Uniforms could reduce problems in schools

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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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.

Jack Flynn
River Forest

Reader Comments

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OP parent  

Posted: July 1st, 2011 1:57 PM

I'm trying to figure out how mandatory uniforms would be an indication of anything - except a continued committment to avoiding trying to develop complex solutions for complex problems.


Posted: June 27th, 2011 8:09 AM

I'm trying to figure out how mandatory uniforms would be an indication of broad minds and am coming up with a blank. It's a derivative idea that doesn't work.


Posted: June 27th, 2011 12:16 AM

The schools in AZ aren't so good. I'm told. At least in Scottsdale.

OP Resident # 545 from Oak Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2011 11:24 PM

Welcome, Gary, to OP, the place Hemingway touted as having "broad lawns and narrow minds". Truer today than when he wrote it. Anyway, as a product of OP parochial elementary and high schools, I half agree with Mr. Flynn. A dress code would be a welcome change to both D97 & 200. Frankly, I'd be fine with mandatory uniforms, but it'd never happen here. A reasonable dress code would help change some bad behavior by some. And AZ does many things much better than we here in IL. Springfield is a joke.


Posted: June 26th, 2011 8:20 PM

I don't think Arizona has anything to crow about, education-wise. I wish OPers would show a little pride in their schools.

OP local  

Posted: June 26th, 2011 10:31 AM

Heaven forbid anyone outside of OP could have any insight on any issue that affects us. After all we know how to do everything better then every body else. Thought for the day - this may be part of why our schools are good - but not as good as they could be.

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: June 23rd, 2011 1:06 PM

There have been many statement from many states. I don't think this a Phoenix issue. I do think it is evidence of one of the most powerful mailing list in the United States - The NRA, in action.

OP Resident  

Posted: June 23rd, 2011 11:57 AM

Nothing personal, Gary. I read your bio and agree with many of your positions. Just wondering how you came to these pages and what you can tell us about a fellow Phoenix resident, Jerry Hudson. You both recently posted comments regarding local issues.

Gary Klahr from Phoenix, Arizona  

Posted: June 23rd, 2011 11:48 AM

Why this PERSONAL attack on me???? I have no interest in handguns. I get a Google report on nationwide uni controversies daily!! I intervene all over the country when I see false myths being asserted to support MANDATORY unis. I served 8 yrs on the Bd of the 2nd largest HS district in the nation. I'm sorry--but I know the REAL FACTS on this uni scam--and no one ever successfully rebuts them--only personal attacks on ME!. SEE www.aprod.org

OP Resident  

Posted: June 23rd, 2011 11:24 AM

Google search for info on Gary Klahr of Phoenix.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: June 23rd, 2011 10:27 AM

Good question, Query. Why are residents of Phoenix so interested in joining in a discussion of local issues? I'm guessing this has something to do with the handgun ban. Perhaps, Gary Klahr will detail his journey to this forum.


Posted: June 22nd, 2011 11:54 PM

WTF is up with all the carpetbagging rightwing nuts posting from out-of-state in the WJ lately? How about you reactionary buffoons stay the hell out of OUR business, and we'll stay out of yours, ok?

Gary Klahr from Phoenix, Arizona  

Posted: June 22nd, 2011 10:05 PM

As a former elected HS bd member in Phoenix, let me say that the original letter and most of the comments are nonsense. Unis do NOT level the playing field; even if it did, such is SOCIALISM!!!!!!!!!!! We found an anti-bullying code was much fairer to good kids--and stopped the bad kids. Most uni codes bar all kinds of LEGIT street clothes such as multi-colors, pro-social logos, ALL T-shirts and well-fitted jeans. A "regular" dress code is FULLY SUFFICIENT!!!

OP Parent  

Posted: June 22nd, 2011 8:32 PM

High school is a time when it is developmentally appropriate for kids to establish their own identity - which is a big reason behind the wierd fashions. Remember how outraged our parents were at boys having long hair? Yet the world survived. HS uniforms will only lead to HS students seeking ways to modify their uniforms to express thier individuality - and give rise to the uniform police and uniform infractions. I don't see this as a step forward.

Mr. Borderman from Oak Park  

Posted: June 22nd, 2011 7:09 PM

Requiring uniforms would do something besides "level the playing field" (if that): it would reduce clothing costs for hard pressed parents.


Posted: June 22nd, 2011 11:43 AM

I also went to a school where uniforms were required. It was very easy to tell which ones had been purchased at the tony stores and which ones were from uniforms-r-us. So it's a nice idea, but it doesn't level the playing field, or reduce bullying. As for "mob action," I think that's overstating the situation at Julian to an extreme extent.

Anne Jordan-Baker  

Posted: June 22nd, 2011 7:32 AM

Besides having a visceral "yuck" response to uniforms, I also have had the experience of attending two schools where uniforms were required. There was as much or more bullying there as anywhere else I have seen. We had cliques and hierarchies, and everyone knew whose families were wealthy and whose weren't. So I am not immediately convinced that uniforms are that helpful, if they are helpful at all.

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