Clothes maketh the school

Monday night and I’m at the Opus Concert, a concert put on by the Department of Education to celebrate musical excellence in our public schools. Hugamuga was in the Chorale and it was a fine concert.

Anyway I’m sitting there next to an older father who also has a daughter at Hugamuga’s school in his year. We do the polite how is your son/daughter finding the school and then it begins:

“Oh well I think they’re pretty slack on the uniform.”

St Trinians  ex the Sun

“Have you seen the girls? The skirts so short they look like hookers. Girls wearing stripey socks, I saw a girl smoking in public. It’s terrible. The school should be more strict.”
“And have you communicated this to the school?”

No. He hadn’t.

And there’s my point. Don’t whinge at me if you’re not prepared to do anything about it!

I felt quite disgruntled.

Partly because I hate the no action thing but also because frankly I think he’s right. They could smarten up the uniform just by insisting on “proper” school shoes and dropping the polo shirts which just look slack. They could smarten it up just by insisting the kids actually wear it.

With one child now at a private school and the other at a public school the gulf between the pride in the uniform (and by extension the school) is very obvious. It even affects how I feel about the schools. I’m second guessing my decision to send Hugamuga public despite the sound academic reasons for doing so… and partly it’s because of the uniform.

Which is crazy.

But it does reflect the universal truth that first impressions count. We judge others on the state of their dress. Are his shoes clean? Does the tie clash with the shirt? Could she wear a shorter skirt? Lower cut top? Dowdier cardigan? Why would a school be any different?

Clothes maketh the man, and in this case, the school… and yes, I’m going to contact the school. Because I’m bolshy like that. 🙂

11 Replies to “Clothes maketh the school”

  1. Aside from your point that we are an appearance driven society and are judged, and judge, on clothing etc., I think it’s important for children (anyone, really) to have some sense of pride in their school and it’s uniform. And more importantly? Themselves.

  2. My kids started in public but now are in private. The difference is enormous. But it’s not just the clothes that make the uniform. They are taught to wear the uniform with pride, to be proud of it and to identify the school with themselves. So they are taught about belonging, about community, about being responsible for how others see the school through them. There is a connectedness there that I don’t see in any of our local public schools where the uniform is allowed to run riot.

  3. Photo – Modern day St. Trinian’s?
    I think you should go ahead and say something about the uniform, even if it is only to have all the skirts the same (decent) length and everyone wearing the same socks and ties. It might have the side effect of boosting the self esteem in the students themselves.

  4. This is a subject that plays on my mind.

    When my daughter went from a Private school in Melb to public school in Syd I spent 6 months in culture-shock. Partly due to the uniform thing. I just associated good schooling with pride in uniform. Soon I began to look at the quality of the schooling from a new angle and realised that the kids at our new school were just as disciplined in their school work, if not their uniform.

    However, all my views came flooding back when checking out private high schools for my kids. I couldn’t help but want to reject the ones whose uniform policy was slack which was the case in one co-ed private school. The girls wore their hair down, boys shirts were hanging out and there was a lot of uniform customisation. I think all my school days came flooding back when the policy was so strict that we even had to wear our hats at a specific angle on our heads.

    One thing does reverberate in my head ‘though. If there is a uniform policy, it should be stuck to. It speaks poorly of a school that cannot ensure that its students adhere to its policies. If they can’t even get them to wear the correct shoes, how can they get them to follow more difficult, necessary policies?

  5. My youngest daughter goes to a northen (Perth) suburbs public high school where the uniform code is adhered to. The kids do get detention for not wearing the correct uniform. The winter pants are navy blue, and they have to be navy blue – black is not an option. The polo shirts have to be the school ones in white or navy.

    Homework is another area that they are very strict about, Laura is frightened of handing homework late. I agree with the school policies as it sets the kids up for later on in life with work deadlines and dress standards to be met.

  6. I have no clue how I ended up at this site, but that is kinda besides the point.

    I am a 28 year old American finishing up law school at a tier one Law School here in the states, I am simply stating this to establish that I am not some half wit or archaic animal.

    OK– I just want to let you ladies know that private girls love to hump. Yup I said it, and I am very seasoned in the art of sex, throughout my years in high school and undergrad I dominated females from every spectrum imaginable, rich, poor, white, black, tall short, skinny, fat (nah, I take that back, I don’t think I ever bedded a plumper) you name it I tagged it. I can say with 100% confidence that the EASIEST, not to mention the FREAKIEST gals in bed were the private school “bettys”.

    The reason I am sharing this information, is too open your eyes a little. Maybe allow you to see that things outside their “school uniform” bears importance, let alone extended discussion.

    And to the lady who was saying something along the lines of how much better “private” was then “public” I would love for her to talk to a random sample from any law, medical, or (grad.) business college. Preferably one with impressive accolades. I would bet anything and everything I own/have to my name that she would be knocked on her behind with the information she got back. You see the crowd I run with are your typical “prep” schoolers from the Upper east coast (NY, MA, CT, etc) all of whom went to the best, well some of the best, private and prep institution’s throughout their middle school and high school years.

    All I will say, is that I have never met a group who loves there coke (blow, cocaine, etc), liquor, and unabashed sexual contact like these kids. They are good people, love everything about them but man, they are out of a movie.

    Oh and I should add, I was a public school kid myself, K-12 baby. So I’m heading out, but just figured I would let you all in on a little slice of reality. *wink, wink*

    PS- I would love to rail the third one in from the right in the picture above. FYI

    snootchy boochies~

  7. Will leave the above for you to respond to CB! 🙂

    I just wanted to add that I am so glad there are other mums like you who encourage parents to deal with any issues that they have. I find it frustrating to hear parents complaining about issues at school, yet they won’t communicate them to school staff.

  8. Suze – Amen to that.

    Lightening – I agree. The best results are where it’s a joint effort.

    Bettina – sounds like you’ve found the right school for your family.

    River – Yes… from the latest movie. 🙂

    M – good point. I must say in terms of Hugamuga’s school – from the outside the discipline seems pretty good… apart from the uniform but then, the uniform policy says nothing about shoes or socks – apart from “covered shoes must be worn in science and home ec labs.”

    Margaret – glad to hear it. I must say I’ve been impressed with teachers emailing me if there’s a problem at school – homework not done etc.

    Drew – disappointment to whom? 🙂

    Kane – thanks for your perspective. I agree that going to a private school does not guarantee that your child will remain drug or sex free. In fact I suspect because there is more disposable cash around that the problem could be worse.

    PQ – I’m into people taking responsibility for their own lives at the moment ! Oh and I emailed the principal. 🙂

  9. Uniforms turn the society to a “the same person” thing. Man can lose the identity in a such group of “same” persons. The problem when students don’t need to wear a uniform is that there are always some “cool rappers” and similar personalities.

    But I wouldn’t wear a uniform if I had to. I’d rather change the school. Fortunately, now I am university-graduated and there will be no more school in my life 🙂 . Except my children.

    There were crazy rules in my junior high… I couldn’t wear an eye-ring! This is why I hate uniforms. It’s better to be free. Piss off someone, but be yourself.

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