Uniform Policy Revisited

Sophia Richardson, Staff writer

Whether or not students should wear uniforms is a debate that’s been around for ages. Some people think uniforms don’t do anything, while others believe they drastically reduce distractions and improve student focus. In a poll of 205 Kapaun Mt. Carmel students, 41 percent chose “yes” to the question of whether or not uniforms help improve the learning environment while 49 percent chose “no.” The rest chose “other.”

Senior Jackson Reusser believes that uniforms do just what the name implies: unite.

“I like that Kapaun has a school uniform because it allows me to not have to worry about if I have something to wear to school,” said Reusser. “Also, I think having uniforms unifies us in a way because we can always easily identify each other by our uniforms.”

Senior Hayley Stewart thinks uniforms help students feel equal in terms of social status.

“I really enjoy wearing a uniform and I think it’ll be a huge wake-up when I get to college and have to choose an outfit for every single day,” said Stewart. “The uniform is nice for convenience. It’s good that we all have to wear the same priced clothes so no one feels bad if they don’t own the nicest brands of clothes or shoes.”

Principal of Kapaun Mt. Carmel Chris Bloomer agrees.

“Uniforms improve the learning environment by eliminating the distractions of what others are wearing.  We eliminate the judgment of others, the competition that can occur with what people are wearing, and it allows us to focus on the classroom and the learning.  When it comes to interactions with classmates, we have eliminated the superficial exterior trappings of what people wear allowing us to focus on who they really are as people and the ideas that they contribute.” 

Bloomer holds that uniforms help to improve the learning environment.

  “We tend to have more disruptions in the day and more discipline on days that we are out of uniform,” said Bloomer. “It reinforces the virtue of modesty. In addition, the research shows that when you take how students dress out of the equation, there is a drastic improvement in the learning environment, reinforcing our dress code.  I think that the fact that many public schools have gone to uniforms or stricter dress code policies point to the difference that it makes in the classroom and in the overall school environment.”

Students do have their qualms with the dress code, though. 

“If I could change the dress code, I would probably change restrictions on boys’ haircuts,” said Reusser. “I understand that our teachers don’t want our hair to be really distracting, but a restriction on having our hair even just below our ears isn’t a reflection of what most of our lives will look like after high school. Also, I would change the dress code so that certain brands aren’t required. As long as the uniforms look the same, I don’t see a problem in where we bought them.”

Senior Natalie Ostmeyer shares her opinions on the skirt.

“If I could change the uniform, I would probably make the skirts a little bit more flattering,” said Ostmeyer. “Not too much but the skirts now sometimes make girls look like squares. If they were [different] then girls wouldn’t have to feel as uncomfortable or self-conscious in their uniforms every day.”

Senior Angel Njams had issues with buying pants from Schoolbelles. 

“It says girls can wear pants in the agenda. When I went to Schoolbelles, they said they were not allowed to sell pants to girls. Also, I would like to change the fact that the uniforms have to be from Schoolbelles because they are expensive.”

Junior Emerson Orme simply wants to be comfortable.

“I like the uniform because I don’t have to pick out an outfit every day,” said Orme. “[But] I don’t like it because sometimes I just want to wear sweats or other comfy clothes.”

In the same survey as before of 205 students, when asked what they would change about the uniforms, many students said they would change the rule about no logos on socks, or the rule on only certain shoes. Others thought the uniform should be gotten rid of altogether because uniforms hinder self-expression through clothing.

Orme agreed with some of these changes as well as had some ideas of her own.

“[The school should] allow different socks and make forgetting IDs a demerit, not a JUG,” said Orme.

Bloomer has a different take on the issue.

“Our uniform helps us with our mission statemen

t by developing discipline,” said Bloomer. “Our dress code is a continuation of what was started when our students began their education in Catholic schools.  Many of the items that people want to use to distinguish themselves or express their individuality are really advertising for large companies and in the end, are superficial.  My hope is that our students’ talents, their ideas, and their virtues distinguish who they are as individuals, not a Nike swoosh on their socks. When we get to heaven, God will not ask what types of shoes, socks, or headbands that we had and so we should pursue what’s truly important.”