Rancor at Aycock

Last night I attended the parent meeting at Aycock Middle School  that was to be a “celebration of the decision” to implement a school uniform policy next year according to a flyer that was mailed to all Aycock families.  It was far from a “celebration”.  Even though the phone survey that was conducted by Aycock staff and parental proponents of the policy change revealed that 84% of those contacted thought that uniforms were a good idea, most of those folks must have stayed home last night.

Several parents who spoke to the issue were not necessarily opposed to school uniforms – but all were highly critical of the process that was utilized to obtain the 84%.  “Biased”, “sell job”, “slanted” and “unbalanced” were some of the descriptors used by parents from both sides of the issue to characterize the input and survey process.

The most important statements last night came from an Aycock teacher.  In an impassioned appeal, this teacher gave her (and perhaps other teachers’) main reason for supporting mandatory uniforms.

She candidly stated that there is a group of students at Aycock who are overly “defiant” and that teachers are having trouble teaching because of them.  She went on to relate how these student’s continued presence was demoralizing the staff and contributing to the high rate (30%) of teacher turnover.  It was her hope that if these student’s are saddled with a policy that strictly limits what can be worn at school – they will choose to not attend Aycock.

She makes the best argument yet for school uniforms and I applaud her honesty and guts for saying what needed to be said and she probably will get reprimanded for speaking the unvarnished truth in an open forum.  (GCS administration folks were in attendance)  But, of course, those kids will just become someone else’s problem if they flee Aycock so uniforms would solve nothing.  And… if all other Guilford County middle schools who are looking for Aycock to lead the way also adopt a uniform policy… the recalcitrant student would probably go full circle and come back to roost where he/she started.

We are getting closer to an open discussion of the root of the problem that uniforms are supposed to correct.  Disruptive children must be removed from the regular classroom expeditiously.  Until the school system takes a no-nonsense approach to discipline in the classroom teachers and principals will continue to grasp at any rope that is thrown their way - like school uniforms.

Here is the finest treatise I have read on the issue.  From Arizona, it states that uniforms are, “the most over-sold academic fad since New Math”

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