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School Before Fashion

January 15, 1994

In response to "Clothing Clash," Jan. 6: I can only throw my hands in the air.

My children attend a private school where uniforms are worn. What many parents fail to recognize is that a dress code encourages children to develop their individual personalities based on who they are, not how they dress. Personally, I would prefer that my children's popularity be due to their caring, intelligent, witty personalities (as is the case), not because I can afford to keep them in what their peers feel is fashionably correct clothing.

Parents who feel they must neither inhibit nor restrict their children's freedom of expression by imposing limits on their behavior are doing their children a severe disservice. Children need limits and parents who are not afraid to set them.

If my children told me they didn't want to wear the uniforms, my response would not be "OK, sweetie. I understand and respect your right to express yourself by wearing nose and naval rings, and underwear as outerwear." My response would be "tough," period.

After school, they may choose their clothing (and even then, there are limits). During school, however, I insist their focus be on learning, not on making fashion statements. Today's fashion statements will not help them in tomorrow's job market.

DONNA JAMERSON

Thousand Oaks

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