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To Wear or not to Wear Gym Uniforms… That is the Question

Those who attend Forest Hills High School will easily recognize the gym uniform: the bright yellow face of the Ranger on a static gray shirt. 

Despite the official uniform being “mandatory,” it’s rarely seen, even in the environment it’s designed for. A majority of students don’t adhere to the uniform policy, and many teachers themselves don’t seem to mind this fact.

 “I don’t necessarily care if students wear a gym uniform or not,” Physical Education teacher Mr. Liebowitz shared with The Beacon. “As long as they are dressed athletically and ready to participate in class.”

Although technically a requirement, there are reasons why students don’t follow the uniform policy.

“It’s a little bit too expensive for some kids to buy. The uniform stock was never really available in the sizes that kids needed,” Liebowitz noted.

Money and size contribute to the hesitance to wear uniforms, but it’s also a matter of convenience.

“The way the locker room policy is set up, it makes it more difficult on the student,” added Ms. Garelle, also in the Phys. Ed. department. “The student has to bring their own clothes everyday. They have to use the locker room, an assigned locker, and then they have to take all of their stuff out and take it home.”

The whole process of bringing the uniform, changing, going to class, going back to change and bringing the uniform back home every single day can be tedious and poses an extra burden on students.

Mr. Birkhold, AP of Physical Education, reiterated the policy when speaking with The Beacon. “As per the contract that every student gets at the beginning of the year, PE uniforms are mandatory.”

He compares the uniforms to phones. Although students are not allowed to have their phones out during class, the no-phone policy is not heavily enforced by many.

There’s a lingering question when considering all perspectives. How long has this persisted? Surely there was a time where gym uniforms were more prevalent. Otherwise, how could a system like this even go on? 

“We used to spend the first week selling uniforms,” Mr. Liebowitz remarked. “We dedicated probably more than 10 days to selling uniforms and making sure that every kid had what they [needed].”

However, it seems the school’s shift to an online store system has led to various issues getting uniforms to the students.

”I was told by many students that they didn’t have any more [uniforms]. They have to restock and they didn’t know when the uniform was going to be delivered,” Ms. Garelle explained.

The teachers generally agree that it’s unreasonable to penalize students for a broken system.

“The provider that we’re using is a DOE contracted vendor,” Mr. Birkhold noted. “What that does is allow the parents to deal directly with a DOE vendor to acquire the clothing.”

The fact is, even if students don’t have the uniform or don’t want to wear it, it is agreed that students should change clothes.

”Hygienically, it’s not good,” Mr. Liebowitz stated.

“You’re gonna get sweaty, you’re gonna get dirty, sitting on the floor or sitting out,” Ms. Garelle explained. “Whatever it is, you should change out of your regular clothes into athletic attire.”

The uniform may be inconvenient to get for some, and maybe not pleasing to the eye for many. But, at the very least students should be aware of how dirty they can get during gym. Being clean and comfortable is the key to a sanitary experience at Forest Hills High School.

Ethan Liu
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Ethan Liu
Ethan Liu, Illustrator
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