Amending Bishop Kenny's Top Button Uniform Policy
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While with good intent, the Bishop Kenny top button policy has disrupted an otherwise great learning environment for myself and countless others. After meeting with dozens of students, it is clear that I am not the only one advocating for this. Keeping the top button unbuttoned behind the Dean's back is common practice for hundreds of male students around campus. They are not trying to be disruptive, but to learn comfortably. I feel that this is necessary because many students, myself included, have been unfairly prosecuted despite the fact that we are doing nothing wrong.
Regarding The Statement:
While my statement is long, it is because I felt the need to counter every single argument that administration might take before I even meet with them. It is important for them to have a good understanding of this issue through the eyes of a student. If you have time, please read, and enjoy.
The Full Statement:
A month ago I would not have written this, as I had no reason to. However that all changed one fateful day when a particular Dean, who will remain unnamed, spotted that my top button was unbuttoned. There is a common misconception with Authority where they think if their rules aren't followed it’s simply because the people under their rule are trying to rebel. But, in this case, it could not be more far from the truth. I, like many others, keep my top button unbuttoned because the collar and tie is too tight for my neck. It makes it harder to breath, focus, work, and even eat. We do it because keeping the top button unbuttoned is actually comfortable and keeps us from constantly thinking about what we are wearing. Don't uniforms exist in the first place to keep us from thinking about that? I could go a size up, but I guess I have a big neck as the size up is still tight and uncomfortable. Is it really expected for me to go TWO SIZES UP? Would that not look worse than simply keeping your top button undone? Well, I guess this Dean doesn't think so, as time and time again I picked up pink slips until I had had enough. I told this Dean that the collar was too tight and that it was affecting my academic performance when the top button was buttoned. The Dean told me to buy a bigger shirt. When I said the bigger shirt looks more ridiculous than not buttoning the top button, the Dean said, “That's not my problem.”
Well the Dean was right, it wasn't their problem-it was mine. Time and time again the Bishop Kenny Administration has made it clear that they want everyone to look the exact same, no matter the cost. I had once thought BK was a ‘College Preparatory School’, but is college not about learning to be your own person; to find out your passions and interests? And upon review, I have realized that BK was not preparing us for college, it was breeding conformity and preparing us to all be the same. If this is a college preparatory school, then why can't we make a simple adjustment to our uniform to make our learning experience better? Why can't we make our own simple decision regarding something small and harmless to make our daily lives somewhat easier?
Another point I think I have to make is the unfairness in the uniforms when it comes to gender. Girls are allowed to keep their top buttons unbuttoned, and I have no problem with this as they can actually learn without having to deal with a constantly chafed and chocked neck. So why do us guys have to keep our top button buttoned? Another argument I feel I must make is the difference in gender performance at school. “The school's advanced placement classes, which admit only the most qualified students, are often 70 percent to 80 percent girls,” and, “Girls succeed over boys in school because they are more apt to plan ahead, set academic goals, and put effort into achieving those goals.” With this being said, would it not be reasonable to assume that us guys could use all the help we can get? If so, then why should we have to take our attention away from learning for something so minuscule as a top button.
I understand that BK has good intentions with this legislature. I do not blame anyone for making this decision as theoretically, it is a good idea. However good intentions do not always provide intended results, and when something would seem to work in theory, that does not mean it works in reality. There are always outside factors to any rule or decision that can be overlooked, yet have a real impact on the final result. Just because something looks nice does not mean it's for the best. I feel I must also counter the argument “But we are just preparing you for the real world, where you have to wear ties.” This may be true, but we are the only school that forces male students to keep a tie and top button on daily, setting us at a disadvantage. Even if you have to wear a tie in the real world, at least you have the option to pick a shirt that fits you properly, as we do not.
This is why I had to write this article, and start a change.org petition; not because I want to disrespect the school or anyone in it; not to cause disruption and chaos around campus, but because I believe that as a human being I have a right to be comfortable and learn at a school that my parents pay good money for. Everyone sent to Bishop Kenny is sent here because their parents are firm believers that they are sending their child to a place of better education; a place where their children could learn more than they would if they were sent somewhere else. So why take two steps backwards, when we can take one simple step forward? This is why I ask the BK Administration with a humble heart to at least consider amending the boys top button uniform policy. Believe it or not, the majority of people who break this rule aren't troublemakers, they are not trying to cause trouble, they are trying to learn comfortably.
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