? for anyone whose kids wear school uniforms

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by crusoe2, May 25, 2008.

  1. crusoe2

    crusoe2 DIS Veteran

    May 15, 2000
    Our school system has just voted to require school uniforms next year and there has been a lot of negativity (from parents more so than from students:confused3 ). What have been your experiences? First of all, how does it affect how much you spend on clothes for your kids? That has been one of the biggest arguments - people keep complaining that now they will have to buy two wardrobes per kid instead of just one. Some of the other arguments against the uniforms have been:
    1. That it will create more work for teachers and administrators to enforce the dress code.
    2. That it will make no difference in academic performance.
    3. That it stifles the students' individuality.

    I teach high school and I keep thinking that surely it will be easier to enforce the dress code, not harder. There should be less "gray area" left open for interpretation which is one of the problems with the current dress code - what one teacher finds acceptable, another may not. I also would have thought that it would help with academics. One comment I've read in our local newspaper was that "school uniforms won't help little Johnny learn to read." But I think that Johnny could probably focus on his studies more if "little Susie's" double D's weren't falling out the top of her blouse. (And believe me, this is a huge problem on our campus - no pun intended.:rotfl: ) As for the individuality argument, hey I'll give 'em that. I think the uniforms will get pretty boring after awhile. But there are other ways to express your individuality and I think that some people use that argument when what they really mean is that it offends their vanity. I'm not blaming anybody - I would hate to see what I look like in one of those uniforms.:scared1: Anyway, these are my thoughts based on no experience with the uniforms. I would be interested to find out what affect they've had in schools that have been using them for awhile. I would love to hear from both teachers and parents since I will also have two kids who will be affected by this. TIA:)
  2. Tosha

    Tosha Blessed beyond measure

    Mar 24, 2008
    Well my children have worn uniforms all their school life ( and my oldest is in 7th grade) so they know nothing else. But I will tell you it cuts down clothing costs big time, as they only wear regular clothes on the weekends, and my summer spending on their clothes ( summers here are 3 months tops!) is very expensive. All in all I'm greatful for uniforms as I am VERY picky and ticky aboout what they wear, so I'd be in the poor house clothing them year round.....so the argument that they'll have to buy two wardrobes isn't true...unless the kids plan to come home and do something that requires them to change their clothes everyday ( which I doubt)

    The ONLY thing I don't like about our uniform policy is that they HAVE to wear all black shoes. I think they should at least have freedom to shoes what shoes they want to wear as they already have no choice in clothing, plus I really don't like black gym shoes on little girls ( I told you Im picky LOL) and when they have gym, the shoes have to be black as well.
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  4. anl

    anl Mouseketeer

    Mar 12, 2008
    My elementary aged child goes to a Christian school and they have to wear uniforms. My son doesn't like wearing them very much, but to me it's easier. There's no big guess/arguing about what you will wear to school...and I'm not buying expensive clothes, so when they get torn up (he's 7), it's not as big of a deal. They can wear navy or khaki shorts/pants and then a few different color polo type shirts. Wednesday is chapel day and that's the only day they have to all wear the same thing and we had to buy specifically. The rest, I bought fairly cheap at Wal-Mart, Sears and JC Penney. I also don't think they need two wardrobes b/c if they are only wearing regular clothes on the weekends, they don't need that many of them.

    Also, I teach at a charter school and they have to wear uniforms as well (with less options than my son) and as a teacher, it's definitely easier to enforce dress code.
  5. SnowWhite607

    SnowWhite607 DIS Veteran

    Apr 29, 2006
    This was my DDs first year for uniforms and I loved it. She never complained either. It took the guess work out of what to wear every day (no arguing!!). I bought all her shirts (5 short sleeved and 2 long sleeved) for about $50 and the bottoms for about $10 each so maybe $150 total for her outfits the whole year. A lot less than I would have spent if she wore "regular" clothes.
  6. DawnM

    DawnM DIS Veteran

    Oct 4, 2005
    I think it is great that they are letting you know this before the summer.

    In the short run it may cost a little more, but in the long run I think it will save tremendously.

    My kids don't wear uniforms (we homeschool), but my oldest seems to love the navy and tan uniform shorts and he loves wearing Polo shirts. They look nice and he can wear it anywhere, even to church, so he would easily fit in to a uniform policy.

    The other thing is that certain brands seem to last a LONG time. My older son wore some shorts for 2 years and they were still in good condition so my younger son got another 2 years out of them!

  7. LisaInNc

    LisaInNc Succulent Wild Woman

    Feb 18, 2005
    My daughter wears a uniform and I wore one most of the years I was in school. I love it. The main reason is no debate about what to wear. It saves us a ton! I spend a lot less on uniforms than I do on her regular clothing and you don't need two wardrobes, you need some additional clothes but not the amount you would need if they wore regular clothes to school.

    Mornings are so easy! :banana:

    It takes away a lot of the competition with clothing that kids usually have. Brands don't matter and the kids that don't have parents with a lot of money that can't afford the expensive stores will look like the kids that do have the parents that can.

    It does not stifle anything kids will always find a way to be individual, there is jewelry, purses, backpacks oh yes, academic performance. Kids can be in individual on the sports field or the math club or wherever they choose. That is going to have a lot more significance to them in their life than going to school wearing an Abebrombie and Fitch tee shirt.

    When I was in HS I was one of the poorest kids in school I was lucky my Mom could even afford the tuition and I was greatful that I didn't have the daily competition of clothing. It's a lot of work to try to keep up.

    It's not going to help anyone learn to read but then when did a designer outfit do that? Whati t does is take the focus off what you are wearing.

    The teachers will have to enforce the dress code that isn't a lot of work and they should be having to enforce some kind of a dress code already as even without uniforms there are rules about what the kids can and can not wear.

    I am all for school uniforma but I will say it did take years of therapy to get me over my aversion to the colors of maroon and gray which were my high school uniform colors. I still won't wear them together but I can see them without running away screaming! :rotfl:
  8. Kriii

    Kriii DIS Veteran

    Mar 11, 2007
    DD wore a uniform when she went to private school and I loved it! No competition over who was wearing the latest fashion, no gray area about what was acceptable or not acceptable and much less expensive. Back to school shopping was so much easier. One stop at the uniform store for several white shirts and 3 skirts or skorts. Walk next door and pick out dark shoes and tennis shoes. We were done shopping in about an hour! The school kids didn't crab about it either since all were required to dress the same. I wish my public school would adopt a uniform rule also. I spend a ton outfitting my dd. I also work in a school and would not mind seeing less bared skin, baggy pants etc. It gets old sending kids to the office for a belt, etc.
  9. barkley

    barkley DIS Veteran<br><font color=orange>If I ever have a

    Apr 6, 2004
    our experience with uniforms was horrendous.

    once the schools found out that the would benefit financialy (read: monetary kickbacks from the uniform company) if they required the parents to use a particular company and banned any clothing items not manufactured by that company (and it was easy for the school to enforce-said company did very specific embroidery on the front of every clothing item with their brand name on it) the parents were locked out of using any of the identical but much lower priced uniform items.

    the school required that all clothing (except underware but including socks) be from their uniform company. this meant that gloves you could buy for less than $5 elsewhere had to be the $25 ones from the company, winter hats (simple knit) $40, coats-well over $100 a peice (and we're not talking heavy warm coats-more like rainwear). the polos ran at least $30 each (and this was 7 years ago), the girls dresses around $60. pants and shorts were never less than $35. long sleeve items (the very few they permitted) were around $40 per piece. the parents tried to get creative and save money-purchasing multiple items that their kids could share, but the company and the school caught on so they made sure that girls authorized versions of the same clothing the boys wore (polos/docker type pants) had the embroidered name on the opposite side. some parents tried to do clothing exchanges each summer so the school counteracted by changing the color assignments each year (so one year the girls could wear one of the school colors for their tops, the next year it was a different one that had not been allowed the previous) and just changing the style selection enough so that the previous year's styles were no longer permissable:mad:

    the school my kids go to now has a 'modest' dress code that is very easy to follow. they have a pretty easy way to handle violators-they keep a supply of ugly men's xxx large flannel shirts in the office-and any violator is sent to the office where they are given one that they have to wear over the offending clothing (buttoned from top to bottom). the offender still gets whatever consequence is in place for the violation (and parents are notified that they are responsible for ensuring the kids are appropriatly dressed, and suspension can occur for repeated infractions) but it's not hard for the teachers to administer.

    i like the modest code, at least when i see the kids from the school outside the school environment they seem to dress in what i'de consider an acceptable manner since they get a voice in what they wear day to day-whereas the kid's from the uniformed school used to go wild and wear the most skanky revealing stuff whenever given the opportunity.
  10. crusoe2

    crusoe2 DIS Veteran

    May 15, 2000
    Thanks to all of you who have posted so far. While I was pretty much on board with the uniforms to begin with, you are making me feel better and better about them. I have been a little surprised by the negative reactions from other adults here in town - even other teachers. The kids seem to be taking it in stride but many adults are really up in arms over this. Some people have commented that they think the kids who would normally try to make themselves stand out by dressing a certain way will now respond by acting out in a negative way. Couldn't it be just as possible that they will try to stand out in some positive way - higher grades, artistic talent, leadership, etc? Some folks also think that this is all about making the haves and have-nots look alike so that the poor kids won't be discriminated against - the old "even the playing field" idea. I don't think anyone with the school system has made that argument but some people use it as their primary reason why this is stupid and won't work. I'd probably agree with that point somewhat - the kids are always going to be able to figure out who has money and who doesn't but it doesn't mean that wearing uniforms won't help at all in that regard. I don't think anyone will really notice at first glance whether the polo shirt a student is wearing is a certain name brand. But they will notice that the student is neatly dressed and not showing any body parts that ought to be covered.:thumbsup2 Honestly, that is one of our biggest problems - dresses that are too short, thong panties under pants or skirts that you can see through, boys wearing pants that won't stay up, low necklines, raunchy tee-shirt graphics, etc. And some of this is on kids from the so-called respectable families who live in the "right" neigborhoods, drive very expensive cars, never miss church on Sunday - I mean, when did mothers stop teaching their daughters to wear a slip under a white cotton skirt?:eek: That should be a no-brainer. But I have seen this repeatedly from a number of the girls in our school and it's the girls who are winning academic honors, being elected to student government offices and such. As a mom, I'm a little disappointed that I won't get to dress my little girl any way I won't (she starts to Kindergarten next year) but I'm also relieved that my 16yo son maybe won't have as many distractions (if you know what I mean.;)). I would still love to hear more on this issue, tho - especially from anyone who has negative experiences with this. It's pretty much a done deal that we are going to uniforms but if anyone has experience with this not working out well it would be helpful to know so that I can be better prepared.

    ETA: Barkley, looks like we were posting at the same time. I'm glad you shared your experience. That is something I hadn't thought about - actually I didn't know an arrangement like that would even be legal. So far our system is promising that we can buy the uniforms anywhere. As a matter of fact, they've been very emphatic that parents will have the option to buy pieces at all price points and are working on making sure that several local stores like Walmart, Peebles, and Goody's are aware that we're going to uniforms and will have them available. I haven't heard anything about requiring embroidery or school specific logos but all indications so far are that they are being very reasonable and trying to make sure that there are sufficient options as to where to buy the uniforms. I will keep your information in mind, tho. That is good to know in case our school system tries to do the same thing. As for those kids dressing even more outrageously outside school, I have to wonder if the school system requiring that uniforms come from a particular supplier didn't create such a contentious situation that the kids were hearing a lot of negative comments at home and reacted with an "I'll show them" attitude (maybe even with their parents' blessings).
  11. Debbie

    Debbie DIScovering DIS magic-missing my colours

    Jun 28, 2000
    You'll find the transition (parents/teachers/students) a bit rocky, but once in place, it will be fine. :thumbsup2 Change is always hard to accept-especially if you aren't the initiator!
  12. eh24fan

    eh24fan <font color=blue>I was such a NKOTB nerd<br><font

    Mar 29, 2006
    My son's public school went to uniforms last year and there are good and bad things, of course. The good, he knows what he's wearing in the morning. They can wear polos in dark blue, light blue or white, khaki's or jeans (then can be shorts, skirts, skorts, jumpers, etc). Sounds simple enough right? HAHAHA The high school and middle school girls are pushing every limit they can and they do. They have found ways around the dress code, their polos are tight fitting, tealish instead of blue, or they wear a cami underneath and leave all the buttons undone.

    The theory that no one can tell the $$ kids from the not so $$ kids is crap. IT's the end of the year and it's very clear whose parents can afford to buy the better shirts that didn't fade or pill, or at least afford to replace the ones that did. I admit to pushing the limits with one shirt my DS wears...it's white with 2 thin navy stripes on the color. Technically, not allowed, but all year long there have been girls with white piping on their shirts, the occasional kid with a striped polo (not allowed supposedly), etc.

    My son grew a lot this year. I had to buy all new school clothes AND new outside of school clothes, twice. Once in August and then recently I've had to do it all again. The money saving thing is crap in my opinion. We didnt' save anything I spent more. We are switching schools and I'm thrilled that he wont' be wearing a uniform and so is he. I've hated the uniform crap.
  13. sandisuze

    sandisuze Every Thursday I take Pudge the fish a peanut butt

    Mar 16, 2008
    my DD and Step Son - he's Not so dear today :) have always gone to a private school and they wear uniforms-
    it costs me about 125.00 a year for DD uniforms
    She looks nice and we have no issues about what to wear. Of course this is a small school Pre-k thru 8th and classes are small - as far as enforcing the rules: It's wear the required uniform or go home. many kids in the school are on Scholarships and the uniforms are included with that scholarship.
    I have asked a lot of the kids about dressing the same etc.. taking away individuality.
    answers I get: Well if we were nurses or worked at Walmart or Chick fil a we all have to wear a uniform- what's the big deal? clothes do not make us who we are - we make us who we are. so we have to follow rules all thru life so whats wrong with wearing a uniform to "our Work" IE: School.
    I like the uniforms- i don't feel it costs or makes things more difficult.
  14. crusoe2

    crusoe2 DIS Veteran

    May 15, 2000
    Erin, sorry to hear you had such a bad experience but thank you for sharing it. You illustrate a good point - a lot of the success or failure of a uniform code lies in how well it is written to begin with so that it allows some flexibility but is still easy to enforce. What ours says so far is that students may wear khaki or navy pants or shorts (with the addition of skirts, jumpers, and skorts for the girls) and white or navy shirts with collars. They are allowing them to wear tennis shoes in any color but other shoes must be enclosed and in brown, black, navy, grey, tan or white. The same color choices (black, brown, etc) apply to socks and outerwear and undershirts must be navy or white. I don't think they are going to be picky about things like stripes on the collars but I feel sure we will have to make the girls button their blouses with or without a cami underneath. And as a teacher, I'm expecting to have to deal with a lot of the pushing the limits stuff. I also agree that ultimately the kids will know who has money and who doesn't. No dress code is going to solve all problems. But I do think that if it is well-written it could do a lot of good.
  15. Chelley00

    Chelley00 DIS Veteran

    Aug 21, 2005
    My 2 middle ones are in a uniform private school. Oldest DS is in a private school with a modified dress code (no writing on clothing, limits on types of jeans/pants/shirts to buy etc) Let me just say, I LOVE having the uniforms so much more than the other way. NO fighting about what to wear or what to buy, and I do think it is cheaper mainly because you really don't have to buy as much. With older DS, you can't wear the same shirt more than one every 3 weeks (the horror!) so you "need" more. The other ones can wear the same polo shirt once a week or more and no one notices. (and yes, we wash them first!) We buy a few things for church and other activities, but probably the same amount any other person buys. My daughter is non-uniform this year and she has her school clothes and her "play clothes". It will be the same this year now that she's moving into uniforms.

    We're lucky in this school has always had a dress code/ It's very up front in what you can and cannot buy, and how it has to fit. We don't have to buy the uniform company stuff as long as what we get is within the guidelines on fit, length, sizing and styles.

    The problem I'm having is finding DD slims in uniform styles. :headache:
  16. trivial

    trivial Matt in Toronto

    Oct 27, 2004
    The high school I went to had a uniform... not one single uniform, but several different options (several different shirts, polo shirts, pants, shorts, kilts, etc.). I think it ultimately had a positive effect, primarily giving everyone a sense of community, especially when at events with non-uniformed schools. It meant having to buy more clothes, but on the other hand, it means having to buy fewer regular clothes. There were rarely dress code violations, and they were dealt with by students not being able to attend classes until they were in proper dress.

    I don't think the point is to increase academic performance; school is about more than book-learning. In addition to helping foster a strong sense of community, it put everyone on a level playing field. As for stifling individuality... I think if children's individuality is limited to the clothes they wear, they don't have much individuality to stifle.
  17. TexasTodds

    TexasTodds Mouseketeer

    Dec 28, 2007
    My DS who is in 2nd grade has worn uniforms at his private school since Kindergarten. It has been so easy to deal with...here is what we have for most of the year:

    2 khaki shorts
    2 navy shorts
    1 white oxford shirt (for chapel)
    3 polos (red, navy, and greenish color
    1 "Friday" shirt purchased from school.

    I certainly feel that if he were going to a non-uniform school he would need LOTS more clothes. For winter, we do have 4 pair of pants, and 2 long sleeve polos, and a long sleeve "chapel" shirt.

    His original shorts he wore for both kinder and 1st, and the ones for this year he should be able to wear again for next year, same with pants. I bought him a new chapel shirt last year, and he has worn it this year too. The only thing I always buy is the 3 polo shirts because they start looking a little faded at year end.

    Our uniforms are the Mills brand (Sue Mills ??) and I think the quality is great. They are a little more than what you would get at Target, but probably last longer.

    Unfortunately he may not go to his school next year, as the price has gone up quite a bit, and his brother will be going into Kinder. Now I just have to see what I will have to buy if they have more clothing needs!
  18. crusoe2

    crusoe2 DIS Veteran

    May 15, 2000

    I'm so glad to see someone else say this. I think it's an excellent point. There are so many other ways to show your individuality. I would much prefer that my kids express themselves in ways that showcase their intellect or a creative talent rather than through their clothing choices. Anyone can do that. And I still maintain that most people who make the individuality argument are actually more concerned with vanity. It's hard to show off your cleavage in a properly fitting polo shirt and shapely thighs don't get much viewing time when all hemlines must be no more than 2 inches above the knee. What a shame - everyone might have to develop some conversational skills rather than relying on their "style" to get them some attention.;)
  19. Kimberly Hill

    Kimberly Hill DIS Veteran

    Mar 2, 2008
    This will be my first experience with uniforms. DD will be attending a Catholic elementary school and my boys went to public schools. The school is changing uniform companies so no details yet but I know from the school's website that for us, uniforms would be about $200 using last year's prices. No substitutions allowed, just purchases from the uniform company. We'll see...
  20. cndij

    cndij Mouseketeer

    May 14, 2008
    In our region (central NC) it seems the public schools are moving in this direction rapidly. In our school district it is still kind of scattered, but this school year at least 2 high schools went "modified uniform" my term, for Khakis (navy or khaki) shorts, pants, skirts. Absolutely NO denim. Collar Shirts: polos or button down oxfors, in 4-5 colors dependent on school, but no striped/rugby type shirts. I know several parents at each of these schools and once they got over the initial expense and late notice (like a couple of weeks before school started this was announced) they all really like it.
    In the middle schools here, this year was what I believe is moving in that direction: NO t-shirts (except on Friday and it must be in the school colors with no graphics), all pants/jeans must be worn at the waist, and shirts tucked in. When I went to my neice' open house this year there were posters all over the school saying pull them up/tuck it in. This coming year, we have hear they are moving to the khaki/collar shirt thing, but the details/colors have not been released. I am having to carefully control my "summer wardrobe" shopping for them with the thought in mind, that none of this is going to work for school. Previously summer clothes I bought for them, could be worn for school clothes until November.

    Overall I think this a positive trend, when compared to the sloppiness/gang identity wear that has been the trend prior.

  21. Magic Mom

    Magic Mom <font color=teal>EVERYONE has the God given right

    Mar 11, 2008
    AH! You are my hero for posting this. I hate that argument (uniforms stifle individuality:headache: ). If my child's individuality is wrapped up solely in her looks, then I have failed her.
    I am all for her expressing her personality through her appearance (to a limit of course.) but she can do that at home.
    However, her (or anyone's) individuality...the things about her that express who she is and make her unique.... should have more to do with her character and actions then the fabric she covers herself with.

    My kids have gone to schools with and without uniform policies. Personally I prefer uniforms. I like the atmosphere it creates. And if my child wants to express her individuality at school, then I'll tell her to plan an extra special science project...:thumbsup2

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