Posted: Wednesday, August 11, 2010 8:01 pm
By: By Lisa Smartt
There’s big news around our county (Weakley County) as the guys and gals prepare to go back to school this year. A new uniform policy has been instituted for the middle schools and high schools and it’s all the buzz on the street. I’ve always wanted to say that phrase, “It’s all the buzz on the street.” Just ask any parent or older child and you’ll get a plethora of opinion about the school uniform situation. All this talk about back-to-school clothing has led me to take a little trip down memory lane.
Believe it or not, I remember what I wore my very first day of school in first grade. I was clad in a royal blue dress with a cool flared skirt made from a double knit fabric that could stretch from here to China. That was back in the day when girls weren’t allowed to wear pants to school. Of course, my royal blue dress was complemented by my red knee socks and white shoes. Look out, world! Here comes a fashion-conscious patriotic girl ready to read, “See Spot run!” My mom was a master seamstress and she happily made all my clothes. She said she made my clothes so that I could pick out exactly what I wanted and we could make them any style we chose. However, now I realize that she probably made my clothes because I was six years old and taller than the teacher. Nevertheless, I felt pretty stylish.
When I arrived on the middle school scene, it got even better. This is what I kindly refer to as the “era of the pant suit.” Girls were still not allowed to wear jeans at our school. Oh no. Girls could only wear pants if the pants were part of a carefully coordinated “pant suit.” In other words, if you had on lime green double knit pants, you were to have on a long shirt or jacket made of the same lime green double knit material. Let me try to describe the little number I wore the first day of seventh grade. Try to envision the most gaudy floral/stripe fabric in the universe. I mean, think about that wallpaper in your Aunt Dorothy’s back bathroom. Yeah. Similar to that only without the gold foil stripe. Now think about what it would be like if that wallpaper pattern were on double knit fabric that could stretch from here to China. Try to envision that double knit fabric being crafted into a “pant suit” for a seventh grader who was now taller than the principal. Yeah. It may be hard for you to sleep tonight.
Truthfully, when it comes to school uniforms, I have very little opinion. I have strong opinions about politics, theology and whether or not my boys should take out the trash (and yes, they definitely should). But the fact that my son has to wear a belt to school is not going to keep me up at night. The fact that your daughter can’t wear flip flops to school doesn’t motivate me to paint a sign and picket outside the board of education. Several people have mentioned that a uniform policy prevents self expression. I promise that wearing khaki pants will not prevent your son from being the next Picasso. A solid-colored polo shirt will never hold back the next great American writer. If the children in your family are unhappy, feel free to use the line we use: “If this uniform policy is the worst thing that happens to you in life, count your blessings.”
For more information about Lisa Smartt, visit her website lisasmartt.com.
Published in The Messenger 8.11.10