The whole OPRF High School community must be saddened to read about the fight and "mob" action at Percy Julian Middle School (Hawthorne when I went to school there over 65 years ago).
I get many very positive comments from the citizenry when I advocate for a dress code — uniforms for our public schools. However, when discussed with school administrators, the word is always, never in Oak Park.
Just a few weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal had an article about the pros and cons of uniforms. One that stood out was "it levels the playing field." If ever a community was striving to "level the playing field," it has been Oak Park. Look how uniforms would aid security at the high school. Think of the reduction in peer pressure. Uniforms indicate that education is a serious matter. Our school leaders often hide behind the assumption that Oak Park is a litigious community. That should not deter a correct decision.
The school administration should use every tool at its disposal to improve education and reduce bullying, peer pressure and fighting. Research shows uniforms will make major improvements in all these areas. The additional security factor, especially for the high school, might also help reduce drug and alcohol use.
Until recently, the discipline problems at the middle schools and OPRF have been viewed as sort of minor; kids will be kids. Our taxes are paying for first-class education. Our children need a first-class education to succeed in today's very difficult environment. Clubs, cliques and gangs enjoy their individuality, but uniforms would level the playing field at a totally higher level than presently exists.
Try it; there isn't anything to lose.
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