--- Making a Permanent Impression Since 1994 ---
October 7, 1997
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.