School Uniforms—and Not

Hey shadesong—this was in my e-mail this morning and I thought of Elayna’s school.


In 1994, Long Beach, Calif., was the first big-city public school district to adopt uniforms. When school crime rates dropped 22 percent the first year, the district quickly became a model for the country.

Soon educators and politicians began to hold up uniforms as cure-alls: noise and discipline problems went down, attendance and test scores went up. Uniforms would blur distinctions between rich and poor and short-circuit the age-old competition over clothes.

Former President Bill Clinton urged uniforms in two State of the Union addresses.

But in the spring of 1999, a parent at a California junior high school objected to mandatory uniforms, saying the policy violated students’ constitutional right of free expression.

A newspaper article pointed out state law allowed parents to opt out of uniform policies. It was news to many parents and ammunition to their children. The word spread quickly.
Hundreds of parents opted out and others began using waivers as bargaining chips — get an A in algebra and a student could opt out of the uniform.

— What is a “student’s constitutional right of free expression?”
— Should uniforms be required if parents can have their children opt out?


Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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