6 Dumbest Things Schools Do to “Protect Kids”

Hi Readers — This “Dumbest Things” piece by the folks at Cracked is so perfect, click and enjoy. And remember, back when Cracked used to be the runner-up to Mad, I wrote scads of articles for it. (Just not recently, when it became brilliant social commentary.)

Favorite Dumbest Thing schools are doing to “protect” kids? Well, it’s a toss up between the school banning ALL photography (lest it lead to and/or become child porn), and the individual radio frequency i.d. tags that a school purchased to track kids…except that if a kid IS somehow abducted from the school grounds, the signal stops beeping 100 feet away.

Fight the madness, and enjoy the captions. They’re the best. — L.

105 Responses

  1. My favorite is kids can’t bring food from home! I send my kids a lunch because I don’t think the school food is healthy! I send raw fruits and veggies everyday for them to eat. I would be pretty pissed if I was told they must eat the food the school serves!

  2. LOL
    “… so I should just turn myself in now? He won’t let go.”


  3. Hilarious! …and spot on.

  4. Why homeschooling is looking more and more appealing…

  5. I would think if kids were forced to eat the cafeteria food, and developed allergies, behavioral disorders, food poisoning,or other health problems from it the school would be afraid of a lawsuit.

  6. School food is so unhealthy that we wouldn’t consider purchasing. Our vegetarian friends have nearly no choices (except pb&j), so also always pack lunch. If they made lunch sensu Jamie Oliver – maybe it’d be ok – but, they don’t.

    RFID? Are they kidding? It IS a brave new world.

  7. I’d heard about the no lunches, which means my kid would opt for hunger (and the resulting learning losses and behavior problems that went along with that) because he says the school food “looks like dog food and smells dead”

    I do like the idea of the dress code violators having to wearing something outrageous. It just needs to be implemented in a way that doesn’t appeal to the kids, so they wouldn’t want to do it.

  8. @mom2cne, but do they have to be prison jumpsuits?

    We already use so much prison terminology in our schools (lockdown, zero-tolerance), and tend to treat students like they’re in prison (random K9 searches, all entry/exits locked). Do we need to dress them like that too, for a relatively minor infraction?

  9. When my daughter went to school, (we now homeschool) her school was one of the schools that bought meat from the slaughter house that was in the news about 5 years ago for pushing the downer cows in with tazers and dozers. I let my daughter eat school lunches twice a month, and usually she picked the days with cheese burgers. Great, wonderful, my husband was doing research on Mad Cow Disease at the time, and the school makes my daughter a test subject. (So far it looks like she was in the control group.)

    I have to wonder too, do the schools that make this rule of no outside food make the teachers eat the food too? Did any of them read “Fast Food Nation?” Our fast food places get better quality meat than our schools. Yup, and with budget cuts, the Simpson’s with their milk made with chalk and meat “now more testicles” is a good bet in some districts.

    Yup, we will keep on homeschooling. The really sad thing is, while Cracked was trying to be funny, it is all true. And so, so stupid.

  10. Well, no but having a shirt that says something like “I’m not mature enough to make proper clothing choices so the principal had to make them for me” wouldn’t be a terrible thing with some plain, high waisted pants. It would (hopefully) be embarrassing enough that kids wouldn’t want to break the rules to “get” to wear the punishment outfit, like they talked about in the article.

  11. […] Read more: 6 Dumbest Things Schools Do to “Protect Kids” […]

  12. If they try to feed my kid any of this crap http://americanlunchroom.com/ and tell me he can’t bring his own, we’re home schooling.

  13. My kids’ middle school has the “no touching” policy. It’s ridiculous. When my daughter’s friend came back to school after her grandmother died, her friends weren’t allowed to hug her. When my husband went to the school for career day, my daughter almost got in trouble for hugging her own father!

  14. Our high school may be getting the RFID’s. It’s from a grant so it’s “free”. They already have a few security camera’s around, but they say there are places the kids can go that the camera’s can’t see. I guess they don’t realize that high schoolers are TRYING to have a little privacy and they’ll find ways around this one too. As long as there’s no sex or drugs in the hallways, what’s the big deal?

    The captions on the pictures were great!

  15. I remember a time in junior high, a girl found out that her baby cousin had been killed in a fire. She put her head down on the lunch table p and began to cry. Her boyfriend tried to comfort her by gently rubbing her back (between the shoulders, not even the lower back). The lunch monitor promptly told him to stop because it was “inappropriate touching”. Because, you know, there’s no possible reason for a boy to touch a girl except dirty, filthy sex. *groan*

  16. I guess picky eaters like mine get to starve. My kid hates 95% of the school menu. If forced to buy lunch every day, she’d only eat once or twice a week.

    And is everyone going to get free lunch or would I have to pay to buy food my child won’t eat?

  17. The dress code violation thing is dumb but why does it belong on this list? I don’t think even the schools are claiming it’s about safety.

    Actually, I like mom2cne’s suggestion. Something mildly embarrassing IS in order, but the prison attire is inappropriate. Actually I think detentions are best for this kind of violation but I realize that’s not very workable in elementary school.

  18. The prison uniform one made me laugh because it made me think of my daughter’s reaction to hearing that her school was going to have uniforms starting this year. She was in tears, and no matter how often I explained what the uniforms would look like, she was upset.

    Finally official word on the uniforms came out. Just as I told her, khaki or dark blue pants, and a small range of colors in polo shirts. She was so relieved, and suddenly happy again.

    It turned out that she thought the school uniform would be grey shirt, grey pants, and the girls would have to cut their hair short. Hopefully next time she’ll tell me more about what’s upsetting her with such things. If she had gone into that much detail about her worries the many times I asked her what she expected the uniform to be, I could have told her it wouldn’t happen.

  19. 1. The snide remarks about Texas weren’t necessary and not appreciated, Cracked, and

    2. Why parents aren’t pushing back against this crap is beyond me. (Maybe they are, but not successfully, apparently.) I would raise Cain if my kids’ school tried to implement most of these.

  20. Hey Lenore. I reinstalled my operating system and lost your email address. I’m getting the guest column ready that you suggested and just need to contact you about a few details. Please email me. Thanks, and sorry for my incompetence.

  21. Great selection…

    I was one of those who refused to eat school meals so I didn’t eat lunches until I was 20.

    My school used to simply send those who wore inappropriate clothing/shoes home, they were not allowed to proceed from the lobby area.

    I wonder if anyone has brought up the Heimlich maneuver at the no-touching school. Does that mean you let someone die rather than touch them? Or that children may never be taught this skill?

  22. Oh, Stephanie, that story reminds me of so many things with my kids! Even when you try to probe into their fears so you can dispel them, sometimes you can’t find out what the crux of the problem is, until the kid actually survives the trauma and tells you about it!

    A few years ago my youngest had to go for his first home school evaluation. In this state, this is No Big Deal at all, especially for the kids themselves. I could tell he was nervous so in the week leading up to it, I kept trying to explain to him how easy and low-stress it was. It wasn’t until I found out afterward from his brother that his actual fear was something he hadn’t told me about in our many conversations about it — and naturally, was something I could have dispelled instantly by explaining something to him. I can’t even recall what it was anymore, but it just drove me crazy that the one thing that was actually bothering him, he wouldn’t tell me about, when it was such a little thing!

  23. I saw this in the prior thread, and something told me it could end up as a posting all of its own. Thank you, “name,” for the discovery and passing this along.

    All of them are insane, I certainly think the “no outside foods” is just ridiculous, and tracking kids like they’re cattle is so wrong–but the “no photography” part really speaks to me. I’m a hobbyist photographer, and we as a group are constantly having to fight to remind certain persons that it is absolutely 100% legal to photograph the general public at large. Yes there is a rude way of doing it which the paparazzi-types can get ridiculous with, and yes schools are private property & can set their own rules, but mostly what I’m saying is this–there exists this paranoia of normal people with a camera, especially if the camera is a high-grade type with a long lens, and it’s totally ridiculous.

    As I’ve said several times before, one good instance of this which occurred with me was 2 years ago when I was at the lake photographing the ducks & I got a really killer shot, it could easily make the cover of “Field & Stream.” Some bozo lady sees me doing this & yells out “stop photographing my kids, you pervert!” First-off, I was doing no such thing, but secondly–it’s 100% legal if I were to do so, and thirdly to assume pervert just because you see me with a high-grade camera with a long lens is just wrong and prejudiced.

    I can tell you this–before my son participates in a school play, I’m going to check & make sure I can photograph it–if I can’t, he won’t be able to participate in it. Otherwise, if my child is in a play, I’m going to photograph it I don’t care what the rule is, they can throw me out if they want, but I’m going to photograph it. It may be their property, but it’s my child, and I’m calling it in if it comes to that.


  24. The rule for photography may not have anything to do with kiddie sickos; it may be something as simple as “flash photography may distract the actors onstage.” It may also be something to do with copyright laws regarding the play being performed.
    Just a defense of the play photos. I have had to sign release forms for photos when my kids go to camp, though; I figure it’s just a precaution. Sad, sorry world…

  25. Schools are now run like institutions, prisons, and unfortunately a black and white approach doesn’t work for little kids.

    In the past year, I put my preschooler in an “old school” preschool (where the teacher hugged her on her first day ,and told her she loved hugs) vs. the “better” preschool that declared peanuts as a weapon of mass destruction, and instituted quarterly evaluations on scissor skills, etc. She did beautifully in the old school, even enjoyed yummy cookies baked by little old church ladies (some with NUTS, living dangerously.)
    My father also passed away in a wonderful hospice, which also allowed any food, loved little kids visiting, and even begged us to bring in our dog (which we did.) They encouraged visits at all hours, said noise was good (brought life into a place known for death.)
    My question is, if the beginning of life and the end of life are allowed to be warm and homey, why are we ruining the middle part with stupid rules that benefit no one?


  26. I substitute taught in schools in…ha ha…again…Texas…and they had these guys dressed in army fatigues and boots roaming the halls, poking their heads into the classes, and asking, “Anyone need to be made to do push ups in here?” No jumpsuits for violating dress code, but one school made the kids wear a sweatshirt over revealing clothes that said, “I will respect myself.” I kind of liked that idea, though. Actually, I rather liked the push ups too. But neither is a safety issue.

  27. I find this whole dress code thing disturbing. I know elementary and high school students don’t have any 1st amendment rights in school. Not exactly true, but effectively true. And I know high schools kids can get pretty outrageous as they push boundaries. That’s what teenagers do. But doesn’t it seem like a golden opportunity to really teach the 1st amendment? What schools are doing is the exact opposite. Decency laws aside, there’s little restriction on what you can wear in public. And we WANT it that way! So how is restricting student voices helping to teach them to be expressive? If they’re taught to just stay in line, then they will. And if some of us don’t push the boundaries, then what good is our free speech?

    Might also help to teach the corollary- “We don’t have the right to not be offended”

  28. “…if the beginning of life and the end of life are allowed to be warm and homey, why are we ruining the middle part with stupid rules that benefit no one?”


    That’s the best question posed here on the website. Why indeed?

  29. 1) Never live in Texas.
    2) Never live in Texas.
    3) Never live in Texas.

    That said… I’m never moving to Texas. Beyond that, if my school ever decided to do that to my kids, they’d be homeschooled or going to a different school system altogether (however I could make that happen).

    The article was funny (and I loved Cracked and Mad when I was a kid – bought them all the time), but really, really disturbing at the same time.

  30. Why Texas…well, they do appear in the news fairly often for things like not allowing boys to go to school until they get their hair cut. (Which the boys tend to be growing long in order to donate.)

    Why aren’t parents pushing back? Because most of them went to those schools, and were taught to respect and do not question people in authority. If you question, you are not showing respect. Remember “The Dukes of Hazard”? Like that.

    I had a similar thing happen when we lived in CA. The district was going through a mandatory 3 year review of their special education programs. As part of that, the parents were supposed to be invited to a meeting to give input. But, the letter came to my house, and many others, after the RSVP deadline. (According the postmark, it was mailed after the deadline.) Being an obnoxious parent, I called and said I was coming anyhow. Many parents didn’t think that they could do that. When I got there, they (the 6 white women in charge) made all the parents wear name tags while they refused to put any on. They had a power point presentation in English, with an interpreter, instead of having split screen. Most of those present spoke Spanish. They broke down into small groups, but only had one interpreter, and 6 groups. The whole thing was a joke from the beginning. I was the only parent who complained about the mailing and the format of the meeting, as far as I could tell. No one was upset because those white women were the experts.

  31. I’d have been going hungry on days when my school served pizza. What? Pizza, you say? Yep. Because (a) it was cheese pizza, and (b) IT WASN’T CHEESE. Cheese does NOT turn green when it melts!

    “Mexican Pizza” was a different matter, however.

  32. Off post topic, sorry, but thought you all would be interested in today’s Motherlode blog post on the NYT — Belkin asks whether parenting media is too focused on dangers and tragedies. http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/15/scaring-and-scarring-parents-to-be/

  33. Sure, these things are happening in Texas, and maybe are more common in Texas, but on the Cracked site people are acting like this is just some Texas thing. I’ll bet most, if not all, of these things could be located in other, even non-Southern American, places as well. We KNOW the non-picture taking, forbidding food, no touching, and radio-tracking stuff is rampant in lots of places, and probably every other thing could be found in at least once instance in the West, Northeast, Midwest, Northwest, or (gasp) even Canada or the UK!

  34. So apparently, Philadelphia has instituted a new curfew of 9 pm for anyone under 18. My local news station made a post on facebook asking what people thought about it. One of the comments said “if your children are out of your house, you should be with them, no matter the age” I threw up a little in my mouth when I read it.

  35. The day I get fined for my kid getting in trouble at school, or the day she’s made to wear a prison jumpsuit, is the day I start homeschooling, despite my left-leaning, school union supporting ways.

  36. The food thing was in Chicago, not Texas, and it sounded like at a private academy, which sounds pricey to me.

  37. Sometimes the people on this blog do the exact same thing they accuse others of doing – focus on the worst even when it isn’t the norm. So I decided to answer these “accusations”

    # 6 – RFI – Not in my District. Older kids have ID cards that double as library cards but they are bar coded. Elementary kids have lunch numbers and the younger kids wear a tag with their code to lunch until they learn it – but that is to make sure it doesn’t take all of lunch to get through the line.

    #5 Directly from the elementary hand book
    Parental approval is not required when students are photographed, videotaped, or recorded by a representative(s) of the school district for
    purposes of safety, maintenance of discipline in school or on school buses, any purpose related to a co-curricular or extra-curricular activity, or any purpose related to regular classroom instruction. (Examples: include but are not limited to newspaper releases, VBrick). Throughout the year, media representatives (newspapers, television and periodical publishers) may be on campuses to videotape and/or photograph
    students in school-related activities or events. Parents may deny permission for their children to be photographed or videotaped
    by notifying the principal in writing.

    #4 There are staff members at the door greeting students with hugs, handshakes, or high fives. It isn’t unusual to see a student rush up to our MALE principal for to show him something they have accomplished and get a hug. We have 2 male teachers and 4 male aides they also hand out high fives and hugs to kids. So do the female teachers/aides/administrators but males are often portrayed as “dangerous”

    #3 Kids and teachers can brown bag it, but most of our students are Title I and have free or reduced meals. There is not small percentage that school breakfast and lunch are the only meals they get. We do allow parents to bring in birthday treats

    From handbook – State law does allow an exception to the FMNV
    restrictions and recommends that birthday treats be served after the lunch period ends so that treats do not spoil students’ appetites’ for a nutritious meal. The treats will be shared at a time designated by
    the campus principal.

    FMNV is a federal law FOOD OF MINIMAL NUTRITIONAL VALUE basically you can’t give kids treat food that will ruin keep them from eating the nutritious school lunch. (I don’t think what my district serves should be called food much less nutritious)

    #2 Not My district. A few years ago the secondary teachers/administrators felt that kids were coming to school in outrageously inappropriate clothing (think more appropriate for strip club) to get out of class. They have some basic school spirit shirts, sport team sweat pants . If a child shows up dressed for the red light district they are required to change clothes to the spirt shirts and sweat pants. It happens maybe once or twice a year at each 6th grade campus. Once the kids realize the rules will be enforced they live in the rules. Why not just sent them home – because kids were coming to school dress inappropriately, being marked present, sent home to change showing up for their last class. Basically using the procedure to skip school.

    #1 Ok this law can and has been misused, but it has its point. I’m of the opinion that once a child is 10 (age of reason in Texas) – if they commit a crime it is a crime and both the child and the parent need a clue by 4 upside the head. I say this as the kid who was the victim of the violence and aggression. There is no way it is acceptable to keep a child in a regular classroom if s/he is going to constantly threaten to (insert graphic descriptions of rape) other students. Yes the child needs help, but while s/he is getting help the other students need to be protected. Being threatened daily with rape leaves scars. I’m talking about repeated behavior that harms other students not a one off shoving match in the lunch line. The only times I’ve seen this invoked have been cases of repeat behavior and after efforts to get the child help were refused by parents.

  38. Mom2cne, what about the kids who work??? You mean to say, that the elders in Philly think that there are no kids under 18 working at fast food places after 9? Especially in the summer. So, when they are at work, that is fine, they are supervised, but how do they get home? Some must need to walk or take a bus!

    I hate stuff like that. The collective WE wants our kids to be responsible, to get jobs, to do sports (all the night football/basketball games canceled now?) and band. But, we don’t want them out after certain times. We don’t want them to drive cars to school (so that they can get home after sports or go to job.) The WE needs to make up their WE mind!

  39. @Cheryl, that was exactly my point. I worked 4 nights a week at 16. Weekdays were until 10 pm and weekends and all summer were until midnight. At 17, I worked overnights the whole summer, meaning I didn’t even leave my house to go to work until 10 pm.

    I assume the idea is that if kids are out after that time, their parents will be with them, since all unattended children are obviously criminals! Which of course means picking them up from work, sporting events etc. I love my kids and I know where they are pretty much all the time but I’m an old lady and I’m in bed by 9, no way I’m getting re-dressed and going to pick my kid up from work every night!

  40. Hi Lenore. I’ve been watching the news lately. There are some new things for people to watch out for! Hell’s Grannies, the Baby Snatchers, and gangs of Keep Left signs. It’s terrible. What has this world come to? ;-}

  41. I skipped a grade, and as such am starting college (in two weeks!) at 17. Suppose I’m in Philadelphia with a group of college friends, all 18 years old. Would being with them exempt me from the curfew? Or would I be the only one of the group sent home at 9? Separating me from my friends and making me walk home alone at night…all in the name of safety, of course.

  42. Forgot I wanted to add this – Pictures of the Teacher’s first day back.


  43. I grew up in a relatively small town, and the curfew was 9:00. (This was in the late 80’s and early 90’s.) But if the cops caught you out after that time, they ASKED why (and checked your story if it seemed like there was reason to suspect you were BS’ing them.) If you were on your way home from work, you were OK. I would hope there is a similar “give” in the new curfew in Philly.

  44. The food thing was in Chicago, not Texas, and it sounded like at a private academy, which sounds pricey to me.

    No, it wasn’t. It was at a public school at which 99% of the students are eligible for free lunch, unless there’s another school in Chicago like this.

  45. I went to a private school for my freshman year, and the one bizarre rule I remember is the whole dress code/uniform thing. They called it a dress code but it was basically a uniform with choices. And you had to go out and buy everything yourself from wherever and make sure everything fit in with the specifications and colors. I didn’t have much of a problem with it, but, really. Either you have a normal dress code or you just issue uniforms, don’t make me go hunting all over town for ~precise to specification~ clothes.

    Also, you had to have the school’s logo on it. You had to specifically pay the school to put their logo on. And if you came to school with a perfectly in dress code shirt without a logo on it you would get fined. I remember having two of the exact same shirt (one for in school and one for out of it, as I obviously wasn’t going to wear a logoed shirt outside of school) and one day I accidentally wore the unlogoed shirt. Got fined fifteen dollars for it.

    Certainly not as extreme as the things in that article, but it still looks like nothing more than a way to make money to me. (And as such the one about banning food from home reminded me of it.)

    I can maybe understand their logic for the uniforms-with-choices (“Look! Kids can have individuality without being dangerous and—gasp—different!”), but the logo excuse was really lame, because I’m pretty sure it was just, “If a kid skips school then people can tell!” or something like that.

  46. School should not force the kids to do what they don’t want . The kids have their own interesting and hobby.

  47. The uniform thing is no issue to me as all schools in australia (public to private) kids have to wear uniforms.

    Of course as a kid watching american television we would wish that we could wear whatever we like , like they got to but as an adult I can see how great it is.

    Kids dont spend time agonizing over what to wear
    If you get your uniforms on sale, preloved etc it is cheaper than buying new clothes all year.
    No one knows you are wearing the same thing over and over again
    Gives the school a neat homogenious look
    Little kids are super excited to go to school and get to wear a uniform!!
    Easy for organizing etc – you just need enough uniforms for 5 days.
    Modesty value, appropriate for sport or running around etc.

    It is not total policy though in public schools. Like if your uniform is dirty you wont get in trouble if you wear regular clothes occasionally and in winter my girls wear regular sweaters/coats as we only have one school sweater, but for the most part they enjoy wearing their uniform.

    I understand we’ve never known different so its not so hard for us, it might be difficult in the beginning stages to change over, but enventually it will be easy.

  48. It’s beside the point somewhat, but I’m against school uniforms as a requirement. Whatever happened to expecting children to deal with life? Some children’s parents can afford nice clothes, others can’t. Those who can’t have to understand that’s the way the world works, and they are to NOT start any fights over envy, but at the same time they shouldn’t feel inferior about themselves either. On the other hand, those who can afford nicer clothes should be able to enjoy wearing them, at the same time they shouldn’t be arrogant and rub other’s noses in it.

    It prepares them for adult-hood–some can afford a new BMW every 2 years, others drive jalopies that just get them around & nothing more. Those who can afford the new BMW every 2-3 years have EVERY right to purchase them & enjoy them fully, those who can’t are not justified in starting fights or stealing out of envy, you have to accept it and respect other’s property. This isn’t the former USSR.

    From the parent’s perspective–school uniforms creates a burden on them in terms of having to get the exact right color etc, often-times at higher expense. It’s totally ridiculous.


  49. “peanuts as a weapon of mass destruction”

    My son’s previous preschool as Freerange as you can get. Kids using hammers, nails, and handsaws Freerange. And nut free.

    His current one is a little less Freerange, but certainly no evaluation of scissor skills. My son loves peanut butter, but is ok with not having it for lunch if it means the one nut allergic kid doesn’t have to eat in a separate room.

    Sometimes things don’t have to be our way either.

  50. I’m against school uniforms as a requirement.

    Well, if it’s not a requirement, it’s not really a uniform, is it?

    (Sorry, but along with getting all our books marked up for spelling errors, we used to play “Identify the redundant phrase” at the dinner table. Endlessly, along with “name national capitals”. I’ve never found knowing the capital of Suriname to be particularly useful, but it’s crammed in my head right there with seven-factorial-is-five-thousand-forty.)

    From the parent’s perspective–school uniforms creates a burden on them in terms of having to get the exact right color etc, often-times at higher expense. It’s totally ridiculous.

    If it’s the first few years in a uniform school – yes. If the whole community goes to uniform schools, and have for years, and there’s a standard few options that schools pick… not so much, I found. You can get uniforms used at a low cost, and schools often run programs to outright give used uniforms to poorer kids. And if everybody has the same uniform, it’s easy to find those options in stores.

    Also, once your kids are out of kindergarten (where they’ll get paint on their clothes every day), school uniforms means you can get by with two or maybe three outfits a week. Try doing that without uniforms.

    (Also, on a purely idiotic level, I just find kids in school uniforms look three times as cute.)

    This isn’t to say that they’re necessarily a good thing, or that arguments against them are always flawed (or even that THOSE arguments are always flawed), but I didn’t find that to be the case with the nieces in a uniform school. (In fact, one niece is switching to a school without a uniform policy, for the gifted program, and she is the one we’re scrambling to get clothes for!)

  51. The Cracked article was great! The captions were hilarious, though it really is sad and disturbing to see what Stateside schools have come to. When people ask me why my son is in German school, I can point them to that article and say, “Here are 6 good reasons.”

  52. I can’t believe people talking about curfews! It really exists?? I’ve never heard of that before, it’s completely insane. I find it worst than all the “6 dumbest things” put together… Maybe it’s because you can always change school or just stop going to school but a curfew that you can do nothing against? I guess you can move to another town but still, it’s creepy!

    It’s funny though that this post came right in the middle of my wondering about unschooling!

  53. “The food thing was in Chicago, not Texas, and it sounded like at a private academy, which sounds pricey to me.”

    Little Village Academy is a Chicago Public School with a fancy name located in a very poor area of the city. According to CPS statistics 99% of the kids who attend the school are low income and on the federal free/reduced lunch program.

  54. “From the parent’s perspective–school uniforms creates a burden on them in terms of having to get the exact right color etc, often-times at higher expense. It’s totally ridiculous.”

    Around here, where the whole city public school system is uniform (or more properly strict dress code — limited choices of colors and styles, shirts must have collars, no jeans, etc.) the dress code stuff is available at Walmart (some of the cheapest clothes they carry) and even Dollar General. As someone whose kids have only gone to dress code schools, and who has always been frugal, I’ve always found the cost argument to be misguided. Besides the fact that cheap clothes are available in code styles, there’s the fact that if you wear khakis and a polo every day, nobody’s going to notice if you wear the same clean shirt two days in a row, whereas if every piece of clothing is distinct, it will be apparent.

    “Whatever happened to expecting children to deal with life? Some children’s parents can afford nice clothes, others can’t. Those who can’t have to understand that’s the way the world works, and they are to NOT start any fights over envy, but at the same time they shouldn’t feel inferior about themselves either. ”

    Oh, they still have opportunities to learn. There’s all that time called “all the rest of life” (the part that people who are against homeschooling for “social reasons” also seem to forget exists) for that kind of thing to be experienced. However, taking it out of the school environment means it’s one less thing to interfere with the actual educational process.

    And on the plus side, it has the same effect as uniforms in adult life — it provides a psychological cue reminding the kids that they’re engaged in a “business” that is different from the business of the rest of life, when they can dress how they want.

    And on another level, it’s much easier to enforce “decency” rules if you institute a dress code. No arguing about ripped jeans if no jeans are allowed, and no kid is crazy enough to show up in deliberately ripped khakis! No worrying about how low a shirt is if shirts must have collars, and midriff-baring is out if shirts must be tucked. (Of course, I think midriff-baring went out a few years ago anyway, but like all bad ideas, it’ll be back.)

  55. Yes, curfews really exist, but in my area are not generally enforced unless your kid is out late and doing something considered sketchy or disruptive. I haven’t seen a kid drug into juvenile court for a curfew violation while driving home from work or eating burgers at the local Waffle House after a football game or something similar. Hanging around outside closed business or parks late at night, maybe. Being loud and obnoxious in the street, probably.

  56. But I also think the situation Rachel describes is silly. What we have here is what I described — no requiring specifically manufactured articles of clothing but not actual “uniforms.” Basically what you have here is the kids have to dress business casual, with limited color choices. And one of the colors for shirts is always white (different schools have different additional colors) so it’s just not hard to find stuff that conforms at reasonable prices.

  57. In California there was a case recently where a couple of homeschooled kids (14 and 17) were picked up by the cops for violating the “daytime curfew” in LA.

    Seems they were on their way to register for classes at the community college. They were just off the college grounds when the cops showed up. Oh, and it just happened to be a day at the end of the school year when even some of the private schools had let out for the year anyway!

    As a result of the parents fighting the law, the law was changed so that kids are no longer remanded to a mandatory hearing just for being caught “out” — there are now ways for kids to establish the legitimate right to be out without being hauled in.

    But as a homeschooler, I hate daytime curfew laws on principle. I realize truancy is a problem, but it’s another case of making laws that restrict rights for a broad range of people, just to make law enforcement easier, not actually to make anyone safer.

  58. Pentamom is correct; uniforms or dress codes ought to be about what is appropriate for schoole. Since our culture has done away with the notion of “School clothes” and “play clothes”, that becomes the only way to differentiate.

  59. I thought the article was really funny; however, I am a middle school teacher at a rural district in Oregon and none of these six crazy things are policy in our school. My feeling is that the writers at Cracked.com found six egregious examples to share rather than what is the norm.

    I am also a parent of a child in our district; I wonder sometimes why the parents aren’t protesting more.

  60. I had this conversation with my boyfriend the other day:

    BF: “Yeah, and they always made us take off our hats in that class…”
    Me: “Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold the phone. Does that mean you got to wear hats in other classes?!”
    BF: “…uh, yes?”
    Me: “You got to wear hats in school?!”
    BF: “…uh… yeah… what, you didn’t?”
    Me: “No, my district didn’t allow any sort of hats at any time.”
    BF: (boggles) “Why?”
    Me: “Uh… gangs? I guess they were worried about kids wearing gang hats, or something, I don’t know.”
    BF: “Are there that many gangs in {YourHometown}?”
    Me: “No, not really any. But there’s at least one gang in {NeighboringTown}. I guess they were worried about kids with friends in gangs in that town.”
    BF: “So… because other towns in your area had gangs, you weren’t allowed to wear hats, ever?”
    Me: “Man, I just can’t believe you guys got to wear hats! I didn’t think any schools allowed hats!”

    So, yeah, complete ban on hats, which I guess was supposed to protect us from gang violence. It was very strictly enforced, too. I am still amazed at the realization that kids in other places were allowed to wear hats.

  61. Or perhaps, just maybe, because wearing a hat in class is inappropriate?

  62. We were never allowed to wear hats in school – and this was waaaaay back in the 70’s. Not because of gangs, but because it’s considered rude for men to wear hats inside and they banned them for everyone.

    I doubt that your school ban had anything to do with gangs and everything to do with the social convention that dates back as far as I know that men should not wear hats inside. This convention did not extend to women until women started wearing stereotypical male hats, like baseball caps. I far more surprised that any schools allowed hat wearing.

  63. Amanda and Katie,
    We weren’t allowed to wear hats to school. I think it was an appropriateness issue.

    HOWEVER, when I was a senior, the middle school principal banned Carhardt jackets (which 50% of the students wore, as our district was about 50% farm kids and 50% rich kids from the north end of town) as well as writing on hands (like jotting down a friend’s phone number), because there were seen as gang-related items. We had no gangs.

  64. As someone who grew up in an area with a curfew at night, allow me to dispel any ideas about it being ‘unfair’.

    The curfew applied to kids aged 12-17; in our town, that’s when they commit the most vandalism. It was 10 PM. From experience, cops wouldn’t bother the kids out at pizza celebrating after the high school play got out at 10:30, wouldn’t bother anyone in a marching band uniform, waved to groups of football players getting off the bus at 11.

    What they would do is stop anyone walking on the street who looked about that age and ask where they were going. If you didn’t have a car or a ride and were on your way home, or to work, or a game, they’d offer you a ride (and would watch until you went inside or joined with your fellow players).

    They took– and, as far as I know, still do– your name and address, in case it keeps happening and they need to talk with your parents, but overall it was just a safety policy. I can name people who had spraypaint confiscated, though.

  65. Adding on, about the hat issue: not allowed in our school either. Rudeness.

    And it drove the band director crazy. In music, it’s really important that you can see the player’s eyes; if they’re watching you, you can give them cues, or tell if they’re lost and help them out a bit. In other classes, kids with hats on had a harder time seeing the board. Also, not being able to see the kids’ eyes made it harder to tell if they were sleeping.

    School policy: no hats. Some teachers didn’t enforce it, but oh well. And there was no problem with hats if, say, the heating failed and hte rooms were freezing.

  66. Both our older son’s middle school and younger son’s elementary school have uniforms/dress codes. Khaki slacks and polo shirts in both cases. I iron their school pants to dress it up a bit. It certainly speeds up clothing selection in the morning.

  67. @ Eika

    And in what way is it a curfew if you are allowed out? Just more questioned. It don’t fit my definition of a curfew… But I’m still glad cops had some sense in your town!

  68. “And in what way is it a curfew if you are allowed out?”

    Evidently in that case it was just a tool to be able to pick up kids who were making trouble, or had a reputation of making trouble, without having to worry about catching them at anything.

    The thing is, I don’t disbelieve that curfews have worked as some people have described them. But I also don’t believe that they couldn’t be used to harass kids who had legitimate reasons to be out, whether out of misguided zeal, or more unpleasant motivations on the part of the cops or those who made the laws. It depends on how the authorities in your particular place *choose* to use them, and how the laws are written.

    I’m by no means a paranoid, anti-cop person, nor do I think that curfews are all bad. I just don’t think that an attitude of “well, they don’t use it badly in my town so I don’t believe they use it badly anywhere else” is all that wise.

  69. I’m a bit in the minority here, but so be it.

    I still don’t like school uniform rules, even if it makes things easier on the parents (and I’m doubting it would in my case). Other than obvious things like punk-rock hair or holes in areas where private parts would be exposed, I just don’t see why what a person wears should matter so much. Obviously extreme things like, say, pajamas or a Batman Halloween outfit I can understand, but otherwise–why should people be so much up in arms about what someone else wears, especially when it’s just kids in schools? It’s not like you have an attorney wearing overalls in the office, or the receptionist wearing a bathing suit in the office. What’s the big deal?

    Heck, if people KNOW you wore the same shirt two days in a row–so what? Obviously we don’t want to be nasty here, but then others have talked about the ADVANTAGE of how school uniforms conceal the truth whichever way, obviously it’s more a thing of people worrying about others THINK of them vs the reality of cleanliness. Again–why should that play a role at all?

    Along the same line, hats. I have never agreed with the idea that a man wearing a hat indoors was rude. What if a man is bald and is uncomfortable by that and feels much more at ease with a fedora hat on or whatever? Why should he have to make himself uncomfortable that way just because people have this hang-up about men in hats?

    Obviously one can take that to extremes–I feel more comfortable naked so why should people pressure me to wear clothes is a good example of this–but I think it’s possible to go to the OTHER extreme as well, and I regard both the hats & school uniforms things as one.


  70. “It’s not like you have an attorney wearing overalls in the office, or the receptionist wearing a bathing suit in the office.”

    But why is that a problem? If everyone should just get to wear what they want, when they want, why should we care if attorneys wear overalls or receptionists wear bathing suits? Because it’s not appropriate for the atmosphere? Because what attorneys and receptionists are doing is more important than what kids are doing/ Is that really what you want your kids to believe? That school is not important enough to respect?

    I happen to not think that it’s a bad idea to teach children to have respect for their “job” (school) and to dress appropriately for that “job.” This doesn’t mean that it must be anything fancy, new, or high fashion, but something that looks like it should be worn in a nightclub is probably a bit much. Learning to dress appropriate is actually a valuable life skill.

    “obviously it’s more a thing of people worrying about others THINK of them vs the reality of cleanliness.”

    Actually ALL the shirts are clean. We are not talking about kids wearing DIRTY shirts. We are talking about parents who can only afford one or two shirts. They wash them every night so they are clean the next day. (yes, there are people that poor). It is very obvious that that is occurring if everyone is dressed differently. Not at all if everyone wears a white golf shirt every day anyway. Nobody knows who has 10 and who has 1.

    I get that you don’t care what people think of you at all, Larry. That’s fine. However, what people think of them will be extremely important to your children during their school years. You can say all you want about developing self-esteem, etc., but the fact still remains that being humiliated on a daily basis by your peers has a negative impact on your self-esteem, enjoyment of school, interest in learning, future prospects, social skills and more. There are many reasons that certain kids are targeted in school. I don’t have a problem taking one reason out of the equation so that maybe more people can get through school, get jobs, stay out of prison and contribute to society. Yes, in a perfect world kids would be nice to one another regardless of what they wear, but we don’t live in a perfect world.

  71. I’d just like to tell you about the uniforms at the high school I went to between 2004-2007.

    – They were grey, white and maroon. Well, mostly. Senior girls could wear long black pants. The senior jersey for my year had some yellow on it for unknown reason.

    – The uniforms were available from the uniform shop, marked up 30% on top of cost price so that the school could make a profit. *Some* part of the uniforms could *sometimes* be bought in normal retail – the senior girls’ white blouse, for example. Most of it, however, could not.

    – The girls’ uniform DID NOT HAVE POCKETS. Not one. To circumvent this I wore a non-uniform jumper tied around my waist and put things in the pockets of it. Men – think about this. Think about how much you use your pockets, and what you’d have to do if all the (valuable, vital) objects you usually put in them could not be on your person unless you carried them in your hands.

    – In about 2005, the option for shorts became available for the girls’ junior and senior uniform. In about 2006, there was a debate as to whether or not to remove them from the uniform because girls were wearing shorter and shorter shorts. Yes – in 2006 there were people debating as to whether or not girls should be allowed to wear pants. These shorts, which, by the way were unisex, were the only article of clothing on the girls’ uniform list with pockets.

    – It appears that those idiots have been effective elsewhere. I can no longer see long pants as an option for senior girls’ uniform. Yep. Once you hit 16 or so and enter year 10, you must show a bit of leg or else you get detention.

  72. @Donna: difference between shirt washed every day and shirt washed once a week is obvious pretty soon. Especially if one of them is few years old and the other one new.

    Kids know who is poor and who is rich. It shows in tons various ways. And, it is not like bullying would not exist in schools that use uniforms. It does and it is exactly as ugly as bullying without uniforms.

  73. As a teacher, I have to say the uniform and dresscode are more to keep the distractions out of the classroom. Buttcracks can be very disruptive!

  74. @ Andy – Actually, it’s not uncommon for most parents to only buy a couple uniform tops and bottoms and wash them frequently. Even at the most expensive private school in town, the average is 3 shirts and 3 bottoms, not 5. I think my bro had like 3 shirts and 2 pants when he went to catholic school. So everyone’s uniforms are washed frequently. Uniform swaps are also common. You bring in your too small stuff and trade it for the next size up. I don’t know how much this is done in public schools but it was a yearly event in my brother’s school and few kids actually had completely new uniforms.

    As for bullying, of course bullying still exists. However, the main focus of it when I was a kid was clothes and shoes. To the point that when I was in college, a teenage neighbor broke into our apartment repeatedly and stole our clothes because she was tired of being picked on for wearing bad clothes. But I’m a girl. I think girls do that far more than boys.

  75. I got picked on in high school for my frizzy, white-blonde hair, being fat and being smart. Not sure a uniform would have solved any of those things. It probably would have made me feel worse because fat girls do NOT look good with their shirts tucked in.

  76. @Donna If you have 3 pieces, you are not washing each piece every day. More like little more than once a week.They will look differently as if you would wash them every day. Moreover, you would buy one or two years old uniform, somebody really really poor would buy the cheapest possible one, e.g. five years old that already looks bad.

    (Btw, having 5 copies of uniform seem crazy to me, it is too much.)

    If is likely that the main focus of bullying in your school was clothes and shoes because that is where the most difference was seen. If everybody would wear exactly the same think, bullying would not disappear. They would find something else to focus on.

    Even if you would give everybody state funded well fitting 10 new pieces every year including school bags and banned all jewelry and such, the kids would know the difference. It is where you live, where you have been on holidays, how do you talk, whether you have computer, internet access, … .

  77. Oh my, did I sabotage this thread and lead it in another direction? Woops.

    That said, what Sera mentioned spoke to me–the official uniforms didn’t even have POCKETS? My goodness, how ridiculous is that? Besides the other things which I mentioned, that’s another thing–you now have to deal with such nonsense as that just to obey a silly rule, and yes, it is a silly rule to me.

    You can’t control everything, and the focus should be on math & reading etc, but I still say–let the kids wear what they want within reason, and when kids start bullying, take care of it. It doesn’t have to consume the entire day doing so, if need be do it in a heavy-handed “papa don’t take no mess” sort of way. Bring in a tough guy with a booming voice which can be heard from 80 miles away, the same one who has a wooden paddle & won’t hesitate to swing that thing straight at the rear-ends of every bratty child that won’t do as they’re told and mind themselves, I guarantee you they will shut their mouths, in class if not on the playground. It works–it may be due to “intimidation,” but so what–it works, and frankly that’s the only thing that matters. Sometimes have to break some eggs to make the omelet, so I say–break some eggs.

    But wait–you can’t do that in schools anymore, they now call it “child abuse.” I think you have your answer right there, frankly.


  78. As someone who was poor and had very few clothes in high school, I think I can chime in this conversation.

    Firstly, I agree with Andy, I don’t think that uniforms can stop the problem of social classes at all. I can’t say for sure though because I never wore an uniform.

    Secondly, I was not bullied like LHR seems to think, it was more shunning, side glances and other silence stuff. You can do nothing against that and even if the repercussions are not the same as blatant bullying those things can also undermine your self-esteem.

    I also agree with Donna and I think that girls are worst in that domain.

    Oh and I certainly never would send my children in your school LHR!

  79. Well Coccinelle our “school” probably doesn’t do the “intimidation” thing like I was talking about, almost none do anymore, but I do remember being under it as a child years ago and let me tell you, it worked.

    The school we have here, I doubt they do that, but they also do not have a school uniforms rule (they told me so), and I am very glad that they don’t.

    No one wants a child to suffer being teased, but the thing is this–why should that dictate policy? Why should the response not be to, instead, (1) punish the teasers for doing so when possible and (2) teach the victims how to “toughen up?” They’re only kids, granted, but if we go around making rules based on people’s feelings all the time this way, it to me is tantamount to “letting the bad guys win.” It seems to me it’s no different than, say, a grown woman not being allowed to wear a nice dress or fur coat etc because she may be mugged for it (she was “asking for it” dressed that way enticing people) or not being allowed to because it hurts the feelings of the others who are sad they can’t afford one or don’t have the slim figure to pull it off etc.

    In short, yes the focus needs to be on the 3 R’s or whatever, not the manner of dress, but that’s not the fault of someone wearing what they want vs being MADE to wear something they’re TOLD to wear. It’s the fault of those who can’t mind their own business and THEMSELVES focus on their studies. I realize I’m just about the only one here with that opinion, but oh well.


  80. I can’t help thinking that part of the reason so many of these stupid rules are put in place is because adults/parents aren’t paying any attention to what’s happening on their school boards and are too busy to participate in school board elections. And if everyone’s answer to problems in public schools are to either put their kids in private schools or home school the public school will never improve. If you don’t like it – get involved – start an awareness campaign, petition, or protest. Get involved.

  81. As a parent who is involved, starting a petition or protesting does little good if you are alone in your protest. I personally protested a change to our school’s music program last year. I contacted everyone from the teacher clear up through the school board. I talked to other parents, I emailed the entire school through our PTA list, I spoke with the classroom teachers, etc. I was basically told to sit down and shut up because no one cared. I can stand on the beach and scream at the ocean all day but the tide is still going to come in. The best I could do was involve my own children in activities that took the place of the program that was lost and leave the other parents to take care of their own.

  82. My problem with the “kids are getting bullied over clothes, let’s make them all wear uniforms” is that it addresses the symptoms and not the disease. This is answering “kids attack differences” with “so let’s make them all the same!” Trouble is, this won’t teach them not to attack that which is different. More than likely it’ll reinforce the “same > different” mentality.

  83. Eileen, well, if everyone’s answer is to private school or homeschool, the issue will never get better…perhaps you are right. But, my kids will only be young once, and have one chance to have an enjoyable childhood. I don’t want their love of learning squished out of them. So yes, I walked away to homeschool. Because like Mom2cne, I saw the writing on the wall – some things will never change, and raising my voice too much may actually make it harder for my kid.

    I plan to volunteer at the school after my kids have graduated. Perhaps even go back to school and update my teaching degree. But, institutions have a hard time with change, I have learned, and schools are no exception. And sometimes the hardest thing to change is attitude.

  84. I just came back from a job orientation an after school program where we were told that we were not allowed to….
    Use the playground (and in the rare event we do monkey bars are forbidden) since accidents happen on the play ground.
    Give a child a hug because their faces can line up in an inappropriate place.
    and were told that all accidents are preventable if we just constantly watch the kids and keep them busy at all times they shouldn’t have the opportunity to get hurt or hurt another child.

  85. Jennifer – a bit unrealistic, huh? Every thing is preventable? Come on! So, are you going to take the job? I would be leary – if there was something unforeseeable they could still can you because of the statements in the training.

    When I take my older son for speech therapy at the school, we are not allowed to use the playground equipment for my two kids who are not getting services. (Safety reasons.) At first we had to sit in the foyer, next to the door, with no tables, and two seats for three of us. My oldest tried hard to do some school work. Finally, when it got down to 17 degrees, I asked if we couldn’t please sit someplace else because it was so cold, so they let us sit in the hall outside the speech therapist. I had to fill out a form to be a volunteer to sit in the hall with my kids not under direct supervision from staff. They did a background check, which was a farce as they only checked with in state police and we just moved to the state.

    Oh, and to make sure that kids don’t hang around after school and play on the playground, they turn on the irrigation. The playground is listed on the KaBoom site, but really, it is a joke because you can’t use it during school hours and it is wet after school. They probably would chase you off on weekends if anyone saw you. The after school program there apparently doesn’t use it either. Joy o joy. What fun after school.

  86. That said, what Sera mentioned spoke to me–the official uniforms didn’t even have POCKETS? My goodness, how ridiculous is that? Besides the other things which I mentioned, that’s another thing–you now have to deal with such nonsense as that just to obey a silly rule, and yes, it is a silly rule to me.

    This is a problem with ALL women’s clothes. Even if you live in jeans you may not be able to get a pair with usable pockets!

    As far as the curfew goes, I think it’s only in some neighborhoods. That’s what I think I read, anyway.

  87. “@Donna If you have 3 pieces, you are not washing each piece every day. More like little more than once a week.”

    Not every day, but possibly, every time it’s worn. The math isn’t that hard: 3 sets of clothing, wash every three days (not even worrying about weekends AFA uniforms) voila! Clothes never have to be worn between washings.

    And seriously, a polo shirt or a pair of khakis doesn’t look that different on the second day it’s worn (without washing in between) than the first (which need not be the day immediately after) if it doesn’t get dirty or sweaty and doesn’t lie around on the floor in between. It’s a little tougher in hot weather, but in winter it’s a non-issue — schools with uniforms do let you change for gym.

    This is kind of a silly argument, but then proposing that you have to have five complete sets of clothing to look decent is what started it, and that just isn’t true.

  88. Larry, your argument against uniforms would be pretty good, if that was the only (or even the main) reason for them.

    But it’s not — it’s one among many. And even to the extent it’s about that at all, it’s not so much about protecting kids from bullying, because, yes, even administrators at schools with uniform policies understand that kids can get bullied for other reasons, and that it’s actually the fault of the bullies. But it’s about removing one issue, one potential source of conflict, while not believing or pretending that it removes all of them. If you had 100 problems and could mitigate one, along with achieving a bunch of other desirable things by that solution, why not? It’s really not that administrators believe that kids can or should be utterly protected from negative reactions.

  89. And Sera’s story shouldn’t reflect on the concept of uniforms/dress codes in general. “I once heard a story about uniforms that didn’t have pockets and that was inconvenient [and I agree that it is!] so that’s a good argument against uniforms” is some kind of fallacy, but it’s too late (early?) for me to figure out which one.

  90. @pentamom “schools with uniforms do let you change for gym.”

    Out of curiosity: there are schools that do not allow to change for gym? I through that changing for gym is always mandatory.

    As far as I know, nobody propose that 5 pieces are necessary, that was probably misunderstanding. Seems like everybody thinks that it would be ridiculous.

    For me, all arguments for uniforms seems to be not convincing. The one who is trying to make everybody to follow some new rule should make a case for it. They seems like a nice theory that do nothing in practice. Except being annoying for those who do not like to be forced to wear an arbitrary piece of clothing.

    Bullies bully, distraught students dream instead of paying attention and so on. An they are non-stop discussions about whether girls should wear skirts or pants. It is either ugly or show too much legs. Elegant or does not have pockets.

  91. “Out of curiosity: there are schools that do not allow to change for gym? I through that changing for gym is always mandatory.”

    Not in elementary school. My daughter doesn’t change for gym. I didn’t start changing for gym until middle school.

    “Secondly, I was not bullied like LHR seems to think, it was more shunning, side glances and other silence stuff. You can do nothing against that and even if the repercussions are not the same as blatant bullying those things can also undermine your self-esteem.”

    Yes, I think some or mixing up bullying with just plain kid obnoxiousness. Girls are HORRIBLE to each other about clothes. It doesn’t even just extend to those who are typical “bullies.” It was also friends sitting around cutting on each other about their clothes. I was not bullied in school but I was on the receiving end of the occasional negative comment about clothes (everyone was) and very much remember what others would think playing into my choice of clothes, probably to a far greater extent than my own personal desires.

    Nor is this a magic pill to stop bullying. It levels the playing field somewhat. That’s it. It gives kids one less thing to pick on other kids about – not BULLY, just pick on. It gives kids one less thing to worry about. No more “what will so-and-so think about my outfit” every morning.

    Nor am I saying that this was the reason that uniforms were instituted originally or their main purpose. I believe that the idea of uniforms in public schools began in gang areas to avoid gangs from wearing their colors in school. It spread out from there due to many different reasons, mostly related to discipline and disruptions. Leveling the playing field in one area is just a positive side effect.

  92. “No one wants a child to suffer being teased, but the thing is this–why should that dictate policy? ”

    It doesn’t dictate policy. That is a positive that I get from the uniform policy – leveling the field in at least one area. The uniform policy itself from the school’s perspective generally has nothing to do with being teased and everything to do with maintaining school order and ease of enforcing some kind of dress regulations. And, frankly, I rather have uniforms than have my kid’s screamed at and hit with paddles as you’d prefer, Larry. To each their own but I’m glad my way is winning in this area.

  93. “And seriously, a polo shirt or a pair of khakis doesn’t look that different on the second day it’s worn (without washing in between) than the first (which need not be the day immediately after) if it doesn’t get dirty or sweaty and doesn’t lie around on the floor in between. It’s a little tougher in hot weather, but in winter it’s a non-issue — schools with uniforms do let you change for gym.”

    Ok, I went to catholic schools with uniforms most of my schooling career. This was the way it worked for many students, rich or poor (female): you owned 1 wool skirt/jumper (jumper here being the dress version of the skirt, not the british term for sweater) which got washed once a week. You owned 5 school blouses, and maybe 1 or 2 school sweaters, all of which got washed once a week. The cursed wool skirts had to air dry so they couldn’t be washed/dried on a weekday or you were wearing it wet the next day. Some girls I knew did eventually pick up an extra skirt–like my youngest sister inherited all us older sisters’ skirts and had 3 good ones.

    The boys owned 5 shirts, 2 or 3 pairs of pants (they were cheaper than the skirts) and 1 or 2 sweaters. All got washed once a week.

    When I started high school in 1990, I bought myself (from my babysitting money) my 1 wool skirt, 5 knit blouses, 1 school-approved sweater. I believe that ran me about $120. Before my junior year, I bought another wool skirt (each year had a different pattern wool skirt, and you switched patterns for your junior year). My 5 knit blouses lasted me all 4 years. I think I swapped up sweaters a couple of times. So, for 4 years of high school, let’s say I spent about $200 on uniform clothing.

  94. @pentamom: “And Sera’s story shouldn’t reflect on the concept of uniforms/dress codes in general. “I once heard a story about uniforms that didn’t have pockets and that was inconvenient [and I agree that it is!] so that’s a good argument against uniforms” is some kind of fallacy, but it’s too late (early?) for me to figure out which one.”

    I think it’s more applicable to a discussion about any sort of more “formal” female clothing than just uniforms. Women’s skirts that have pockets are few and far between–I own probably 15 skirts nowadays, and none have pockets. My business jackets pretend to have pockets, but most the time they are just a sew-on “pocket” decoration rather than a real pocket. I think that one or two pairs of women’s business casual/business pants out of probably eight I own have pockets. The pair I’m wearing today has a sew-on pocket decorations on the back (not real pockets) and these two itty-bitty, completely useless 1 inch deep pockets on the front. I could maybe put a key in those little pockets it it would probably fall out when I sat down.

  95. When I was in CA, my preschool son got speech therapy at a school next to a middle school. I asked the therapist one day if the middle school had a restrictive dress code, as the kids all wore black pants and white shirts. It was REALLY rare to see otherwise. Turns out that the kids did not want to be affiliated with any gang (and potentially shot on the way home) so they only wore black and white.

    The stores, even the dollar store, would sell out fast of t-shirts of any color that were not blue or red, the local competing colors. Those stayed on the shelf. A couple of the public schools did have uniforms, but even when they didn’t, for safety, the kids made their own.

  96. Dee, as a SAHM who spends most days in jeans or casual capris, I tend to forget about that. I do agree, though, that it’s ridiculous. It’s just that it’s not about uniforms.

  97. Andy, my comment about letting you change for gym was just a throwaway — since you get to change for gym when you wear a uniform, as anywhere else, there’s little danger of “stinking up” your uniform except in hot weather. That’s all. I meant to suggest that schools with uniform/dress code policies are the same as other schools in that respect, not different.

    But uniforms are hardly some new, untried idea. Private schools have been doing it since time out of mind. Agree or disagree, there does seem to be enough positive reason to do it they’ve done it all along, so maybe it’s not just some new crazy idea with absolutely no basis in reality.

  98. “I would think if kids were forced to eat the cafeteria food, and developed allergies, behavioral disorders, food poisoning,or other health problems from it the school would be afraid of a lawsuit.”

    No doubt there’s a diclaimer to sign which voids any and all liability the school has for any damage to your child from the food they serve.
    Combine that with outsourcing the cafetaria to a commercial venture, who then has to sign a contract taking any and all liability for whatever happens when someone gets sick or injured on the premises, and the school is completely safe.

  99. Dee, now if you combine a uniform with a no-bag/backpack policy, you have issues for girls in particular. After Columbine, some stupid kids at the school near where I lived phoned in some bomb threats, saying that the bombs were in backpacks. The solution was to ban all bags. The school issued straps for kids to carry their books with for the rest of the year. Teachers complained that the straps were dangerous – boys were doing the towel whipping thing with them in the hall between classes. The next year sanity regained control.

    But then again, the towel whipping thing is why they banned towels at my high school in the 80s. They issued huge paper towels – like the brown hand towels. NOT comfy and fluffy! (I ran track, and I did have to use them. Most girls did not shower after gym.)

  100. I don’t want to live on this planet anymore..

  101. As a product of a dozen years of Catholic school, I really don’t see the problem with uniforms. Other than the fact that I didn’t buy a navy blue article of clothing for 10 years after I graduated 8th grade, I loved it. I hate clothes shopping, and don’t really care about style, and never have. 5 days a week I didn’t have to give it any thought. Our school had some kids whose parents were doing pretty well, other kids whose dads had been laid off by the steel mill. In class, we all looked the same. Those uniforms LAST – the material is sturdy, and looks good even after you wash it 10000 times. My sons trash t-shirts and jeans like there is no tomorrow. I’d kill for sturdy uniform pants. Plus, I wouldn’t have to send them upstairs to change every other day because they think ripped up sweats are da bomb. I never felt stifled or like I had somehow lost my individuality. I could stand out because I was a musician and an A student, rather than because of my clothes.

  102. Ah! Cracked.com. I don’t even need to read it to know it’s good. (But i’ll do it anyway)

  103. Okay this stuff is just crazy. Specially the touching thing, I mean seriously, kids can’t touch each other? How are they supposed to interact with other human beings if they can’t touch them? Seriously gringos are crazy.
    And even the uniform thing; I mean I grew up in a country where uniforms are mandatory nation wide, and even I know having them wear prison jumpsuits is crazy

  104. Wow. This really makes me mad. Especially the no touching part. I’m 15 and the school has a “No touching” policy. It’s totally unfair. Just like the examples in the article, you can’t give high fives, shake hands, hug, or anything. I’m afraid to even hug my girlfriend because I could get detention for it. It was the same throughout middle and high school! Thanks for teaching kids that all human contact is bad!

  105. I’m not sure why but this web site is loading extremely slow for me.
    Is anyone else having this problem or is it a issue on my end?
    I’ll check back later on and see if the problem still exists.

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