Categorized | News

Students want freedom from uniforms

By Jamara McGarry and Agape Alfaro

A large majority of students would prefer no uniform at Steinmetz, a Star survey of 366 freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors shows. Of survey takers, 93 percent chose no uniform to the 7 percent that prefer having a uniform.

Freshmen chose the uniform more than other students, with 14 percent preferring the uniform.

Nearly 100 survey-takers shared signed comments for publication. Most wrote about the lack of comfort and creative expression, as well as the cost. [See] Some noted that Steinmetz is different from other area schools.

“It’s not fair that we have a uniform when other schools don’t,” sophomore Brian Gonzalez said.

The best schools don’t require uniforms

Of non-charter, non-military public high schools on the north side, only Steinmetz and Kelvyn Park require uniforms.

Unlike Steinmetz, most of the schools that require uniforms have high levels of poverty. Most are located on the west side and south side of Chicago.

Very few of the uniform-required schools are rated 1 or 1+. Steinmetz moved up to a 2+ rating this year. [See for a comparison of the public high schools in Chicago.]

Students from other schools don’t understand

Students from schools without uniforms don’t understand why Steinmetz requires one.

“It’s a limit on teenagers’ creativity,” Kenwood Academy senior Jackson Fabiyi said.

“I think it’s f___ing dumb that you guys have to wear khakis, as if you’re in a charter school,” Jada McGarry from  Prosser Career Academy said. “You’re not. Aren’t you supposed to have more freedom?”

While some students like to wear khakis once in awhile, they can’t fathom wearing them everyday.

“Khakis are horrible; I can’t image how girls feel on that time of the month,” Jones College Prep senior Morgan Pearlman said.

The students said they would not choose to attend a school with a Steinmetz-like uniform. Jackson said, “I wouldn’t go to a school with such a strict uniform policy.”

Of non-charter, non-military public high schools on the north side of Chicago, only Steinmetz and Kelvyn Park require uniforms. Most schools at a level 1 or 1+, by the CPS School Quality Rating Policy (SQRP), do not require uniforms.

No uniform required Uniform required

Alcott, 2957 N. Hoyne, 1

Amundsen, 5110 N. Damen, 1+

Bogan, 3939 W. 79th, 2

Crane Medical, 2245 W. Jackson, 1+

Chicago Academy, 3400 N. Austin, 1+

Chicago Arts, 2714 W. Augusta, 1+

Clemente, 1147 N. Western, 2

DeVry, 3300 N. Campbell, 1+

Disney II, 3900 N. Lawndale, 1+

Foreman, 3235 N. LeClaire, 2

Gage Park, 5630 S. Rockwell, 2+

Jones, 700 S. State, 1+

Juarez, 2150 S. Laflin, 2+

Kelly, 4136 S. California, 2+

Kenwood, 5015 S. Blackstone, 1+

Kennedy, 6325 W. 56th, 2+

King, 4445 S. Dexel, 1+

Lake View, 4015 N. Ashland, 1

Lane, 2501 W. Addison, 1+

Lindblom, 6130 S. Walcott, 1+

Lincoln Park, 2001 N. Orchard, 1+

Mather, 5835 N. Lincoln, 1

Morgan Park, 1744 W. Pryor, 2+

North-Grand, 4338 W. Wabansia, 1

Northside Lrn Ctr, 3730 W. Bryn Mawr, NA

Northside College Prep, 5501 N. Kedzie, 1+

Ogden, 1250 W. Erie, 1+

Payton, 1034 N. Wells, 1+

Prosser, 2148 N. Long, 1+

Roosevelt, 3436 W. Wilson, 2

Schurz, 3601 N. Milwaukee, 2

Simpson, 1321 S. Paulina, 2+

Senn, 5900 N. Glenwood, 1

Sullivan, 6631 N. Bosworth, 2+

Taft, 6530 W. Bryn Mawr, 1

Uplift, 900 W. Wilson, 2

Vaughn, 4355 N. Linder, NA

Von Steuben, 5039 N. Kimball, 1+

Westinghouse, 3223 W. Franklin, 1+

Wells, 936 N. Ashland, 2+

Whitney Young, 211 S. Laflin, 1+

Austin, 231 N. Pine, 2

Back of the Yards, 2111 W. 47th, 1+

Bowen, 2710 E. 89th, 2

Chicago Tech, 1301 W. 14th, 2+

Chicago Vocational, 2100 E. 87th, 2

Clark, 5101 W. Harrison, 2+

Collins, 1313 S. Sacramento, 2

Corliss, 821 E. 103rd, 2

Douglass, 543 N. Waller, 2

Farragut, 2345 S. Christiana, 2+

Fenger, 11220 S. Wallace, 2

Goode, 7651 S. Homan, 1

Harlan, 9265 S. Michigan, 2

Harper, 6520 S. Wood, 2

Hirsch, 7740 S. Ingleside, 2

Hope, 5515 S. Lowe, 2

Hubbard, 6200 Hamlin, 1

Hyde Park, 6220 S. Stony Island, 2+

Infinity, 3120 S. Kostner, 1+

Julian, 10330 S. Elizabeth, 2

Kelvyn Park , 4343 W. Wrightwood, 2

Manley, 2935 W. Polk, 3

Marshall, 3250 W. Adams, 2

Multicultural, 3120 S. Kostner, 2+

Orr, 730 N Pulaski Rd, 2

Phillips, 244 E. Pershing, 2

Raby, 3545 W. Fulton, 2

Richards, 10601 S. Central, 2

Robeson, 6835 S. Normal, 2

Simeon, 8147 S. Vincennes, 1

Spry, 2400 S. Marshall, 2+

Social Justice, 3120 S. Kostner, 2+

Solorio, 5400 S. St. Louis, 1+

South Shore, 1955 E. 75th, 1

Southside, 7342 S. Hoyne, NA

Steinmetz, 3030 N. Mobile, 2+

Team Englewood, 6201 S. Stewart, 3

Tilden, 4747 S. Union, 2

Washington, 3535 E. 114th, 1

World Language, 3120 S. Kostner, 1+


4 comments on “Students want freedom from uniforms

  1. AJ Bickford on said:

    Personally, I’m in between with the idea of uniforms. I think that the strict green polo and khaki uniform is stupid. However, while I do think that the uniform is too strict, it also can’t be too lax. I think there needs to be some sort of uniform. Personally, I think the perfect solution to this problem would be having every day like Spirit Fridays. It prompts school spirit while keeping kids in line, while also giving kids some sort of freedom.

  2. Kevin Luna on said:

    As a sophomore, the uniform isn’t really a big thing for me. But I would like it if there was not a uniform. The top schools like Lane Tech and Northside don’t use uniforms. The students should be proud of going to their school instead of transferring to another school. Not only because of uniform but people at other schools say that we are lame and it makes us feel bad. Students should also feel comfortable and maybe if they are comfortable in their clothes they whould feel better and be more productive. For me, it is really hard to find specific types of clothes since I’m pretty tall, but my casual clothes are perfectly fine because there are more stores that sell casual clothes with more sizes.

  3. Adrian Cieluch on said:

    Students want freedom from uniforms. A 93% majority is a huge majority of students that disapprove of the uniform. It’s amazing to me that the staff hasn’t reacted at all to the outcry against the uniforms. This isn’t the first poll or news post that has criticized the uniform policy. The administration has made no attempt to compromise. In fact, the principal has begun a strict policy on unauthorized, non-Steinmetz hoodies. I understand the reasons for a uniform; it’s easy for gangs to be able to express themselves using clothes. Recently, a person was expelled due to gang behavior. But the students have been willing to compromise for a dress code.

  4. Josh Solerre on said:

    As a student at Steinmetz College Prep, I fully agree with the points and quotes provided by those interviewed in your article. For example, Jackson Fabiyi, the Kenwood Academy senior, says that uniforms greatly limit creativity. Teachers and Mr. Ngo claim the school is unique and creative, yet the one thing we can be most creative with to express who we are as students is what they take full control of.

    So many schools in the area don’t have a dress code (at least to the level Steinmetz has) and they are publically seen as the same, if not better, as Steinmetz. For being such a struggling school, paying all this money for uniforms and enforcement is a massive waste when taking it away is a simple solution.

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