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Rant of the Week: Uniforms

When I was in high school, I remember absolutely hating the uniforms. Every little thing had to be perfect or you were in trouble. I couldnít figure out the point of uniforms. Wasnít there a bigger issue to deal with than whether or not I had on black socks? Was the world going to come to an end because my nametag had been lost or broken? I had come from school that didnít teach the word uniform, and I felt like my individuality was being taken away from me. As the years continued and I saw pictures of young people before me dressed in a similar fashion, I began to realize that the uniform was part of the tradition that was being instilled in me. The uniform took away my ability to hide or accentuate my personality with my clothing. It made me be me and not just the clothes I wore. The halls are decorated and covered with photographs. All of them have the same kind of people doing the same kinds of things with the same kind of confidence and contentedness that I think is necessary in a school. The faces of the young people were beaming with a sense of self-determination and a will to succeed that they may have tried to hide with clothes.

I am not saying that I was perfect and ironed my uniform each morning. I didnít. I was given some penance halls (detentions to you non-Jesuit people) for being out of uniform. But it made me think about what I did in a way that is difficult to describe. I had to check for black socks, black military shoes, khaki web bet, nametag, patch, etc. I was the sole person in charge of me. I was responsible for me, and I was limited in what I could do. If I was out of uniform, there was no excuse. I was in trouble. End of argument. As the years went on and it became obvious that the rules werenít going to change because I didnít want to wear my nametag, I began to take some pride in myself. I wore my uniform. I made sure to check to see that I had all of the vital ingredients before I headed into class or school. It was important to me to look that way.

I guess the point here is that some people donít like the rules about uniforms. I understand where you people are coming from. But there are a few things you need to understand from where I sit. The uniform policy at our school is not going to change no matter how stupid you may think it is. That is a fact. Because despite all your protestations of injustice and stupidity, it is important that you be responsible for you. And that means you have your uniform on like itís supposed to be Ė white oxford shirt on the right days, shirt tucked in, shoes all the way on your feet, skirt the right length, etc. If you are out of uniform, we donít have to warn you to fix it. We do that because we are nice. But I am getting tired of seeing the same people ignoring the rules. And I am getting tired of picking on other people.

Be responsible for yourself and be proud of the tradition that the uniform brings to you. Wear it with pride and wear it correctly. Donít be lazy or careless. It isnít the way you were brought up, and you know better. It may seem like a silly thing to have for a detention, but I would rather give you a detention for chewing gum or an untucked shirt than have to worry about something worse. You see, if you get the little things taken care of, the big things work themselves out.