Friday, April 6, 2007

The Long and Whining Road...

Ok. Enough nice guy. Time for a rant.

The nearby and normally quiet city of Bayonne, NJ - well, quiet by Hudson County standards anyway - has been shaken in recent months by growing social unrest no one seems to be able to resolve. State and federal lawsuits, civil protests and inflammatory speeches normally reserved for hot-button issues like gun control and abortion are now addressing something even bigger: school uniforms.

Last summer, the Bayonne Board of Education instituted a requirement for students in their public grammar schools to wear uniforms. In December, the State Education Commission upheld the requirement over the objections of a group of local parents, and gave the parents a 90-day deadline to file an appeal with the State Board of Education. Showing the same sense of responsibility that they're teaching their children, the parents filed an appeal after the 90-day deadline expired, and it was rejected on that basis.

Understand please, dear reader, that this rant is not about school uniforms per se. Though I'm the father of two teenage sons, both of whom wore school uniforms in a public grammar school and who now adhere to a strict dress code at a public high school, I'm not against uniforms or dress codes. I'm also not against people who are against uniforms or dress codes. I'm against - Bayonne parents, please listen carefully - WHINEY PARENTS and their AREN'T-WE-PRECIOUS CHILDREN!

So what are the parents saying?

One described the uniform requirement as "very non-democratic, highly punitive dictation from a political government group." First, requiring students to do homework is non-democratic. I don't know what school this mom went to, but I've never seen a classroom that's a democracy. Second, I'm not sure the jailed political dissidents in Russia, Cuba, and a whole bunch of other places would agree with their sister-in-arms in Bayonne, NJ about uniforms being highly punitive dictation. But what would they know of the oppressive regime of the Bayonne Board of Education, what with being in jail so long and all that?

This same woman has filed a federal lawsuit against the board for prohibiting her son from wearing an anti-uniform emblem depicting Hitler Youth. (Charming young man, don't you think?) I just hope, when all the fuss about school uniforms is over, that this woman and her spoiled son never really have to find out what the Hitler Youth movement was about. (Here's a hint, honey. It had nothing to do with school uniforms.)

Another parent, this one a father, was also concerned. "The school board doesn't have the right to tell me how to raise my kid..." No dude, but they do have the responsibility to hold him to a set of reasonably high standards at school. It's kind of what they're there for, like, you know? Otherwise, the child is liable to grow up into the kind of irresponsible adult who, oh, I don't know, let's say, waits till the deadline has passed before filing an appeal and then blames everyone but themselves when it's turned away.

I'd love to be there when junior's boss tell him the office has a dress code he's expected to follow. Who's mommy going to sue then?

Society has - as it should -certain expectations about following rules you may not always like. The question for me is not whether students should wear school uniforms. I really don't care if they do or they don't. The question in my mind is this: what are any of these people - the whiney adults and the spoiled kids they're serving as examples for - going to do if they're ever faced with a real problem?

So as not to end this on a negative note, let me tell you a joke. How many Bayonne public school students does it take to change a light bulb?

It takes one to hold the bulb still, and nine parents to stand around expecting the world to revolve around him.


motoxmom72 said...

OMG.  I went to Catholic School and then switched over to public school.  Uniforms are so much easier.  My daughter has to wear uniform clothes to school at her public school.  My son did, too.  AND the high school he attends has strict dress code.  I applaud it.  I think every school district should incorporate uniforms into their policy.  That's just my opinion.

jen73169 said...

As an elementary school teacher I have seen first hand these types of parents "Oh I know the report was DUE yester day but we had to _______ (fill in the blank) so I was sure you would take Biff's report today" Ummmm  No mom if its due for everyone yesterday that means the Biff-ster too, he gets a ZERO. I'm sick of the lack of responsibility and the over abundence of entitlement this new generation of parent is trying to force on the rest of us. Good post!

gazker said...

Kids wear uniforms here in the UK so there is no, my trainers cost more than yours syndrome! It's a class leveler here and stops kids picking on each other..... It looks alot smarter too. I think that Mother has lost the plot entirely.
Happy Easter mate......... Gaz

oldhousegal said...

Unfortunately, I don't think this type of behavior is limited to Bayonne, NJ.  We (meaning Americans here) are spoiled beyond measure, so why shouldn't our kids be too?  We want it now, we want it cheap, we want it completely customized for us, and we don't want to know the consequences.  And worse than wanting it, we feel entitled to it.  We live lives of unparalleled wealth and ease and then we complain about it -- because something was difficult or uncomfortable or inconvenient -- as if the world is supposed to cater to our every whim.  I think your Bayonne neighbors are just putting on a particularly public display of the national neurosis.  In a country where people think they are fighting terrorism by going shopping -- "We'll show them they can't hurt our economy!" -- what else can you expect?

PS- I went to Catholic school so of course I wore those cute little plaid jumpers with a white shirt and red tie.  It made getting dressed in the morning very easy.

rdautumnsage said...

I'm a firm believer, that if you have nothing of value to say, say nothing. So many these days push opinions simply because they can, not because they actually have something worthwhile to say. Thes people are what we call the loud-mouth, ignorant,irresponsible adults.........the devolving humanity. They ply their trade without regards to any logical intelligence what so ever. If they truly did the research , they may find the dress code for school uniforms actually buids confidence in students, as well as knocking out the poor vs. rich rascism that is rampant in our schools. Schools are no place to make a statement. As for what right does the school have? For those ignorant parents, they are the ones who are literally teaching manners as well as intelligence to your child. Schools are responsible for your childs welfare and learning experience. For the better share of some parents, I say thank whatever diety you worship because they most certainly are probably not getting anything from the homefront otherwise. I guess this hit a nerve with me as well lol! (Hugs) Indigo

sonensmilinmon said...

Maybe the whiney parents are wanting to use their children as status symbols - to show how much they can afford to buy them?  I wore uniforms when I went to school in Spain and England and honestly I remember wishing that American schools had uniforms.  It's one less distraction for children in school.

I actually came to say that I'm hoping you are having a healthy happy Easter!  Been thinking about you.