School Uniforms
So, we need an agenda.
I think we should start with background on school uniforms, and then have the attendees discuss their position.
Oh, maybe that academic controversy lesson plan format King taught us.

I think we should address expensive brand name clothes versus cheaper clothing. I believe that many students are ashamed if they are poor and usually other kids make fun or bully them. One easy way kids are assuming others are poor are the clothes they wear.

This thing is ridiculi! I wrote three things and it erased them...and yes I saved them.
Anywho, we should have video clips. Fresh prince of bel air shows uniforms can be individualized and family matters shows a student being shot because they will not give up their new fancy shoes.
Oh, and Jen you rock my world girl!

I. Introduction
  1. History of School Uniforms
  2. Statistics

II. Pro's

  1. Less Violence
  2. Video: Fresh Prince
  3. Non-Revealing
  4. Self-esteem

III. Con's

  1. No Individuality
  2. Cost
  3. Video: PInk Floyd

IV. Final Words

Check this link out. I thought the comment on social leveler was interesting. They commented that kids wearing gang colors is only an inner-city problem. I have encountered it at my placement this spring, even to the color of popsicle stick my students' name is on.

In the above link, it made a comment about uniforms versus dress codes and I just want to make a comment. At Hedrick, my mom is in charge of handing out the shirts for students who break the dress code (mainly girls showing too much cleavage). When she gets the studnets, she gives them a old PE shirt and they go change in the bathroom and then bring their shirt to her and at the end of the day they can come back and change and get their shirt. It is the end of the year, and she has some students who have 15 of the PE shirts, which means she has their shirt. To me, this says that these students are craving a modest (or clean - language wise) shirt. They have decided that to get their shirts back, and give the students their shirts back they are going to charge them $8 per shirt.

There is also the hispanic parents in medford who petitioned the school district to get uniforms since because their kids were hispanic and wore the "hispanic fashion" were associated with gangs.

I was thinking we could have testimonies from Jen who went to a Catholic school and had uniforms and from Yaniv who grew up in Seattle without all the privileges (no offense Yaniv).

Okay, so here is what I was thinking for the agenda (only a few changes):

i. Introduction (15 minutes)
  • History of uniforms (have the summary projected on a overhead, smart board, power point)
  • Statistics (handout)

ii. Pros (20 minutes)
  • Reduced violence
  • Fresh Prince video
  • Modesty
  • Self - esteem

iii. Cons (20 minutes)
  • No individuality
  • Cost
  • Pink Floyd Video

iv. Making a Decision (50 minutes)
  • Testimonies (30 minutes)
    • Jen
    • Yaniv
  • Academic Controversy Outline (so they can take what they have learned back to their schools/district and have a controlled and productive way to discuss school uniforms; we would give them a handout)

v. Final Words (15 minutes)
  • Making a decision needs to be thought about in depth
    • Students - their safety and needs need to be considered
    • Cost - if it will be a huge cost on the district's part should be considered
    • Learning Environment - if it will enhance and encourage a stronger, safer learning environment needs to considered
  • Handout resource list

Yaniv's Testimony

Growing up in a low income single parent situation was very difficult at times. My mother didn’t have a job and we relied on the government’s assistance and anyone else who would help. To make things more complicated, we lived in 5 states before I reached the 6th grade. I was always the new kid which had its own separate adversities to overcome. Trying to fit was a must for me.

One way to fit in was to look normal. Normal can mean many things to many different people but I think we can all agree that we live in a society that demands us to look and act a certain way. One example is the tremendous amount of pressure on young ladies who feel they have to look like the models in magazines and other media sources. One way to do that is wearing designer clothing. The schools I attended were definitely a part of this culture. I remember a certain type of shoes that all the boys wore. Those shoes were Air Jordan’s. Air Jordan’s were $130.00 and many kids wore them. I had a pair of used white Keds purchased from a thrift store which I wrote Nike Air on the side with a black sharpie. This was one of my methods of fitting in.

We all know that kids can be very mean to other kids. Some of the targets are overweight, foreign and poor students. One easy way to avoid being a target was to have nice brand name clothes that other students admired. Teachers can only do so much. As a Health teacher, I speak about bullying and the severe consequences of it. A teacher can only do so much when they compete with an extremely strong media driven country.

So how do we help students who don’t “fit in”? One way is to have all students wear the same clothes. Students will still make fun of each other but I really believe this would help reduce the separation of the different social classes. There are many different reasons one could argue for school uniforms but I want to focus on being bullied and what that does to a student’s self esteem. I would also like to mention that when I say school uniforms, I mean head to toe, even the same shoes.

In my experience working in schools, I notice that many students do not have a high self esteem, mostly from media sources. Having students wear the same uniforms will create a sense of feeling equal amongst each other. Students are smart enough these days to create their own style so I’m sure they would come up with their own unique ways to wear their uniforms however, they all have the same uniforms regardless of the student’s income situation.

I could write pages about the adversities I had to overcome because of the situation I was in. I hated coming to school and hear kids whisper about my fake Nikes. There was another time there were Reeboks at the thrift store and I was so excited……then I found out they were girls shoes because they had three velcro straps opposed to the boys which had two. This was an easy fix but it took a kid making fun me for having girl shoes before I could rip one strap off of each shoe to make them look like boy shoes. I did all of this so I could fit in. I didn’t want kids to know that my situation made me a different person or less cool then they were.
Another issue I have is what some of the females are wearing. Again this is media driven but young teenage girls should not be dressing as provocative as they are today. I’m sure many fathers agree. The message these girls are sending is the wrong message when they are wearing the low-cut jeans Brittney Spears wore in her music video.

In the end, what we want for our students is to create a stage for students to learn and focus on their education. School uniforms help this cause in every way. No one can be judged by the clothes they wear. I don’t see how anyone could argue against school uniforms. If you disagree, I would like you to ask a seventh grader at your school to buy a pair of used non-brand name shoes and write Nike on the side. After the end of the day, ask him or her if anybody made fun of them. I would take the over on that bet.