, Derry, New Hampshire


October 17, 2013

Editorial: Uniformity is not always best

Students at Pinkerton Academy could have a uniform look next fall.

School officials are contemplating a “unified dress code” for the future. While school leaders are careful to avoid calling it a uniform, that’s exactly what it is.

Khaki pants, skorts, skirts, shorts and polo shirts with an embroidered Pinkerton logo are the basics of the proposed wardrobe.

There’s nothing particularly offensive nor attractive about the samples students modeled at a parents’ night last month.

Some parents have complained the clothing doesn’t flatter every body type and could subject a student to ridicule.

Far more objected to the proposal that parents purchase the uniforms from Lands’ End, a pricey proposition. In addition to the burden of a substantial uniform cost, many parents said, would be the cost of a wardrobe for outside school. Students are unlikely to wear their Pinkerton attire any longer than required.

But the bigger issue in the closet is whether a New Hampshire high school needs uniforms.

Pinkerton already has a very explicit dress code, outlined in great detail on Page 4 of the 80-page student planner the school distributes.

Academy students can’t wear cutoffs, bare their midriffs, come to school in pajamas, sport spaghetti straps, choose shirts that promote illegal activity, violence or sexual activity, or have trouble walking because their pants are too low-slung.

Those are all reasonable guidelines and very clearly spelled out.

Also spelled out are the punishments for violating the code, including requiring parents to bring an appropriate outfit to campus, keeping an ill-dressed student out of class or even sending them home.

Again the punishment appears to fit the crime. Break the rules and pay the price.

But Headmaster Mary Anderson says it’s not working. Kids are dressing for “the beach,” there’s too much skin visible in the classroom and the staff is spending too much time on enforcement.

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