September 27th, 2019
Uniform requirements outdated after pandemic
WED. | 03-24-21 | OPINION
Since Mar. 13, 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has shut down schools worldwide and has left many students learning from home. Nearly a year later, students are finally beginning to go back to school as they were before. I believe school uniform policy should be the least of their worries.
Even before the pandemic, my attitude toward uniforms has been that they cause unnecessary problems. Problems that could be avoided if school systems would just get rid of uniform policies.
Prior to the schools going virtual, Pitt County Schools had a dress code that was enforced for all of the students in the county. Although the dress code became more lenient over the years, I still do not understand why they don't just let students wear what they want to a certain extent.
Throughout elementary and middle school, I always thought that the school uniforms limited student's ability to express their individuality. Aside from that, I just never really wanted to wear something that someone else had already picked out for me. Joyce Tetteh, a mother of two, stressed over finding the money to purchase uniforms for her children and needed to find extra support when she “thought she had no options.” I think it is unfair for a school system to tell families that they need to go buy these specific clothes in order for their children to be able to go to school. For some families, the only clothing their children have are all hand-me-downs or things that people have given to them. When in
Graphic by Mckinsey Burt
financial situations like that, families are willing to take whatever clothing available. Although, I believe most kids don't really pay attention or notice how expensive other students' clothing is, it is understandable that some students might feel uncomfortable wearing hand-me downs when they see some of their peers wearing more expensive name brands. Ultimately, I still think the risk of wearing less expensive name brands is a better option than families struggling every year to buy new uniforms. I don't really think schools should make such a big deal when a student's jacket had a logo or if their t-shirt had a sports team on it.
I do believe that certain boundaries do need to be put in place to ensure that children's attire is appropriate, not offensive and not distracting. But normally the dress code policy is very extensive and has unnecessary precautions put in place specifically to limit what girls are allowed to wear. Not only are certain rules put in place for the girls, but those same rules are not usually enforced onto the boys. When I was in middle school I remember wanting to wear shorts to school but having to make sure they pass my fingertips. That rule was very strictly enforced upon me and all the other girls in my grade. The problem was that it was overlooked when it came to boys. I knew many boys that would wear shorts that were above their fingertips and they were not penalized or humiliated by having to get told they have to change into other clothes. Not only did the uniform policies cause families to go out of their way to purchase clothes that will only be worn to school, they are also unfair to girls and can humiliate students by forcing them to change if their attire does not meet the ridiculous requirements.
COVID-19, and the changes that schools have made to adapt, have given a lot of perspective on what is actually important. Students Zoom into their classes daily from home to talk to their teachers and peers with their cameras on. At home, teachers do not expect the students to wear a uniform and as long as it's appropriate, I don't see why they can't do the same for face-to-face. Once everyone returns back to their normal school routine, we will just be lucky to be allowed back into the building all together again and that stressing over enforcing a school uniform policy is unnecessary and a waste of time.
When students go back to school full-time, the uniform policy should be eliminated. The county should be thankful that the students are coming back and learning in a classroom again. The last thing that they need to worry about is whether or not a student's outfit meets the county's tedious requirements.