By Emery Lindy
The uniform skirt, a t-shirt and a sweatshirt: this is the notorious St. Mary’s “uniform.” In addition to the dress code, St. Mary’s has had an optional uniform skirt for years.
At the beginning of the 2019 school year, students were shook by news that a uniform polo shirt had been added to the optional uniform. The Land’s End website now has seven possible SMS polo uniform shirts. Colors and styles range from “Long Sleeve Feminine Fit Interlock Polo Shirt” in pink to “Short Sleeve Ruffle Placket Peter Pan Collar Polo Shirt” in blue.
“I don’t really like them, but if you want to wear [the uniform shirts] then okay. I don’t really see the point,” said Astrid Ballink (10). “Outsiders might think that we have a uniform, and then we could get one which I don’t want.”
As of 2017, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that 21.5 percent of public schools in the United States require a uniform.
Denise-Marie Ordway of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Journalist’s Resource reports, “Proponents argue that students will pay more attention to their classwork if they aren’t preoccupied with fashion, and that they’ll be better behaved.”
Many students see uniforms as a good thing because they are convenient and easy.
“I think they are a good thing because it makes it a lot easier to get dressed in the morning and then we wouldn’t have to worry about what we wear to school,” Shifa Panjwani (9) says.
The Harvard Kennedy School’s Journalist’s Resource also says, “Despite their reported benefits, mandatory uniforms are controversial because a lot of parents and students don’t like the idea of forcing children to dress alike, which they say suppresses freedom of expression.”
Hannah Kerlan (9) sees a required uniform as negative: “It diminishes the purpose of St. Marys where we are supposed to express our individuality. How are girls supposed to think that they are different when they come to school for the first time in Pre-K dressed alike?” she said.
Ms. Fogarty says lower school parents like the new shirt options, but that she has not seen any high-schoolers wearing them.
Saanya Srivastava said, “Since the dress code changed this year and we are now allowed to wear t-shirts with words on them, I would rather wear a t-shirt than a uniform shirt."
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