Controversy over 'No Uniform Day' at elementary school

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Posted: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 4:44 pm | Updated: 10:23 am, Wed Feb 12, 2014.

SARASOTA, Fla. - A kindergartener who missed too many days of school can't participate in a reward program at Tuttle Elementary School. But the little girl's grandmother says the six year old and other students are being publicly shamed, and it's going too far.

Tuttle Elementary School has a mandatory uniform dress code. But this past Friday, students got rewarded with a "no uniform day" -- but only if they had good attendance and work habits.

Students that didn't meet the requirement had to wear their uniforms, and that is causing controversy.

“It's one thing to explain to a child that they didn't do well, but don't make them wear the scarlet letter," says child psychologist Carol Marino. Her 6-year-old granddaughter Bella attends Tuttle Elementary, where students are required to wear uniforms.

On "No Uniform Day", Bella went to school with regular clothes. But because she was absent too many days, the kindergartener was sent to the office, given a uniform, and told to change.

“In the middle of reading they just sent me to the office to change my clothes," says Bella.

Marino says attendance and tardiness are the parent’s responsibility, and children should not be punished for their parent’s wrongdoing. "The minute a child comes in with a uniform and 80% of the kids have street clothes, there's humiliation, teasing, distraction."

The school's website says students can participate in the special day if they have good work habits, which include attendance, a good attitude, preparedness, and homework completion.

Sarasota County Schools say this special day is meant to be positive reinforcement. "I would emphasize it's a reward. The focus is not on punishment. And again, it's not an ostracizing situation," says school district spokesperson Scott Ferguson.

Marino says Bella was crying in the office when told to change and her parents were not notified. "Perhaps that should have been done. So in the future that's probably a good practice to give the parents a heads up that this is being done. But it's standard practice to give the student a uniform who's not wearing one that day."

Sarasota County Schools spoke on behalf of Tuttle Elementary's principal. And they say the School Advisory Board made of parents and staff are the ones who came up with this day to reward good behavior. And they still plan to have "No Uniform Days" for the students.

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  • cmarino posted at 9:41 am on Sat, Feb 22, 2014.

    cmarino Posts: 1

    It isn't really about that one particular child. She will survive. Her situation was due to absences for having to go back to the moms hometown(out of state) for her grandmothers funeral. It is about the other children who are already behind the 8 ball. Many of the children who attend Tuttle come from unfortunate situations which are through no fault of their own. Some look forward to school as a refuge and a safe place for 7 hours a day. If the parent can't get the child to school on time the child is held accountable for the "sins" of the parent. The reasoning behind this from administration is "if a child is made to wear a uniform on the NO uniform day, this will make the parent be more responsible". Is hurting a 5 year old child emotionally, really what we want to do to children who do not understand why they are being singled out?. One child who was crying was told it was "her mothers fault". Is this a nice thing to say to a child? My personal opinion is children should not be rewarded for doing what they should be doing in the first place. Society is making children feel they need "rewards" for doing the right thing. Don't single kids out by making them wear different clothes. If a school has a uniform policy then adhere to it each day. How about once a month have a non-uniform day where each child can wear their street clothes? The purpose of a uniform is equality, but then they change the script one day and equality becomes discrimination.

  • Curt1017 posted at 2:14 pm on Tue, Feb 18, 2014.

    Curt1017 Posts: 9

    So what I'm hearing is childern shouldn'tbe held to any standard and given a reason to improve. The comment on the child only being six is a sad comment. If you know right from wrong then you are old enough to participate in a reward program. Quit babying these kids and let them grow up with some sence of responsibility.

  • tim posted at 8:22 pm on Sun, Feb 16, 2014.

    tim Posts: 106

    the schools today have become gestapo run concentration camps.....

  • tim posted at 11:57 am on Sat, Feb 15, 2014.

    tim Posts: 106

    too bad, y'all were born too late to join, The Spanish Inquisition.

  • tim posted at 11:55 am on Sat, Feb 15, 2014.

    tim Posts: 106

    um, Wired4U: get a grip. the kid is 6yo. furthermore, this action by THE AUTHORITIES only serves to distract the other children from learning. if such a disruption was otherwise produced, there'd be heck to pay.....

  • tim posted at 11:52 am on Sat, Feb 15, 2014.

    tim Posts: 106

    they teach the children young to fear the system of rules and regulations not unlike the times of "the scarlet letter".

  • Wired4U posted at 4:00 pm on Thu, Feb 13, 2014.

    Wired4U Posts: 2


  • Wired4U posted at 3:59 pm on Thu, Feb 13, 2014.

    Wired4U Posts: 2

    [thumbdown] You are the typical PC fool who thinks that keeping score will damage the poor children who lose. Life is full of consequences and the earlier these kids learn it the better. You and people who think like you are sending the wrong message to kids by awarding them for just existing. Where is the incentive for hard work and doing the right thing as they grow up? I am certain that if a child had the flu they would have been excused with a Doctors note and been allowed to participate if they followed all of the other rules set by the school. Wake up!

  • rupert posted at 7:37 am on Wed, Feb 12, 2014.

    rupert Posts: 3

    I see it as a form of bullying and damaging to the self esteem of a child being punished for perhaps having the flu or some other illness. Shame on this school.

  • kb posted at 5:41 pm on Tue, Feb 11, 2014.

    kb Posts: 1

    I have an idea, accept responsibility for your child and stop blaming the school. It is the school's fault that your child has poor attendance and couldn't participate? I think not. I'm sick of the finger being pointed at the school. Teach your child responsibility and a strong work ethic, not blaming others for your irresponsible behavior.


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