3-14820017The primary school in my ‘hood has a no uniform policy.  I dunno how I feel about that.  The kids seem happy but I find it disconcerting.  I grew up in the era of compulsory uniforms with a childhood involving the never ending chore of polishing my school shoes and sometimes ironing my uniform (a task I was more than happy to let Mum do though).  Looking back I reckon it taught me a certain discipline in orderliness and pride in my appearance, all of which I am grateful for.  I still remember the time when school uniform was made non-compulsory.  I was in High School by this stage and while everyone was rejoicing at all the surfer inspired gear they could now wear, inside I was cringing.  Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a total nerd that didn’t appreciate a little fash freedom but suddenly this chasm opened up between who could afford the latest stuff or not.  A super intelligent classmate who came from a struggling family of seven now stuck out like a sore thumb with his hand-me-down shoes, shorts and too small shirt.  And many of the guys never let him forget it, teasing him mercilessly.  From a young age I’ve always stuck up for the underdog and would never hesitate to go into bat for this young man.  It broke my heart to receive a message inside a Christmas card one year from him that simply said ‘thank you for always being so nice to me’.  No kid should have to go through that over what they wear.  Ever.

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