Why This Mom Can’t Stand School Uniforms

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Okay, so I know that my opinion on the topic of school uniforms isn’t the most popular here in Baton Rouge, where all kids – even public school kids – wear school uniforms. Most moms love school uniforms. School uniforms make back to school shopping easier. School uniforms make getting dressed in the morning easier. And I’ve been told (though I’ve yet to be convinced) that school uniforms make for a better classroom learning environment.

But I don’t care because my son is my child, and what he wears should be his and my business.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand that schools need to have a dress code. We don’t want boys wearing jeans sagging down to their knees and showing their skivvies or girls wearing shorts and skirts that are so short they leave very little to the imagination. I get that.

But school uniforms for public school kids just take the dress code too far, in my opinion. After all, my child is a unique individual. He likes to express himself. He likes to pick out his clothes depending on his mood. Sometimes he likes to match. Sometimes he doesn’t like to match. But all the time – except on school days – he’s learning that how he is expressing himself relates to how he is presenting himself. Yes, even at the young age of five.

However, The Man has decided that my child doesn’t get to choose what he wears to school. He’s taken away that choice. He’s controlling me and my child, and I don’t like it one bit.

You know what else I don’t like? Dress down days! Days where my child can pay a dollar or two to dress down and wear whatever he wants. Now believe me, I take advantage of these days so my child can express himself. But I can’t believe I have to pay to allow him to do so. I also don’t like the special reward days, where if my child has earned a certain number of class points he can earn the privilege of doing something as awesome as untucking his shirt. You have to earn the “privilege” to untuck your shirt? Are you kidding me?!

Moms, why are we letting the public schools control our kids so much? Why are we letting them tell us how to dress our children? And why do we let the public schools spend their time and energy enforcing school uniforms when we should instead be demanding that our schools perform higher on the national level? I mean really, when it comes to schools in Louisiana, aren’t there more important things for us to worry about,such as not being ranked amongst the worst states for education in the nation?

Maybe this post has ruffled some feathers. And that’s okay! We should be talking about the rules our schools enforce on our children and what the real purpose of school is: a quality education. And I just don’t see how wearing a tucked in navy polo shirt and khaki pants help my child learn anything other than to sacrifice his individuality and follow the crowd.

How do you feel about school uniforms? Love them or hate them? Non-issue? Share your thoughts!

Karen is a California native who moved to Baton Rouge about three years ago for her husband's job. She loves Louisiana and the only thing she misses about living out west is In-N-Out burgers. Karen has two toddler boys and two teenaged stepsons. Before becoming a stay-at-home mom, Karen was a Senior Communications Manager for a software company. She earned her Bachelors degree from (don't hold it against her) the University of Southern California, where she graduated Cum Laude. In addition to spending time with her family, Karen enjoys writing, pretending she's good at making crafts and running.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Not really seeing how this is a big deal. He can express himself in other ways and through his clothing on evenings and weekends. Few adults can wear exactly what they want during the work week. Most of us have workplaces that set standards for what can and can’t be worn, whether it’s an actual uniform, business professional attire, etc. And uniforms help equalize students and prevent a student from being bullied or feeling insecure if his parents can’t afford the popular brands or trendy clothes that other students’ parents can. You can have uniforms AND work to improve the school system – they’re not mutually exclusive.

  2. I’m super late to the discussion but I really dislike the uniform policy. I don’t think they necessarily equalize students. Kids will have more or less expensive shoes, backpacks and accessories. School staff waste a lot of time and effort policing the students over their uniforms. And yes, paying for your child to get to wear jeans for a day is ridiculous even if it’s one dollar. One of my kids has missed out on free dress days a few times for falling short in behavior points. It wasn’t for bad behavior either, but for forgetting to have us sign things. If they want equality, blatantly pointing out who failed getting enough points by making them the only ones not allowed to wear free dress for a day is not the way to do it. And finally, as poorly as Louisiana schools are performing, time could be more wisely spent focusing on real issues.

  3. I’m new to BR and I must say this whole school uniform thing is a pain. I get why some parents like it but my 10 year old son was just getting really good at picking out his clothes before we moved here. He no longer gets to be an individual and I feel like it crushes him.

  4. The colors of burgundy and blue are ugly and someone with no taste obviously picked the ensemble. I’ve seen great color and uniform combinations but the public school uniforms are depressing and need to be updated.

  5. I will say I agree completely with you. I’m a California mom who moved to New Orleans and had a son here and there are no uniforms there.

    My gripe is the cost. My son’s uniform shirts are $23 a piece. I don’t even want to spend $23 on my own shirts let alone spend that times 5 a semester. Not to mention the pants, belt and shoes. It’s ridiculous. Not to mention they restrict where you can get the uniforms which helps the uniform shops surplus what they charge.

    If there was there no uniform policy and he was free to wear what he wants; at Target, H&M, Walmart, Old Navy the most I’d spend per shirt would be $10. Same for pants.

    I’d rather have a policy on inappropriate school wear versus a pricey uniform policy that restrict creativity/expression and my pockets.

  6. I agree with this 100%.. I’m from here, I remember always going to school and feeling down and just “not comfortable” I moved to Ohio in 8th grade, it was such a shift in my overall feeling toward school and I believe it was mainly because we didn’t have to wear uniforms. Most of my family is in Louisiana, but this is plays a factor in our decision to not move back for the sake of our kids.

  7. Love uniforms. Teaches them from early on that they may not like the rules but they have to follow them. If parents don’t make it an issue, neither will the child. There are so many bigger issues at schools in La, and wearing uniforms gives the teachers one less thing to have to police during there day. Love uniforms

  8. I grew up in public school and we didn’t have uniforms then. Now that I’m a mom, I love them! It takes the guesswork out of what to wear each day and keeps their other clothes looking nice for the weekends, etc. We haven’t had to spend much on uniforms. We’ve shopped used uniform sales for $1, resale shops, and received lots of hand-me-downs (the benefits of everyone dressing the same!) As a former teacher, I will say that uniforms bring an added level of security to our schools. It’s easy to spot an outsider when everyone is dressed accordingly. From a socioeconomic standpoint, I prefer it because it takes the attention away from what kids are wearing. There are many more benefits to uniforms and dress code that I could list, but I believe it all comes down to perspective. Choosing to see the good makes all the difference.

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