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Get rid of school uniforms for Bay County Florida!

This petition had 393 supporters

                I moved to Florida ten years ago.  I was astonished to find out that the public school system had a uniform policy, not just a general dress code policy.  While this did not affect me personally at first, there were employees that I worked with who had to leave work to address such concerns.  However, my involvement and concern changed when I had a child four years ago. I have been dreading the day that I would have to adhere to a uniform policy.

                One argument that I’ve heard in support of the uniform policy is that it saves money.  The argument is that since the clothes are the same colors that less would have to be purchased.  However, what happens in reality is that children would need two sets of clothes instead, one for school and one for any other time. These clothes would not likely be purchased, if not for the uniform policy.  As such, there is no way that it could save money. 

                Another argument is that uniforms keep students focused on their education, not their clothes.  However, with the discipline for violating this policy, including suspension, it seems clear that what a person wears to school trumps their education.  A friend of mine was called to leave her job because her daughter did not have a belt on.  The daughter was removed from class and forced to sit at the office until her mother came with a belt or different pair of pants.  The message is clear, then, that what the students wear is more important than what they may learn in class that day, or the days they may be suspended for.

                Uniforms negatively affect self-image.  Everyone’s bodies are different, especially children.  My daughter is thin and tall. It is very difficult to find pants that fit around the waist snugly and that are still long enough.  While some students may struggle with finding pants that fit their waist line or any other issues with clothing.  The dress code for Bay County schools state “no baggy pants”, however, some children may only feel comfortable in such clothing.   By enforcing the uniform policy, we are body shaming the children into wearing things that do not fit well for them and by doing so; we are taking their concentration off their school work when they are uncomfortable all day.

                It seems that the School Board wants to make it easier to enforce the dress code, so by putting a uniform policy in effect, it makes it easier for teachers or staff.  However, is easier really the qualifier that we want to go by?  Instead of addressing the few concerns that may be violating the dress code, they are making everyone adhere to spending more money to buy uniforms that they would not otherwise, they are taking away individualism and negatively affect students self-image.  Is easier then really worth it when taking that into effect?

                In the end, all of these issues are almost beside the point.  Parents should be able to choose their children’s clothing without government interference.  Tax money is used to support the school system.  Public schools are supposed to be free for students.  By enforcing a specific uniform policy, it is not free, but traps parents into spending money they would not otherwise.  My child, and any others in this County, deserves a public education, regardless if she dresses in the school approved uniforms or in her own clothes.    You can say all your want that it is practice for the real world, because most employers have a dress code.  You would be right; most employers do have a dress code.  But we are speaking specifically about a mandated uniform policy, not just a simple dress code.  Also, a person chooses to go to work at a specific place in exchange for a pay check.  It is a choice there.  Public schools are supposed to be available to everyone and anyone, also children need to go to school.

                There are many websites that offer the pro and con list about school uniform choice.  In the end, I believe that it should be parent’s choice.  If they want to continue to buy school uniform like clothing for their children, then they can.  However, other parents should not be forced into doing the same.  The reasons to support a school uniform do not outweigh the reasons against it, for example, the price, taking away parents control, individuality and providing a truly free education in a public school system.  A simple dress code would be preferred where it does not limit individuality or body shame anyone would be preferable.  Anyone would detracts from the simple dress code would then be subject to disciplinary action.  A simple dress code would eliminate the need to buy an extra set of clothing; children could wear clothes that are comfortable for their body size/shape, as well as expressing their individuality.

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