(Copyright 1997. All rights reserved.)

The Tattoo

--- Making a Permanent Impression Since 1994 ---

October 7, 1997

Khakis, white shirts create uniform woes

By KATHLEEN HAYNES
Tattoo Staff Writer

Ties, knee socks, polyester and plaid: the new
look for public schools? It just may be.

There's a new trend in America but it's not
popular with everyone.
  
Pilot schools across the country have recently
started test programs to try to cut down on
competition -- and more recently violence -- by
making kids in public schools wear uniforms.

Kids in schools throughout the states starting
at elementary levels are feeling pressure to
wear the "in" clothes. However, they are also
getting beat up and robbed of them if they do.

To some, school uniforms seem to be a good
solution to the problem. School administrators
and parents like the idea, however the students
who would be wearing the uniforms disagree. 

I am starting my third year at St. Paul Catholic
High School, a private school in Bristol where
uniforms are required.

Everyone is instructed to wear khaki or navy
blue dress pants and a white or blue dress
shirt.

There is no ease in competition here, though.
Students just go out and buy name-brand khakis
and shirts. There is no less competition here
than there would be anywhere else.

People against school uniforms argue that
students should have the right to express
themselves, as long as it isn't harmful to
anyone.

But just what is harmful?

Could T-shirts with tobacco or alcohol logos on
them give impressionable first graders the wrong
idea? How about nuns with guns?  Where do you
draw the line?

And don't forget the Bill of Rights. America is
all about freedom. Freedom of speech, freedom of
religion, freedom of expression. Now people are
taking that freedom -- freedom that was fought
so hard for -- to do something that isn't even
working that well.
  
So what is a student to wear?

It seems clear to many people that you should
just grin and bear it and face the embarrassment
by wearing less fashionable clothes rather than
get hurt, but sometimes humiliation can be worse
than physical pain.

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