Since they were in kindergarten, Lawrence High School’s (LHS) students have followed a required-uniform policy. However, after elementary school, the students switch from blue bottoms and white polos to the khaki pants and a polo shirt corresponding to the color of their high school that are required by LHS.
Originally, the school’s uniform policy required tucked-in shirts and black shoes for boys, but it has since relaxed, although students are still not allowed to wear hoodies or polos with other high school’s colors.
Brandey Rodriguez HLD ’17 thinks that there are benefits to the dress code, “The uniform is nice, it doesn’t take a long time to pick out and get ready for school.”
“It’s comfortable, but the fact that we can’t wear hoodies is wack. We should wear whatever we want on Fridays and half-days. But overall, the uniform saves money,” conceded Tommy Parades ’15.
However, some students often complain that the uniform restricts their abilities to express themselves, while others find other creative outlets. “There are some cute ways around it,” said Raydelis Jaquez HLD’ 16. “A lot of people accessorize with scarves and find cool sweaters that are in the right colors.”
Enforcing the policy is up to the teachers and security guards, but students that do not follow the dress code can face detention or in-house suspension.
Tony Hajjar, one of HLD’s security guards, spends many mornings pushing a cart from classroom-to-classroom collecting jackets and hoodies which do not fit the policy. Beyond egregious breaches of the uniform policy, however, students agree that enforcement of these rules varies among teachers.
“In one class I can get away with the wrong sweatshirt or even the wrong shirt, but next door, the teacher won’t even let me in without uniform,” said Semirami Javier HLD ’14.
Mike Fiato, Principal of HLD, said, “I love the uniform—it builds a sense of strong identity… I want to put mustard on it and eat it.”
Six schools comprise of the Lawrence High School campus: Humanities and Leadership Development (HLD), Performing and Fine Arts (PFA), Mathematics, Science and Technology (MST), International (INT), Health and Human Services (HHS) and Business, Management and Finance (BMF).