Why I hate uniforms!
My daughter is starting kindergarten at a public school this year and I'm so happy that she is not going to a school that requires uniforms. I've always had a distaste for public school uniforms, but I never had to confront the underlying causes until it came time to choose whether my daughter went to a public school that mandates uniforms or not. You see, we live in San Francisco where you have a certain amount of flexibility when choosing what public school your child gets assigned to. When the time came, both my husband and I had reasons for choosing a school without uniforms.
Read more in ¿Qué más?:Memories of my first day of school in the United States
We realize that uniforms are a great equalizer. They allow kids not to be taunted about not wearing what's "in" or mistakenly wearing something that is "out." We get that it can be a total time-saver when getting kids ready in the morning. We get that it can also be economical, but still my husband and I would rather not send our kids to a public school that requires uniforms because of our own biases.
It is important to note that our biases are not really based on facts, but more on feelings and some are directed exclusively at public school uniforms and not Catholic school or private school uniforms.
My distaste for school uniforms has to do with my own experiences going to school. I love clothes, I love fashion, and believe that dressing is another way of expressing yourself. I find uniforms boring and uninspiring.
As a child of the 80s I was able to wear absurd outfits to school and it was awesome. I didn't grow up with money and labels were not anything I could afford. Instead of yearning for expensive labels on my clothing, I learned how to put together an outfit because I truly liked it and not care about brands. I like that I don't care about brands and that I'm not defined by them. I can walk into a room wearing a combo of Old Navy and thrift store finds and feel fabulous even if everyone else is wearing Prada. I want my children to be fashion-liberated in the same way.
My husband's distaste for uniforms, which I didn't realize I shared until he verbalized it, has to do with how we remember uniforms being introduced into public schools. In the beginning, and again this is going on memory, not fact, the public schools that introduced uniforms seemed to be doing it as a response to gang activity and violence. The schools that pioneered public school uniforms seemed to be in bad neighborhoods as opposed to posh neighborhoods. Apparently, my husband and I are still bothered and concerned by that stigma.
So I get why people like uniforms, but private school uniforms aren't something I've ever been crazy about. Of course they were not the deciding factor in which school we chose, but we were happy that we found a great school that doesn't require uniforms.
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