A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Dress down day every Friday in exchange for strict enforcement through week

At Parkdale, a uniform school, students are required to wear khaki pants and a black, white or green polo shirt. Along with the dress code, students are not allowed to wear open-toed shoes and must wear their student ID’s.

As expected, many students have issues with this policy, including a transfer student from Austria, sophomore Josef Dirlinger.

“I don’t really [think]uniforms help me to concentrate more but it helps me in the morning [be]cause I am faster with [picking out] clothes,” said Dirlinger.  At his school in Austria, uniforms are not a requirement.

But what if there was some flexibility when it came to Parkdale’s uniform policy?

Many students argue that wearing uniforms to school prevents them from expressing themselves and wanting to dress how they choose. Opening up this opportunity of expression could be beneficial to students.

Having a rule where students are required to wear uniforms Monday through Thursday and then allowing Friday to be a dress-down day would allow students to express themselves one day of the week. The school rule regarding the length of shorts and skirts and the policy about not having violent images on shirts could still stand to enforce appropriate dress.  Additionally, with allowing students the liberty of dressing in their own clothes on Fridays, the enforcement of a strict uniform policy could prove to be more effective Monday through Thursday.

According to edquarter.com, “many school leaders share the view that by wearing a school uniform, students gain skills in presentation which ultimately lead to improved discipline in the classroom.” However, with an alternative uniform policy that allows for one dress down day per week, students could gain these skills and express themselves.

Parkdale has not always been a uniform school.  In fact, some students have heard from teachers who have been here for a long time that the uniform decision came down to less than five parents who voted in a PTSA meeting to change from a dress code into a strict uniform policy.

Former student and substitute teacher Ms.Nicolsons says that she started attending Parkdale in 2007, and it wasn’t until her senior year that uniforms were enforced.

“You couldn’t have your own style [because] uniforms would take away that portion,” said Ms. Nicolsons. that self portion for people who were into fashion.”

Most supporters of the uniform policy claim that uniforms help to keep the school safer.

According to the US Department of Education, wearing a uniform can decrease the risk of violence and theft, instill discipline and help school officials recognize intruders who come to the school.

However, even without wearing uniforms the school could still manage to keep safety their main priority by with the strict enforcement of IDs. These Parkdale-issued IDs prove enrollment at Parkdale by showing a picture of the students with their ID number on it. This could still make it easier for the administrators to find an outsider faster if one were to ever enter.