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Volusia County Mothers Debate Proposal For School Uniforms

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The Volusia County school board is considering whether students should be required to wear uniforms. Right now there is a general dress code that prohibits clothing such as tank tops and muscle shirts. Board members are considering solid color collared shirts and khaki pants.

The idea is to start uniforms with elementary students next year. There’s even talk about making Campbell Middle School a test school as early as this year. Lindsey Rodriguez has a 3rd grade student at Holly Hill School. She wholeheartedly disagrees with school uniforms. Another parent, Jade Ripoli strongly believes the current dress code should be enforced and would be thrilled for mandatory uniforms. 90.7’s Crystal Chavez spoke with both of these mothers.

Crystal: Jade, let’s start with you. Tell us more about why you support uniforms for Volusia County students?

Jade: I believe that uniforms would create more a sense of unity. It would eliminate the hassle of enforcing the dress code, which isn’t currently enforced at all. Although I’m not quite sold on the point that it would reduce bullying, it couldn’t hurt. I just believe it would foster sense of unity, maybe possibly be a little more cost efficient, instead of buying school clothes, buy uniforms.

Crystal: So you see the current dress code not really being enforced?

Jade: At our school it’s not enforced. You see children with tank tops, you see little elementary grade school girls wearing shorty shorts and short skirts and it’s just not appropriate for a school setting.

Crystal: And Lindsey, why do you disagree?

Lindsey: First of all I don’t think it would be cost effective because I’m going to be buying two wardrobes for my son. So at the end of the day when he has to change out of his uniform from school and into his play clothes I’m washing two sets of clothes. I’m a single mother, I do the best I can and I can’t afford a whole other wardrobe for my son. Not to mention it’s Florida, it’s hot. The fact that they’re not allowed to wear tank tops OK I get that but collared shirts in August, in a school and you’re out at P.E? That’s too much.

Crystal: What do you say to teachers who say they’re tired of being the “clothing police?”

Lindsey: If they all have to wear uniforms there’s going to be something else to be policed. Kids are going to push limits, they’re going to push limits as much as they can. Now they’re going to start wearing their uniforms incorrectly, they’re going to start adding stuff to it. They’re going to wear short shorts instead of the knee length shorts they’re supposed to wear for their uniforms. It doesn’t matter what boundaries you give kids they’re always going to push them. So to say if you have a uniform that’s going to eliminate dress code violations that’s pretty much an understatement. It’s absolutely not.

Crystal: Jade, you wrote on Facebook that students need to treat school like a job where certain clothes are appropriate. But some employers are getting more lax with dress codes, I’m thinking trendy startups, what do you say to that point of allowing students to show individuality and identity?

Jade: A child has the home setting, his weekends, there are other settings where a child can express their individuality. If the current dress code was enforced, and it was enforced across the board, I would say uniforms aren’t needed. Even though children will test boundaries parents have to be parents and they have to enforce and teach their children that a job or a school, it has a set of rules. Just because a child’s hot it doesn’t mean that their child’s entitled… I can see a collared shirt being a little bit warmer in the August and September months but between wearing a short sleeved shirt and a tank top, there is no difference.

Crystal: Lindsey, what about the case many Volusia County school board members make that uniforms would increase campus security and level the playing field, so students won’t focus on competing with name brand clothes but instead focus on learning?

Lindsey: That is a laughable joke. First of all, it’s going to be who got their collared shirt from Wal Mart, who got their collared shirt from Macy’s? And if you don’t think kids can tell the difference, you don’t know kids. They try to push these uniforms on us since I was in Volusia County school system, I grew up in it. Every couple years they try to push uniforms, just stop. Can we go ahead and put like a ban on it to where from now on you can’t discuss uniforms?



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About Crystal Chavez

Crystal Chavez