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Students speak up on school uniform issue

T hose curmudgeons who complain that young people don't have anything important to say these days must not have been to Fox Chapel Middle School lately.

Students there, at least the ones in Steve Haberlin's seventh-grade language arts classes, have plenty to say about a couple of hot topics that affect them: a "universal K-8 dress code" being pushed by Superintendent Wayne Alexander, and the opening of Explorer K-8 in Spring Hill later this year.

Haberlin said he spent one day on each issue in his classroom. After discussion, he assigned students to write a short letter to the Times. The idea, Haberlin said, is to not only hone their critical thinking and word skills, but also to give them a practical introduction to a convenient way to exercise their free speech in a dependable community forum.

Haberlin showed his students how to navigate the Times Web site and about 145 of them filed letters electronically. We cannot print every one, but on today's and Monday's Opinion pages we will publish some of the submissions. (Hey, kids, it was solely my call which letters made the cut, so don't take it out on Mr. Haberlin if yours is not included.) The dress code issue will be aired today; look for the Explorer K-8 letters Monday.

Thanks to the students who participated and took the assignment seriously. We are hopeful our readers will enjoy them as much as we did.

Who knows? Maybe these youngsters will inspire even the curmudgeons to chime in on this topic. Jeff Webb, Editor of Editorials

I am writing in regard to changes to Hernando County School Board dress code. Nobody likes the uniforms. Students would act the same no matter what we wear. Also, everybody likes to express their personality.

The uniforms don't look nice. Polo shirts? Are you serious? The shorts don't look very good either. I wore uniforms when I was in elementary school. I didn't like them then, I'm certainly not going to like them now.

Superintendent Alexander thinks uniforms will shake things up and make students work harder, but students will act the same and now they will have a worse attitude because nobody's going to be happy with what they are wearing.

The new school dress code is a BAD idea. I hope my opinion will affect the policy.

Michael Thompson
Spring Hill

• • •

Uniforms are a horrible idea. It doesn't seem fair to the students, because it doesn't affect our grades, the bullying isn't going to stop, and it takes away our individuality and creativity.

What we wear has nothing to do with how we think. The School Board has no right telling us what to wear. I'm sick and tired of adults and teachers telling me what to do and what to wear. It's a free country and I want to keep it that way.

Crysty Eschelbach, Spring Hill

• • •

I think uniforms are a bad idea. We would look the same.

I don't like polo shirts. They look weird on people. I like wearing my shirts and pants.

Some people get made fun of because of their clothes, but that is just life. When we go to high school or college you are still going to be made fun of. It's dumb to give us a dress code. What's the point?

Plus, uniforms are expensive and some people can't afford it. We already have to buy school supplies. Why waste our money on uniforms?

Tony Nagora, Spring Hill

• • •

Uniforms are mind control. The next thing that will happen is shoes. That comes at a higher price.

Kevin Vargas, Spring Hill

• • •

I think we should have uniforms. No one would be made fun of because of what they wear. They won't have to be judged. It'll save parents money. And no one would break the dress code anymore.

If everyone wears uniforms, no one can say anything mean because they are wearing uniforms, too. A lot of pressure students get is about fashion. It causes some students to get upset and frustrated and that's why kids are sometimes not good in school.

If everyone is wearing uniforms, no one can break the dress code.

Angela Dobson, Spring Hill

• • •

The dress code is a bad idea because we will all look the same. My friend thinks that even if he wears a tie and suit he will still act the same way.

Also, students will find a way to put their own style to the uniform. The boys will still wear baggy pants and girls will still wear tight shirts with tight pants, so there really is no point in wearing a uniform.

Jeannette Sepulveda
Spring Hill

• • •

I don't want to look like everyone else. If someone is making fun of what you wear, then that just shows how immature they are.

There always is going to be someone who has better things than you, and they may make fun of you because of what you don't have. Sadly, that's just how our world works. It's not fair that a person is being made fun of because of what they wear, but it's also unfair to take away someone else's freedom because other people think that wearing a uniform will even things out. It won't.

Caren Ferrer, Spring Hill

• • •

I think school uniforms are stupid because you have to wash them every day.

Brandon Paino, Spring Hill

• • •

I think students should have a choice of wearing uniforms or not. Students dress to express who they are and what they are about. We have the weekends to ourselves, but most of us have to babysit, do chores and we never get to hang out with our friends. So, we don't have time to show what we are about and express ourselves except at school.

If we all wear uniforms you're trying to say we are all alike. And it's not true. Don't you think we should at least have the right to say what we want to wear?

Punish the ones who don't follow the dress code. Let others dress as we want.

Tyler Vore , Spring Hill

• • •

Uniforms make you look like a nerd. They want us to wear dickies and polo shirts. I would like to wear my own clothes. I think my opinion counts.

Michael Diaz, Spring Hill

• • •

I am writing in regard to the superintendent about the new dress code for next year. I don't like you. I hope you don't get that new rule. I hope your idea gets vetoed.

I wish I could stop you, but I have no power except the power of free speech.

I, Jimmy Hunter, don't want to look like everyone else.

Jimmy Hunter, Spring Hill

• • •

I believe students should not have to wear uniforms, but I do think the dress code should be a little stricter. I do not think it is fair for students who follow the dress code.

Teachers and administrators do not enforce the (existing) dress code. So, everyone pushes it. If they enforced it, we wouldn't have that problem.

Chelsea Barlog, Spring Hill

• • •

I think uniforms are a horrible idea. Kids will still act the same and they won't be able to express their true selves.

People are always saying "Be yourself.'' How are we supposed to be ourselves if they are making us wear what we don't want to? It just doesn't make sense.

If we want to dress in black, let us dress in black. If we want to dress in pink, let us dress in pink. Why should it matter? It's us!

Ashley Muzika, Spring Hill

• • •

I think school uniforms are a good idea. First, it will be clothes that parents can afford. For example, my friend went to buy regular clothes and they cost twice as much.

Second, it will limit bullying. Uniforms will take pressure off students to look great.

Matthew Douds-Jensen, Spring Hill

• • •

Why are they doing this in the first place? I agree it is unnecessary for kids to wear their pants below their waist, but they should write up those kids, not change the dress code for the whole county.

William Moyer, Spring Hill

• • •

We should be able to wear what we want so we can be who we are, don't look the same and don't get each other mixed up.

James Johnson, Spring Hill

• • •

I'm in favor of uniforms. People love to wear their new clothes to school, but they are sometimes inappropriate. They might be cool, but it's not the right way to dress for school.

School is not to show off. It's to get an education and prepare for the future. We can change when we get home. It's not like a tattoo. We don't have to wear it at all the time.

At least we don't have to wear dresses.

Hannah Bunyea, Spring Hill

• • •

Middle school children shouldn't have to be told what to wear. They should also be able to wear their own clothes.

Amy Mckay, Spring Hill

• • •

Uniforms are unfair, a waste of money and a punishment. It's wrong to make us wear uniforms we don't want.

We like to express our feelings or style through clothes. It would be punishment to have all of us wear the same clothes.

Anthony Gaynor, Spring Hill

• • •

Usually jocks wear jerseys or G-Unit baggy T-shirts. Punk and metal kids wear T-shirts from bands or funny despair T-shirts. Preps or surfers wear Abercrombie Fitch, Gap, etc. Skaters wear brands like Etnies. And EVERYONE wears jeans. They are comfortable and they protect you from the outdoors.

How can we be who we are to be with a collared shirt and some khaki shorts or skirt?

It's a waste of money. We buy uniforms. We wear them all year. We throw them away and the process starts over. We get normal clothes from birthdays, or grandmothers, or we buy them. If a person comes to your birthday party and gives you clothes, I don't think it would be a new uniform. That would be a drag.

Brandon Clingo
Spring Hill

• • •

I think uniforms are unfair. The girls are the ones who get in trouble the most for dress code violations.

Jordan Leathers
Spring Hill

>>your voice counts

We welcome letters from readers for publication. To send a letter from your computer, go to and fill in the required information. Type your letter in the space provided on the form, specify that you are writing the Hernando section of the newspaper, and then click "submit." You also may cut and paste a letter that you have prepared elsewhere in your computer.

If you prefer, you may fax your letter to (352) 754-6133, or mail it to: Letters to the Editor, Hernando Times, 15365 Cortez Blvd., Brooksville, FL 34613.

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Letters may be edited for clarity, taste, length and accuracy. We regret that not all letters can be printed.

Students speak up on school uniform issue 04/19/08 [Last modified: Friday, April 25, 2008 4:46pm]
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