Uniform code at school gets a thumbs up Most parents, pupils at Shipley's Choice happy with first day

'It's really comfortable'

Less fashion stress should help grades, some mothers say

April 02, 1996|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Jessica Diamond had to decide what to wear to Shipley's Choice Elementary School yesterday morning: a sweat shirt and jeans or a blue shirt and jumper.

She chose the latter -- the new school uniform.

"I think it's really nice," said the third-grader, admiring her outfit. "It's really comfortable."

Jessica was one of about 100 children at the 440-student Severna Park school who took part in the first day of a voluntary uniform program.

The outfits are similar for boys and girls: a white or blue polo shirt and navy or khaki slacks. Girls also are allowed to wear a plaid jumper or skirt with a white blouse.

For the most part, the uniforms were a hit among the children who wore them and the parents who paid about $150 for five days' worth of clothes.

"It's good, because it's pretty," said Erica Johnson, 6, who wore a white blouse and a plaid skirt.

"It helps to reduce the hassle [of choosing clothes] in the morning," said her mother, Nancy. "I think it's economical, and it's a nice, neat look."

"I think it puts more emphasis on their schoolwork instead of what to wear," said Gail Diamond, Jessica's mother.

But some students in uniforms said they would rather have worn their own clothing.

"I hate it," said Stephanie Berger, a second-grader in a white blouse and plaid jumper. "You look like a jerk, and not everyone is wearing it. You get teased."

Steve Buss, a member of the school's Citizens Advisory Committee, which implemented the policy, said the group expected some initial criticism from the children.

But Mr. Buss said surveys showed that about 60 percent of the parents favored uniforms.

Mr. Buss noted that a year's worth of uniforms could cost considerably less than designer clothes and that parents wouldn't have to keep pace with fashion.

And most importantly, Mr. Buss said, the committee hoped that the uniforms would encourage students to concentrate on the real reason they are in school.

"We're hoping that the kids would be more focused on their academics," he said. "You try to do anything to reinforce the premise that school is a place to learn."

Uniforms are not new to the coun- ty. Quarterfield and Windsor Farm elementaries implemented voluntary dress codes last November. At Quarterfield, about 200 of the 512 students wear uniforms regularly, said Principal Joseph LoCascio.

Lewis Frey, principal at Windsor Farms, where about 70 percent of the children wear uniforms, said the policy has changed the school's atmosphere greatly.

He estimated that the number of students sent to the office has decreased by a half-dozen per day.

"There's less name-calling, less fighting. Overall, I've felt there's been a calming effect," Mr. Frey said.

Linthicum Elementary will start its voluntary dress code this fall, said Principal Sharyn Doyle.

Pub Date: 4/02/96

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.