February 2003
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To Have or Not to Have Uniforms, that is the Question!
By Nancy K., Grade 9, Fredericton High, Fredericton, NB

Walking into a classroom at Fredericton High, you see all the students sitting at their desks the same way, with their elbows out and pencils in their right hands. You say "hi" and everyone responds hello. No hi, hey, or how are you doing. Nothing but one simultaneous hello. Uniforms may not suppress one's individuality as much as shown in the example, but it most definitely does. Our every day clothes show our uniqueness no matter what. I am strongly against uniforms.

Will giving the school unnecessary work help students learn more academically? Piling on forms to fill out, colours to choose and designs to pick will not let teachers teach their students more effectively. Uniforms will not only be costly but will be a hassle to deal with and not worth it. Parents would have to purchase uniforms, on top of the amount spent on casual clothes worn on a daily basis. Uniforms would have to be washed, pressed and ironed every other day. The school would have to take measurements, pick a material no one is allergic to, design the uniforms and order them. This is only the tip of the iceberg for extra, useless work. What one wears may be very important to some people but to one person in particular, it could be just as important as his/her religion. What if the final uniform does not abide with someone's religion? What then?

Religion is not the only thing that is unique to someone. The way they walk, talk, think, write or even eat belongs to one person in particular. Like a fingerprint. Isn't what a student wears and how they choose to wear a particular piece of clothing a part of them as well? Should we not be able to wear what we want, when we want? Shouldn't we be allowed some self-expression? Have we not been told year after year, problem after problem to be ourselves? Probably.

Wearing a boiling hot, itchy and uncomfortable uniform in the summer will do nothing to improve FHS's learning situation. Not only will they distract us from paying attention, we will not be in a relaxed learning environment. Uniforms do not help a school and its students learn. It may look respectable and sophisticated but more often than not, a school's spirit often deteriorates and disappears all together. Students, who are not comfortable, will not learn to their greatest extent.

Uniforms are not needed and should not be a top priority at FHS. We do not need a uniform that eliminates individuality, causes trouble and does not improve the learning environment in our school system. Uniforms are not an improvement but a set back for us students.


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