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St. Paul's students sound off on uniforms - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

St. Paul's students sound off on uniforms

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BARTON, Vt. - Like many siblings their age, Mary and Duncan Lovegrove don't agree on a lot -- just ask their mom.

"There always is at my house, a debate on everything," said Kim Lovegrove.

But especially when it comes to what they wear. "I like to wear clothes that I want to put on," Mary said.

But both of these St. Paul's Catholic School students don't get much of a choice.  The pre-K through 8th grade school in Barton requires kids wear uniforms. Just Pre-K students are exempt from the rule. "Everyone is dressed the same so there is no need to talk about clothing," Duncan said. He likes that and says it cuts down on bullying.  "People shouldn't brag about what they are wearing because it's not really nice to brag.  People could end up being sad."

Recently the school did get kids talking about uniforms, though. "I think it's a good idea to belong to a group," said 4th grader Mara Royer.

"It just looks weird that everyone has the same clothes." said Jayden Dagesse, a 5th grader.

Students were asked what they thought of uniforms. "Some of them say, 'we are bored with it -- the same thing everyday,'" said St. Paul's Principal Joanne Beloin. Writing essays about the issue, results were split -- 50-50. "We look like one big happy family -- like we belong and we are unified," said Beloin, reading from one essay. She says that response is a big part of the reason why uniforms are required. "It eliminates a lot of the haves and have nots, the privileged, and non -- some of the bullying that goes into that.  But it also encourages students to get to know each other. You can't judge someone by their clothes anymore. You really need to use social skills and get to know one another.  And it levels the playing field," she said. "It makes them realize that the priorities to be here at school are to learn."

The tradition of uniforms at St. Paul's School has not changed since the school was established in 1896, but the uniforms themselves have, in order to simplify shopping for parents. Gone are the days of ties, button-down blouses and pleated skirts -- unless students want to stick with that tradition.  Today -- polo shirts are fine, as long as they're red, white or blue and have the school's logo.

Reporter Darren Perron: Is it easier for parents?  

Kim Lovegrove: It's much easier for me to school shop. I don't have to go to 15 million different stores... ...In this day and age uniforms are frowned upon by most kids I suppose because they want to show their individuality, but I think it is important for kids not to worry about what they are wearing but to worry about what they are learning.

But for students like Mary, they say uniforms stifle creativity. To me they get boring to wear," she said

But neither she nor her brother would choose to go to school anywhere else.

Mary Lovegrove: We enjoy almost everything about it.  

Reporter Darren Perron: Duncan what do you think?

Duncan Lovegrove: Same as she does.

Reporter Darren Perron: So that you agree on!
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