Uniform Policy Op-Ed

Uniform Policy’s strict enforcement does not eliminate the problem

by Lucy Gonzalez, Staff Writer

At Downtown Doral Charter Upper School, uniform is a must: pants with the school logo on the upper left side of the pocket, blue and navy belt, penny loafers and Monday vest.  

Wearing a uniform improves school image, teaches students professionalism and responsibility, and it makes sure all students are treated equally. It also relieves students of the stress it takes to find a new outfit to wear each day. School administrators believe uniforms will make students strong global leaders by preparing them for careers where business-attire is key. Although this does make sense, and I do see it as a way to promote structure and responsibility, its enforcement is a bit extreme.

As of September 12, any student who forgets any part of their uniform will be sent to SCSI until their parent or guardian can bring it to them.  The school also said that if we have five or more SCSI’s on record, we will be excluded from future DDCUS activities and events. I understand why they are doing this, but I believe that enforcing the uniform policy in this way might have negative effects on student learning.

Having students miss out on class instruction because they forgot their belt or school tie is counter-productive. If a teacher is going over a review for a test, that student who is held in SCSI will miss an opportunity to learn. In some cases, there will be students who could potentially be held in an all-day SCSI because not all parents can leave work.

This places an undue burden on parents who will have to stop what they are doing at home or at work, drive to the school, and give their child their missing uniform piece. This not only disrupts a student’s learning day, but it also disrupts parents who are at work. This leads to stress for both parents, students, and school faculty who have to abide by the rules.

Do I believe SCSI is useful for enforcing disruptive behavior? Yes.

Do I believe SCSI is useful for enforcing the school’s uniform policy? No. It shouldn’t be a punishment for those who aren’t repeated offenders of the uniform policy.

For tardies, you are supposed to be in SCSI for your first period, but it doesn’t keep students there until parents arrive to excuse the student. Missing a piece of your uniform should be treated similarly. You made an effort to get to school on time and should be punished for breaking the rules, but then you should be allowed to go back to class and learn. There should be actual punishment for repeated offenders, but not for those who forget it once or twice.

A possible revision of this policy’s enforcement would benefit not only students but parents, who can finish their work and provide for their families without disrupting their children’s education. Maybe a warning the first or second time a student forgets to wear their full uniform will do the trick. 

Making sure everyone follows the rules and is prepared for the future is a difficult task. I definitely commend our school’s administration for guiding us. Being in uniform is beneficial to the school’s image and students in general, but revisions to the uniform enforcement should be considered.