Who Can Dress the Best?

Julia C, Daily Life

A new school year often ushers in new changes. And this has certainly been the case with St. Robert. New students, new teachers, and for the first time in a long time, a new principal. Like all good leaders, St. Robert’s new principal, Ms. Ward took the time to learn more about her new environment and assess current needs. As a result, she has set up some new rules and expectations. One rule that has received a lot of attention from students is uniform checks. 

Uniform checks consist of a process to ensure that students are in compliance with the St. Robert dress code. To start, Ms. Ward occasionally broadcasts a reminder to all students during morning announcements to check that their uniforms are good to go for the day. Then, teachers check the students’ uniforms throughout the day to make sure they follow the dress code rules. A teacher might randomly give out Bobcat Bucks to students in any grade who are in compliance with the dress code. For students in any grade who a teacher observes are not in compliance with the dress code, they might be sent to the office if any change in clothes is needed. The consequences for middle school students, however, are a bit stricter. They will also receive an infraction for being out of uniform. 

A couple of 8th graders here at St. Robert offered their thoughts about this year’s increased focus on the dress code. Josie indicated that since there has been more emphasis on uniform checks, she is more conscious of how her uniform appears. The hardest parts about the uniform check for Josie are remembering to tuck in her shirt and making sure her skirt is an appropriate length. An aspect of the dress code that’s also been highlighted through the uniform check is the type and amount of jewelry that can be worn. For Josie, this is kind of disappointing and feels a bit more personal. When asked what she would change about the policy, Josie suggested that it would be nice to not be as limited in wearing jewelry. “I really enjoy wearing jewelry, and I miss wearing it.” 

 Another student from the 8th grade class, Charlie, also had some thoughts about the uniform checks. At one particular uniform check, Charlie recalls receiving a Bobcat Buck, a reward for having all aspects of his uniform in place. He also thought the uniform checks are very different from what the school has done in the past: “The dress code is a lot more strict this year, and it’s very different from what we have done before.” However, Charlie does like receiving rewards when he complies with the policy. Despite this, the new uniform checks can be challenging for some students. One thing Charlie thinks is a challenge is simply being prepared for the check as it’s easy to forget about the details, especially if it’s a busy morning. Charlie also commented on the policy related to the length requirement for shorts. He thinks the required length is too long because he finds that length uncomfortable and prefers them a bit shorter so they are above the knee. 

St. Robert’s new principal, Ms. Ward also had some reflections on the focus of uniform checks. As an adult, she has a different perspective as she sees the school uniform as an issue of fairness among students and a way to keep things consistent across the school. Even though she sees that there are challenges with uniform checks, which has also been the case at other schools where she has worked, Ms. Ward thinks the process at St. Robert is going well. “Schools have to be intentional” about the effort, she said. School uniforms are a sign of being proud of the school and the school’s identity. When asked about her goals around this policy, Ms. Ward expressed that she wants students to be proud of how the students and their uniforms look and how students care for themselves because that will have an effect on how others view them in return.

Ms. Ward also answered the question that is on everyone’s mind: Which grade is looking the best so far? Well, Ms. Ward ironically said, “K4! Just because they don’t have a uniform!” Middle schoolers better step it up if they are to compete with the undoubtedly most adorable students in the school, the four-year-olds.

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