Uniform a poor fit - parents
A school uniform represents everything a country school is not, claim parents and pupils opposing its introduction in rural Manawatu.
Uniforms will be compulsory at Waituna West School from the second term next year after a board of trustees decision, but not all families are happy.
The board of trustees, however, says the decision was led by parents.
Liz Giesen, whose son Jonty goes to the school, north-east of Feilding, said initially she had been in favour of the uniform, but after Jonty gave a speech on not wanting to wear it, she changed her tune.
With five children, four of whom attend the school and one who would in the next two years, Giesen said uniforms would be expensive.
If they were made compulsory her children would wear them, but she would have to talk to the school about the speed of their introduction.
‘‘I definitely will not be rushing out and buying it.
‘‘I will be doing it to our budget.’’
None of her four children were in favour of the uniform.
Jonty wrote a speech about the issue, opposed to everyone looking the same.
Carly Thomas, another Waituna West parent and aFairfax employee, said uniforms stifle identity development and individual expression at a crucial young age.
She has three children at the school; one in favour of uniforms who will wear it once introduced, one who doesn’t care, and her daughter Ava, 11, who is strongly against them.
Board of Trustees chairwoman Jill Kowalewski said the decision was parent-led.
A survey of families this year included a question on uniforms and 21 of the 33 families at the school responded – 82 per cent wanted uniforms.
Parents said they felt uniforms were more economic and simplified the process of getting children ready for school.
‘‘They think it looks smarter and gives them a sense of ownership and pride in their school.’’
The consultation was fair as it had clearly indicated a strong majority, she said.
The Waituna West Home and School committee had offered to buy one uniform fleece jumper for each child to help with costs, she said.
Sylvia Fletcher, a grandmother of children at the school, was supportive of the uniforms.
‘‘I just think it’s ease of wear and financials.
‘‘The kids know what to get into in the morning.’’