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Uniforms Not The Answer To Problem Of Bullying In Atlanta Schools

Apr 4, 2008
Some people have suggested that Atlanta schools should require students to wear school uniforms to combat the problem of "fashion bullying." This refers to a situation where a student is picked on because of the type or label of clothing they wear. Jealousies are common among students over clothing and appearance.

Problem with Bullying in Atlanta Schools Deeper than Just Clothes

I can understand someone thinking that if kids going to Atlanta schools are being picked on because of their clothes, then mandating that all students must wear a uniform will solve the problem. It is my belief that the bullying in Atlanta schools (and schools nationwide) runs much deeper than the clothes being worn by a student. If we try to solve the problem in this way, we are only dealing with a symptom, not the underlying issues.

Students often "vent" the challenges and pressures of student lifestyle by expressing their individuality in different ways. Some of it is healthy and some if it is not. Whether it is the amount of makeup or type of jewelry they wear or unusual hairstyles or colors, diverse clothing, within moral bounds, is a healthy release for many. If a school wants to adopt a uniform policy, that policy needs more substance than being a band aid to deeper issues.

Attitude Changes Need to be Taught at Atlanta Schools

Instead of trying to offer a Band Aid solution to the bullying problem Atlanta schools should consider a new stronger and harsher policy against bullies and bullying. This behavior may have always gone on at Atlanta schools (and schools everywhere) but that doesn't make it acceptable. There needs to be clear guidelines about what constitutes bullying and consequences for that type of behavior.

All students at Atlanta schools need to be held responsible for the behavior choices they make. The decision to pick on someone because of their clothes, their height, weight, race, sexual orientation, or any other factor is one that the bully chose to make. Students going to Atlanta schools need to learn how to take responsibility for their actions and the schools must make the consequences of bullying harsh and unpleasant.

Schools are designed to prepare kids for adulthood not only in the area of academics but also in the area of social behavior and understanding. This is a key component of education over all. Instead of taking away an item a bully can use as an excuse (which will be replaced with another unreasonable excuse a bully will find) address the bully. So if part of the reason why children to go Atlanta schools is to learn how to behave in the big world outside of school, then one item of focus should be to treat fellow students with respect, no matter what they happen to be wearing.

If we decide to "solve" the problem of bullying by making it more difficult for bullies to find things to pick at fellow students for, then the problem hasn't really been solved. The only way to change the environment at Atlanta schools is to start with the students themselves. Bullies are the ones with the problem and we need to look at solving it from that point of view, not by making all students wear a uniform.
About the Author
Patricia Hawke is a staff writer for Schools K-12, providing free, in-depth reports on all U.S. public and private K-12 schools. For more information please visit Atlanta Public Schools
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