La Verne Magazine
"Education in La Verne"
Uniforms Sew Unity, Success in Classroom
by Jeannette Gano
"What am I going to wear today?" Many schools in the Bonita
Unified School District have moved to eliminate this question from students'
Some elementary schools have implemented mandatory school dress codes
while others have an optional dress policy that encourages school dress.
The question as to what to wear can be especially important to students
at the middle school level. Teachers and administrators agree that, many
times, students are influenced by issues of peer pressure and find it important
to "fit in."
Ramona Middle School took away the stress and distraction of dress when
it implemented a mandatory school dress policy. Since the beginning of the
year, teachers and administrators have seen an improvement in classroom
attentiveness and unity.
Ramona administrators spent two years preparing for the implementation
of the policy. They researched schools that enforced mandatory school dress,
spoke to teachers in other districts who relayed positive feedback about
its results, surveyed the Ramona school staff and finally presented the
idea to the Parent Teacher Association (PTA). The PTA surveyed parents for
more opinions. Having received support from staff, the PTA and 78 percent
of parents who responded to the survey, the school sought guidance from
the District office.
Lois Klein, assistant principal at Ramona who was involved in the dress
policy implementation process, is aware of the fact that students today
are faced with a variety of pressures, including the need to be accepted
and to "fit in."
"School dress codes relieve one stress from the students and set
guidelines, boundaries, and security," Klein says.
She also believes that if students know they are coming to a school
that has guidelines and expectations, they will feel the need to live up
Dress codes are not a solution to educational problems, she adds, but
"a piece of the puzzle in giving students the best educational experience."
In its own process of implementing the dress policy, Klein says administrators
heard from both staff and parents asking for mandatory school dress. Students
and parents played a key role in the decision-making process. A committee
was formed and students and parents were given the opportunity to present
samples of clothing they thought were reasonable.
In the end, when the committee agreed to an acceptable dress code, the
theme for Ramona's uniforms, "Pride in Appearance," was chosen,
and a fashion show to model the new styles was held at the beginning of
Navy blue, black or khaki pants with white, navy, burgundy or hunter
green shirts were modeled. Eighth graders also showed off the four-color
striped shirts (comprised of the above colors) they had the option of wearing.
Aside from these combinations, students may also wear overalls. Girls
are given the opportunity to wear skirts, skorts or jumpers with their uniform,
as well. Because some students were opposed to the "tuck-in" policy,
tucking in shirts was made an option to students.
Klein admits that, in the beginning, it was difficult to enforce the
old policies. Many teachers, administrators, parents and students were frustrated
with several unclarities concerning appropriate school attire. Because of
such factors of miscommunication, many students spent much of their school
time in the office for dress code violations.
Since then, the new dress policy has been made more clear to students.
Now, the majority of Ramona students and teachers wear school dress. However,
state law permits parents to sign a waiver and not agree to the dress policies.
With mandatory uniforms, students are able to concentrate on schoolwork
rather than on fashion. And teachers will be able to better recognize students
by who they are and not by what they are wearing.
Back to Main Page