House Education Committee Debates Uniforms In Public Schools
It's an idea that kids don't like but many parents love. The idea of sending your kid to school in a school sanctioned uniform. Many parents love the idea because it cuts down on having to spend extra money on trendy clothing. It also makes getting kids dressed in the morning easier since their options are limited.
Many kids feel like uniforms take away their individuality. The lack of free dress inhibits their sense of style, fashion, and expression. At least that's what they will tell you as long as Mom and Dad are footing the bill for those designer jeans and over priced trendsetting shirt.
Meanwhile, the Louisiana House Education Committee is debating not so much who is right or wrong but whether school uniforms are a good idea in public schools. Do they help make the atmosphere for learning better? One legislator, Chris Broadwater of Hammond, even took the extraordinary step of putting the idea in front the kids.
Representative Broadwater set up a committee made of fourth graders and asked them to debate and discuss the issue of school uniforms.
We allowed the fourth graders to sit in the committee chairs and they debated each other’s ideas and those that passed out of committee then moved on to the House floor. We filled up the House of Representative Chambers with fourth graders.
What makes this story less about fashion and more about civics is that Mr. Broadwater made a promise to the kids. Whatever bill they finally hashed out and agreed upon, he would sponsor on the floor of the House.
Among the discussions that the kids had about school uniforms were talks about families that can't afford to have more than one uniform.
By Wednesday that uniform often is dirty and if that child doesn’t have clean clothes to come to school, they are often embarrassed and they tend to miss school on Thursday and Friday.
Broadwater said the discussion and debate among the kids certainly opened his eyes to the many different sides of the discussion. While he doesn't feel as if the ruling against uniforms in public schools will come out of this session he does say the measure is getting some unique support.
Once I explain to the individuals the origin of the bill, they are universally supportive of what we were doing in that regard, not necessarily supportive on the concept.