When I ran last year for Bladen County Board of Education in District Three, school uniforms was one of my top issues. I am very happy that one Principal has now embraced the idea so I wanted to congratulate Principal Susan Inman of Tar Heel Middle for two reasons:
1. She has shown her leadership and visionary skills by recognizing there are many problems in her school, Tar Heel Middle, that can be solved simply by wearing standardized school uniforms.
2. She had the insight and courage to make a professional presentation to the Bladen County School Board concerning the issue, knowing that the Superintendent (Dr. David Dinkins) opposes the idea.
I encourage all citizens to have lunch with a child in a school cafeteria or spend five minutes observing a class just one time before school lets out for the summer. What they will find is that there are the following problems:
1. Some children are dressed well, some are not. The children that come from poor families that is reflected by "less than name brand" clothes, are ridiculed by children who are well dressed. Comments like "Where did you get those shoes from, a yard sale?" dominate the discussion. Naturally, after hearing this criticism for years, most poor children suffer from low self-esteem-not based on their mind, but their clothes. A good self-esteem is most of the battle of completing an education. If you think you can....You Can! Uniforms will make everyone equal at least in clothing. Peer pressure and ridicule are major problems under the current system.
2. Everyday, most Principals stand at the front door of their schools looking for dress code violators. Kids "interpret" the dress code any way you can imagine these days. Often they test the limits by wearing clothes too revealing or with inappropriate wording for an educational environment. Uniforms will solve this problem. This will allow the Principal to focus on his/her job instead of being the clothes police.
3. Parents like me spend too much money on school clothes. Let's face it, we live in a rural county with limited financial resources and job opportunities. Heck, I have to travel all the way to Atlanta once a week to hold a job worth having! ANYTHING the School Board can do to save families of school age children money, it should do! I conservatively estimate that uniforms would save an average family with two children $1,000 a year. Money saved is money earned!
I would like to recommend to the Board of Education that Principal Inman be promoted to Asst. Superintendent as soon as possible. We need innovative thinkers who know how to lead, in the head office.
Let's band together Bladen County and make uniforms a reality for all schools!