In the history of the western educational tradition, one of the most popular – albeit widely controversial – staples of the school tradition has been the school uniform.
According to the BBC, uniforms originally started out in charity or parochial schools and were considered to be something of that class. Currently, in Great Britain, the uniform is still going strong. It can be found in many if not most schools, yet the case for American schools is different. While uniforms are a large part of the cultural tradition in the British school system, the American public school system has never adopted these particular customs. In fact, although there is some form of a dress code that exists in every school, students can wear sweats, leggings, or even pajamas.
In private, charter, and parochial schools, the uniform, much like in Great Britain, is a staple of the experience. One of the most popular British schools, Christ’s Hospital, polled students asking if they would like to keep their uniforms, which have remained unchanged since the sixteenth century. A majority of 95% supported upholding the tradition, and they were even proud of their uniform. Is this the case at Blessed Trinity?
Recently a group of students entered into a slightly heated discussion about uniforms. When asked whether she liked the uniform, Elyse Daniel quickly responded that “I do not like uniforms because they are ugly.” This blunt, straightforward response does have truth in it: for many years uniformed students group up with their freely dressed peers in public schools, where fashion and accessorizing are part of one’s presentation. She followed this statement up with “they limit our self-expression, and I hate them.”
Her fellow classmate Mary Rose Brabrook followed these impassioned words with the simple “why did you steal my lines.” Although a strong majority of the group was trending towards a strong dislike of the uniform, the pacifist, Pia Lopez-Morton of the group diplomatically reminded everyone that “uniforms do make it easier to get ready in the morning,” to which Elyse quickly responded, “stop defending the uniforms!”
Like Pia, many in the group took fewer extremist groups. Some even liked the uniforms, most notably the boys in the group. Alex Alderman backed up his love for the uniform by saying that, “yes, because it makes things pretty simple and it evens the playing field. I’m never worried about my level of drip.”
This brings up one of the classic purposes for uniforms: the inherent equality amongst students. In fact, many of the classic arguments for and against uniforms were brought up: ease, freedom of expression, cost, equality, and more. Yet, John Andrade closed the conversation with the funny but all to true comment “I don’t like it because my legs are freezing during the winter. The skirts are never long enough to keep me warm.”
This sentiment, although obviously ironic, probably does resonate with many uniformed girls especially at BT. The girls in the group agreed that being asked “how are you not freezing in that thing?” during the wintertime by a variety of complete strangers everywhere from the grocery store to Starbucks is a hallmark of the high school experience.
While the uniform does have many advantages, and new trends are emerging such as the reappearance of the crew neck, is it time for Blessed Trinity to offer more than just a small set, especially during the wintertime? And to the administration, no, nobody wants to wear tights.