The Great Debate school Uniforms
Sample - 2178 words essay topic, essay writing: The Great Debate-school Uniforms
.. hed an out-of-court settlement granting a student an exemption from that district's uniform policy for religious reasons. Previously, the district had denied all requests for exemptions, even those based on religious objections. The decision was made to grant the exemption on the eve of the scheduled court date. The district will also amend its policy to allow religious exemptions ('Student' 1).
Thus, the best way to protect a policy from potentially successful legal challenge is to follow the advice and the lead of those with successful policies and permit parents an opt out provision (United 3). When policies are set in place with no opt out, overzealous enforcement often takes place causing a myriad of problems. In Polk County, the district office ordered that their mandatory uniform policy was to be vigorously enforced. In an effort to ensure parental cooperation with the policy, the Superintendent of Schools threatened to seek criminal charges against parents who did not send their children in compliant clothing. Glenn Reynolds, Polk County Superintendent of Schools, said of parents who do not follow the code, 'we feel it's contributing to the delinquency of a child' (Cimino 'Polk' 1)
What results from this aggressive enforcement is all too often a source of confusion for parents and school staff. Cyndee
Smith, a Polk County parent who had been extremely pleased when the School Board voted in the uniform policy, changed her mind following a conflict over her son's shirt color. Workers at his school deemed the shirt to be forest green when the policy demanded hunter green. He was forbidden by school officials to wear the shirt again (Cimino 'Uniform' 1). Samantha Bonilla's son, a second grader, encountered a similar problem.
He wore a pair of pants left over from the previous school year and was deemed to be noncompliant because the pants were too faded (1). In classrooms all over Polk County, daily uniform inspections are conducted on the more than fifty thousand students affected by this policy (2). Enforcement of the Polk County uniform policy varies from school to school which causes a great deal of confusion for parents trying to comply. Some schools will not allow a stripe or trim on shirt collars or pants legs while others permit them (3). In one such case, a student used a marker, with a teacher's help, to color in a stripe on his pants leg so that he could return to class.
'He didn't want to miss school,' the teacher said (quoted in Ferrante 3). Yet, at a different school, a principal may base a decision on the size of a stripe and if the 'spirit' of the policy is honored. If so, a stripe may be permissible. The lack of consistent enforcement is a serious drawback with this sort of policy. Often shades of an official color cause disagreements between parents and school staff.
A school principal said, regarding shades of color, 'If I had to pick the biggest problem, it would be the color blue. The (school sanctioned) navy is very dark blue. . . but we see royal blue, sky blue and jeans that are faded' (1).
Even as recently as February 2000, over half way through the school year, the suspensions continue due to conflicts over compliant clothing. A middle school student at Boone Middle School in Haines City was recently suspended over the color of his sweater. School administrators claimed that the sweater was black and his mother insisted that it was navy blue, an approved color. His mother contacted the manufacturer to verify that it was blue. She was told that the company did not make that particular style in black, so it was definitely blue. Despite the evidence, her son, an honor student with an excellent record, was suspended during the week of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Tests (F-CATS) (Sager 1).
If a parent interprets a color or style of clothing differently than school administrators, the parent consistently loses and must purchase more clothing that is deemed acceptable by the staff ('Uniform' 1). Another major problem with policies which are too vigorously enforced is the humiliation and fear suffered by the children who are never quite sure if they will be singled out as noncompliant (Cimino 'Uniform' 2). In some cases, enforcement borders on the criminal. One of the most egregious acts of enforcement occurred on August 12, 1999. A sixth-grade girl, an honor student, wore a school T-shirt and a pair of navy 'Capri' pants which her parents had specifically purchased in accordance with the written uniform policy provided by the school.
The parent reported, 'When I saw my daughter, I knew instantly that something was wrong.' The mother had been called to the school and informed that her daughter's 'Capri' pants did not meet the uniform requirements. The reason the assistant principal gave was that the pants contained 4% spandex. According to the uniform policy, spandex clothing is forbidden. When the mother later asked her daughter how the school official had determined the fabric content of her pants, her daughter informed her that the overzealous administrator had reached inside of the child's pants to read the tag. Despite calls to district offices and law enforcement, no punitive action was taken against the administrator (McCall 1).
In another case, a nine-year-old boy was forced to change out of his shirt into a loaner in a closet. He was denied his request to call his mother. When his mother asked the school to show her the closet where her son changed, the school refused her request stating that if she was shown the closet, she might go to the media (Anna 1). One nine-year-old boy's mother sent a note with him to school asking to be called if his clothing should be ruled noncompliant so that she could bring him a change of clothing. The school staff refused to call her and told the child to either change his shirt into a loaner, or be sent to the in school suspension room.
He complied with the demand to change, and was up vomiting all night due to nervous upset ('Uniform' 3). In one parental account, a five-year-old girl wore a pair of over-alls depicting the
Disney character Winnie the Pooh. According to her father, she was called to the Principal's office and told 'if she didn't start dressing right she would be in trouble' (3). Throughout Polk County accounts like this are common. Unfortunately, in an effort to appear firm and forced to operate under strict directives from the district office, staff is placed in the position of being the fashion police.
In Polk County, where previously parents and teachers worked together, there is now a large amount of division in the name of uniformity. What would you do if your elementary aged child came home from school crying, telling you that he/she had been pulled out of line on his/her way to class, stood against a wall, and made to wait while all the other children went to class? Your child then tells you that the clothes you purchased for school, following the school's Code of Conduct guidelines, were deemed unacceptable by the principal and he/she was forced, under threat of punishment, to change into loaned, approved clothing. You are told, through sobs, of your child's humiliation and fear at being 'in trouble.' How do you feel knowing that you are responsible for your child's discomfiture? After all, you purchased the clothes in good faith and sent your child to school confident that he/she was appropriately garbed. Imagine that you call the principal to inquire about the confusion and your child's state of emotional upset. You are told that you will have to purchase more clothing that is deemed acceptable by the principal or your child will be punished and denied an
education. You were trying to follow the rules.
Yet you, the parent, are told that your best judgement is wrong and that you have no recourse. There is no flexibility. Situations such as this are encountered on a daily basis by parents whose children are subject to a public school, mandatory uniform policy. Why does this occur? All empirical research in existence shows, beyond question that uniforms are ineffective as the magic bullet proponents claim them to be. In a culture where all too often our children do not have textbooks, education dollars are being squandered in courtrooms defending uniform policies destined to be deemed illegal.
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School Uniforms Currently in America an on going debate continues regarding a uniformpolicy suggested to public and private schools. This develops into acontroversial issue because valid argument exist on both sides. Giving thisissue much thought has lead me to believe that making school uniforms mandatorywould help