Two Panhandle schools hope to mandate spirit
Contending that a tight dress code creates a better learning environment, two Walton County schools — Freeport Middle and Freeport High — have decided to require all students to wear "spirit" shirts and jackets featuring their Bulldog logo.
School leaders suggest that by wearing the shirts, which cost $6 to $17 depending on style, the students will have increased school spirit.
“I’m excited about the new school year with our campus full of school pride as students wear school spirit shirts,” high school principal Shirley Foster said in news release," according to the Northwest Florida Daily News.
She sent a reminder letter to parents this week, in which she thanked them for their support on the issue.
But how right can school officials be? Do T-shirts create spirit? Or does spirit arise from a real feeling of pride in one's school, based on things that happen there? And if one of the things happening there is forcing teens to wear school T-shirts instead of their own choice of clothing, will the effect be positive or negative?
Of course many of you will now argue that everyone wears a uniform of some sort as soon as they enter the work force, and that school is about learning not clothing. Still, every time we read stories about how schools expect pride to emerge from a shirt, we can't help but wonder about the correlation, and whether it's real or imagined.
Jeff Solochek, Times staff writer