Washington needs a uniform

Image provided by FUSD.

When a student steps into school, there is not a choice behind it. For good reason, we are coerced into going to school. If you do not like public education, your option is tens of thousands in private school tuition, or home schooling. What happens, what you see, and what you learn at school is mostly forced upon you. That is why there is a curriculum with guidelines and school rules about conduct. Why, then, has a dress code been almost entirely thrown to the wayside? In most classrooms, a diagram showing the dress code can be shown. The rules are as follows: buttocks must be covered, midriffs not showing, and shirts and dresses must have straps. Along with this, the dress code prohibits hats indoors, gang symbols, chains, and spikes. However, this dress code is not enforced. 

What is the reason the dress code is not enforced? Imagine, like it was in the past, a teacher pulling out a ruler and measuring the length of a girl’s skirt. Such a school environment seems genuinely repressive, and impractical. Teachers are likely not willing to pull out rulers, nor are the administrators able to handle 3,000 kids dressing as they wish, pushing the boundaries. A system like this will fail – instead, there should be a uniform, taking the decision out of the hands of the students.

Instead of expressing ourselves through physical things, even backpacks, chains, or jewelry, we have forgotten about character and who we are as people.

For much of history, until just recently, almost all schools had a uniform. In the modern day, there are so many issues that have been caused, if anything, by the lack of uniforms. Classism, body image issues, and isolation at school are influenced by the lack of a uniform. Many would argue there are issues that uniforms create, but these are miniscule. For example, some say self-expression is crucial, but it should be asked, why? School is not a popularity contest, nor a runway. A place for education does not need self-expression; that can stay at home. Instead of expressing ourselves through physical things, even backpacks, chains, or jewelry, we have forgotten about character and who we are as people. Some people may be uncomfortable in uniforms, with the uniform not being the correct size, etc., but while these are valid concerns, a school without a uniform has the same issues. Many now are not comfortable in the clothes they wear, or are wearing hand-me-downs that don’t fit. We cannot solve peoples’ wardrobe problems, but we can adjust a uniform. Even more so, with a uniform in place for PE, there is no sign of this discomfort being something that cannot be overcome. Ultimately, it is a thing people will adjust to. A decision should be made for the future: will there be people in bikinis, or people in uniforms? What is the future for school?

It is pretty evident that in the state of affairs of today, there is not a massive shift toward more conservative views of what school should be. People want to feel free, as in society there is an urge for freedom, but perhaps we should acknowledge that “freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.”

About the author

Venya Karpelevitch is a junior at Washington High School. He has lived and grown up in Fremont, California. This is his first year at The Hatchet. His journalistic interests are politics and Jewish issues. His hobbies include video games, biking, and debate. He plans on pursuing chemistry in college, as well as learning at a yeshiva.

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