In recent times, in Canada and in the US there has been incidences of kids coming to school with writings on their shirts that has offended others. Some were homophobic and offended the LGBT community and some were pro-gay and offended the bigotted, religious, hateful group.
When I was a school going kid, till high school, we had uniforms; whether it was government or private. In India, even today it has not changed. Could this problem be avoided if all schools here had the same rule?
Kids should be treated equally, irrespective of their sexual orientation, religious belief, family structure or heritage. School is not a platform for kids to advertise their own or their family beliefs…whether pro or anti gay. Religion is more touchy a subject than any other. In countries like India, Canada, US where every school has students of different nationality, culture, religious background, a uniformity is essential. Under the roof of an educational institution, every kid’s identity should be one..student. Nothing else.
I have realized, the education system in India is way more balanced than that in the western world as far as catering to a diverse group is concerned. We had Hindu, Christian, Muslim teachers in school. Our course over the school years taught in equal balance about Islam, Christianity Hinduism, Buddhism. And it was taught under history, where these were bound to come up. And they were unbiased, and did exactly what they were supposed to do. Educate us about the different religions, cultures and people who live beyond the four walls of the school, or the bounderies of the city, state or country. Nothing more, nothing less.
Kids from different financial background come to school. Uniforms make sure, the affluent don’t go around in designer clothes while their class-mates wear hand-me-downs, that way, lessens the chance of less priviledged kids devaloping infiriority complex.
We see a very good example of this in the Harry Potter series (yah I know, I had to bring that up). The Malfoys and the Weasleys. The affluent Malfoys and not so priviledged Weasley family. Inspite of having a uniform, Ron has been mercilessly taunted and rediculed by Draco and his father Lucius for his second hand books, hand-me-down robes. Can you imagine, if there were no uniform, what would have been the plight of Ron?
On a slightly different issue…we have catholic schools in India. My sister used to attend one. Yes, they used to have prayers everyday at the beggining of school. Being a catholic school, obviously the prayers were excerpts from The Bible and about Jesus. Honestly, we never had any problem with them. The school was in our neighbourhood. So we could hear the kids singing every day before class commenced, and it was very very normal. Maybe thats what taught us from childhood to be open and accepting of different kind of people with their different backgrounds.
So, I think, maybe its time to bring back uniforms in schools and let the kids be just just students again.