I have Views on this. First, let me say that I have to agree on the point that it is essential to encourage children to express their creativity and personal style. This is something they need to do for proper development, absolutely. Paint, sculpture, dance, athletics, creative writing…there are a wide variety of media through which this can be accomplished.
I have to disagree that it is necessary to do so through clothing, and I doubt this is the true motivation behind this movement. I suspect that the parents who are opposed to this are not the ones lined up at Wal-Mart in the “clothing vouchers only” line. I suspect that the parents protesting this are the ones who are just as concerned as their children about what someone else is wearing, and whether what they themselves have is better.
In an age when our schools are struggling to produce graduates who can hold their own in a global job market, I find it amazing that parents are more concerned about self-expression than about removing one more distraction that prevents kids from focusing on what they are SUPPOSED TO BE really there for – to learn. (I say “supposed to be” because as far as I am concerned, many schools have become more social gathering places than educational facilities any more, and I lay much of the blame for that at the feet of belligerent, uncooperative and over-coddling parents.) While I certainly do not believe that school needs to be a trudging, depressing, stifling environment, I also do not think that the equalization of uniforms will necessarily create such an environment. The environment of any school is only as good as its educators, and a teacher who encourages self-expression and creativity will not suddenly become a Hitler-esque martinet overnight simply because all his or her students are now wearing khaki pants or skirts and navy shirts.
I also suspect that these parents who are so concerned about “self-expression” would not be nearly so supportive of that concept if it involved the child painting freestyle over the wallpaper in the formal dining room! I believe this is merely an excuse for parents to throw a grown-up version of a kicking, screaming fit because someone else has made a decision about what is best for their children, without consulting them.
You are certainly welcome to disagree with me, but as far as I am concerned our society has become over-permissive, and far too concerned with coddling the delicate psyches of our children, rather than teaching them core values and giving them the necessary tools to make their way in the Real World.
Answer this for me, you parents who are concerned with self-expression: When your child shows up to work at a Fortune 500 company in ripped jeans and a skull and crossbones T-shirt, do you honestly think their supervisor is going to wave it off with a “He’s just expressing himself”? Not in the Real World – which is what we are supposed to be preparing our children to deal with!
And the final comment: purchasing uniforms is no more expensive (and may be far less!) than spending thousands (yes, thousands) of dollars trying to help your child keep up with the latest fads. And if you are adamant that they simply must have those Lucky jeans – no one’s telling them they can’t wear what they want to the mall.