Uniforms and Dress Code Policies

Last night, I was watching the Grammy’s and boy-oh-boy were there some fashion faux pas as well as a few age-inappropriate outfits. Let’s take Madonna as an example…we all know that Madonna is a rebel. Yes, she is. But rebellion and fashion appropriateness for a 56-year-old entertainer should be taken into consideration when dressing for an event such as the Grammy’s (in my humble opinion of course). If you did not see her Red Carpet outfit, Madonna wore a sexy matador outfit that she happened to hike up to expose the cheeks of her buttocks.

What is the fashion and entertainment world coming to?

I love fashion and those that take risks; however, I also love a woman that is secure in her maturity and can be sexy without showing all of her assets as Annie Lennox, a 60 year-old singer-songwriter, did by wearing a black sequined blazer and pant suit. We were able to commend her for her voice and performance rather than focusing on the question, “What the heck are you wearing?”

All that to say what? Should kids be able to wear whatever they want at school? Should there be a dress code or uniform policy and if so, how will these policies effect student achievement?

My personal experience is one of uniforms and dress codes. I have attended Catholic schools my entire K-12 years. I have been impacted by this phenomenon so that I refuse to wear: plaid, Peter Pan collars, bright nail polish on my fingertips, dye my hair to lightly, or wear keds or K-Swiss tennis shoes.

The benefits of my uniform wearing was that my parents school shopped once a year; we didn’t know which families could afford expensive items because we all wore the same thing; I didn’t have to spend much time choosing what to wear to school each day; and gangs existed outside of school and not visible through clothing while we were in school. We were actually at school to learn and become productive members of the community based on our school’s mission.

As the administrator of a school that is 100% SES and free lunch, I have gone back and forth with my Leadership team regarding the possibility of becoming a uniform school. I am definitely a supporter of this idea but I am also a supporter of individual choice, therefore as of now, we enforce the dress code that is uniform throughout the district.

Even with having a dress code, the real question is: does wearing uniforms effect student achievement? In the article below, it states there is research to support positive attendance gains and behavioral improvements such as gang activity, fights and sexual offenses; however, there was no evidence that it supports academic achievement.

Do we need a dress code policy? I say yes. According to the article, as a result, dress codes reduce crime and make it less likely that students will bring weapons to school. Safety is the number one priority on my campus and throughout the campuses in my district.

With the benefits found in the article regarding uniforms, implementing this policy may encourage my site in building a community and to assist in changing our culture and climate. it may result in less bullying and fights as well as being able to immediately spot a trespasser on our campus. The safety component alone would be worth the try.

Take a look at this article and see what you think: http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/way-kids-dress-affect-school-16454.htm


4 thoughts on “Uniforms and Dress Code Policies

  1. I completely agree. Parents have to vote for the policy, which happened at my site years ago. I don’t have comparison data, but I can say all three schools in our zone are uniform and it’s strictly enforced. All three schools are in the top ten of the district for academics. I rarely get parent complaints about uniform, but when I do, it’s usually from a parent who is fighting the wrong battle. It’s usually their child who can’t follow other rules and expectations regarding homework and behavior.


  2. Great post! I agree that the world of entertainment is so lavishing that is limits the term, “leave something to the imagination!” The sad reality is that young children, who view this behavior, try to mimic this fashion.
    As it relates to schools, I see the value that uniforms could have. Too many times students are more worried about their clothes that their education takes the back seat. At the same time, it is a balancing act. Some folks struggle to dress their children due to financial problems, so it is important to a clothes closet.
    It is also important to have a good roll out plan, parents and students do mot like last minute changes. This could be avoided by giving yourself a year to implement, hold parent meetings, and get buy in from staff.

    Great blog!


  3. Having been a child of the 80s, I love Madonna, but really? There does come a time when you have to realize that some things are just not good for you any more. Unfortunately today’s role models are less than “good” role models when it comes to dress (among other things).
    I have always been a huge proponent of uniforms but unfortunately have never worked where I could wear one. (Unless the coat, Wellingtons and cap I wore at the chicken factory in England count?) Even though there may be a cost in the beginning, benefits definitely outweigh the cost, both monetarily and educationally. When students are able to focus on their education and not have to worry about appearance,, gangs and “keeping up with the Jones’ ” they are able to concentrate on more important things!


    • Entertainers are pretty “out there,” and unfortunately set very poor examples for our children – especially girls. I actually would go so far as to say a lot of female entertainers actually present their bodies as being “for sale,” while on stage, and then withdraw the offer after the performances are over. If we do not teach our children and students to honor and protect their bodies, entertainers will be their teachers.

      As far as uniforms go, I believe that if we establish a fair, but firm dress code policies, students will at least have a point of reference. The teachers at my school are pretty good about helping students maintain acceptable standards for attire, especially the middle school teachers. Sometimes students push our buttons just to find out what the reaction will be, but for the most part, students remain within the parameters of appropriateness and modesty.


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