On Thursday, March 11, 1999 Massachusetts' Governor Paul Cellucci proposed legislation that would require all students in public schools to wear uniforms unless their local parent councils opted out. Cellucci believes if too much attention is spent on looking sharp, learning suffers.
Mandatory uniforms in public schools glosses over the fact that parents must take responsibility for their own and their children's actions; and they must teach their children likewise. Parents must teach their children what is important, what it means to be human, what someone wears does not make or break the person, that not everyone can afford nice clothes, and that people, as depicted by human nature, have different tastes – we are all different. This we can not change, nor should we attempt to.
Cellucci's proposed legislation merely points a finger at what appears to be the problem with public education. "This is why students aren't learning as much as they should," it is akin to saying. "Yes, this will solve the problem."
No, it won't!
This addresses a symptom not the problem. Like an illness, if the problem is not addressed, over time, when the head clears up, the chest will still be congested, the muscles still weak, the coughing still unending.
Children and adults alike will find other ways to judge a person no matter what that person wears, and hold that person in lower esteem, unless taught otherwise – at home from parents.
The same is true for skin color. Teach a child to ignore skin color, to see it's what's on the inside that makes a person not the skin color on the outside. Rendering everything to look the same is only to ignore the truth – that each of us is different. Taste in clothes, skin color, interests.
Choice in clothes is a form of freedom of speech, self-expression, finding an identity. For Christ's sakes, don't take away what it means to be human. Let the children grow and learn in the real world. Requiring students to wear uniforms addresses only a symptom not the problem. It's time for parents to own their actions and set an example for which their children can follow.
March 12, 1999