance — even if they do not have the wherewithal to be at the top of their fashion class.

And the argument that it is prohibitively expensive to establish and maintain uniforms is false as well. The county schools’ rules incorporate many items the students already have.

Some people say that schools should spend time educating, not policing dress.

But what they don’t get is that this is an important part of another lesson — what it takes to succeed in life.

Published in Editorials on September 13, 2007 10:50 AM