Back to school season

Charles Lane-Bey shops for jeans with his sons, Kimani, 9, left, and Edward, 8, in downtown Chicago.

It’s starting already.

With more than four weeks to go before the summer officially ends and the new school year kicks in, the TV ads are in overload with “back to school” ads.

Hats, jeans, skirts, shirts, sweaters, sneakers, jewelry. Everything at bargain-basement, price-tag slashing, nothing-gets-lower-than-this prices.

Even though every store claims they can offer parents the best deal for their school-bound children, chances are the bottom line is going to be just as expensive as previous years.

So now is the time that I renew my support of school uniforms.

Nearly three years ago, I wrote a column about the need for uniforms in schools. At the time, Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School in New London required that their students wear khaki pants and skirts, and white, green or gold collared shirts. In colder weather, students wore similarly colored sweaters.

It was the third year that students in K-5 wore color-coordinated clothing.

I firmly believe that what you wear is a reflection of who you are as a person, your likes and dislikes. But fashion has its price, literally. With jeans going for $150 or more and high-end boots and sneakers just as much, parents could go broke trying to keep little Johnny on the same playing field as the Joneses.

And there’s also the factor of the poor kids.

When New London educators devised the uniform policy, at the back of their minds was that the kids who couldn’t afford all the pricey items of their privileged peers would also benefit from wearing uniforms.

No need for mixing and matching, no worries about not being able to afford you favorite jeans. Just a focus on education, ultimately the only genuine concern in a learning environment.

That first year, more than 90 percent of Bennie Dover students wore uniforms on that first day of school. I wonder how well that would go over in the workplace?

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