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Enforcing the Uniform Policy: Useless or Protective?

Gables+student+wearing+her+uniform+and+ID.
Gables student wearing her uniform and ID.

Gables student wearing her uniform and ID.

Gables student wearing her uniform and ID.

Chase Bagnall-Koger, Staff Writer

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Ever since Coral Gables Senior High first opened its doors in 1950, there has been some form of uniform policy, which has evolved over the years. Whereas students previously were only permitted to wear khaki pants and red, white, or black shirts, our current principal, Mr. Adolfo Costa, expanded the uniform to include jeans and gray polos. Student IDs are issued on picture day, and school policy has always been that students are required to have student IDs with them at all times. However, this has not always been consistently enforced, and uniform policy has become more relaxed in the recent years. Nonetheless, in light of the recent shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, the administration of Coral Gables Senior High School has decided to return to firmly enforcing the uniform policy. While some have praised this action as a step towards making schools safer, others feel that this is an ineffective measure. Although this rule undoubtedly was made with good intentions, the enforcement of the school uniform policy does little to make the students of Coral Gables Senior High more secure.

One of the major goals of mandatory uniforms is keeping outsiders off of school campus during school hours unless they are allowed to be on school grounds. The idea is that if all students are dressed the same way, anyone who is not wearing uniform will be instantly noticeable and can be removed from campus if they do not have permission to be there. However, the uniform for Gables students is easily obtainable. Students are not required to have school logos on their uniforms, meaning that it would be simple for outsiders to replicate it- polo shirts and jeans are easily accessible to the general public and can be found in any clothing store. If a person, who does not belong at Gables, wanted to enter the campus, they could wear the uniform and blend in with the rest of the student population. Although this may be a scenario that is unlikely to occur due to security guards at all entrances to the property, in this situation, the existence of a strict uniform would not make a large difference in ensuring the security of students and administrators at Coral Gables High.

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“I think that the enforcement of the mandatory student IDs does make our school safer because they are harder to obtain. I think the uniform polos, because anyone can easily go to a store and buy a polo, do not make us any safer.””

— freshman Mia Cabrill

The time and effort required to enforce the uniform policy also has the potential to take away from the learning environment. The student body is made up of almost 3,500 people requiring a lot of effort to constantly monitor on an average day. Teachers and administrators now have to take time out of their day to inspect each student they come into contact with and issue detentions to anyone violating the uniform policy. Security guards, who generally patrol the campus and secure the entrances to the school in the morning, will become preoccupied with enforcing uniforms. Teachers have the responsibility of furthering the education of students, and security guards have the job of keeping everyone safe. To shift their focus away from these objectives creates a less productive environment.

“I don’t feel like making all student wear a uniform does anything for improving our safety,” freshman Marissa Gagliano said.

Proponents of the mandatory school uniform policy argue that school uniforms make school campuses more secure; if all students the same clothes, intruders could be easily spotted. The entirety of the student body having something, their uniform, in common would also promote a sense of school pride.

However, there are alternate policies that Gables has recently adopted that are much more effective in promoting school safety. For example, the rule that students must wear their student IDs while in school makes it harder for adults or kids from other schools to be on campus without detection, especially since they are virtually impossible for non-students to obtain. Closing all gates during school hours, also helps to decrease the chances of people walking into the school while it is in session. As far as promoting school unity, school activities such as Spirit Week or pep rallies, are more successful than uniforms because students are coming together to do something enjoyable and fun.

Altogether, the enforcement of the mandatory uniform policy at Coral Gables High school is not likely to cause a significant change in school safety. The consistent enforcement of this policy also is also time-consuming for everyone involved. Although some policies, such as closed school gates and mandatory student IDs, have helped our school become a safer place, the mandatory uniform policy does not.

 

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Enforcing the Uniform Policy: Useless or Protective?