Health and Safety and School Uniforms

In the category of “so ridiculous I had to laugh” is this piece from the BBC: “Schools switching to clip-on ties.” It’s one of those things that makes you notice you’re not in Kansas any more: small children, male and female, wearing men’s ties with their school uniforms. Now apparently there is a concern about ties, “catching fire in science lessons, getting trapped in technology equipment or ties getting caught when pupils were running.” The British answer? Switch to clip-on ties instead of traditional knotted ties. Right. As opposed to just saying that ties are not a sensible part of a school uniform (or any uniform, really) and getting rid of them altogether. Added bonus: loss of individuality in the way the ties are knotted, which could be another one of those class signals that we Americans so easily miss. Another example of “health and safety” being used as an excuse for something else? Probably. A really silly thing for a kid to have to wear to school? For sure.

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13 responses to “Health and Safety and School Uniforms

  1. My husband is a Dr and stopped wearing ties several years ago (much to the chagrin of the older Drs) because he works in ITU where infection is such a major concern–ties carry HUGE amounts of germs apparently!

    My daughter wears a tie with her winter school uniform and doesn’t seem to mind it, but I can’t see the point.

  2. People in future centuries will look back on ties and laugh, I think.

  3. Iota–I agree! Like the Elizabethan ruff!

  4. Is tie-wearing any sillier than making American highschool ‘graduates’ wear univesity-style gowns and mortar-boards?

  5. Howard, yes. Because it’s a daily thing versus a celebration of the end of the high school degree/diploma, which is a major milestone!

  6. Michelle, I agree completely with your husband’s position! The facts seem to suggest that we should abandon the idea of the tie-clad Dr. just as we know now that germs spread disease…

  7. > which is a major milestone!

    So they make a special point by wearing ridiculous and inappropriate garb? Isn’t the effect of this to underline the absurdity?

    Anyway, if you do a Google image search for “USA school uniforms” you will find plenty of examples of ties being worn, while “UK school uniforms” will show you quite a number where they aren’t.

    Talking of uniforms, what’s with those strange knee-breeches things worn in the two American major sports? Could the fact that they look so weird contribute to the fact that those sports are not taken seriously (for the most part) by any other country in the world? Just a speculation!

  8. Right. Better cricket, where they wear sweaters and hats that they take off and give to the umpires to hold?

    That’s too bad about American sports not being taken seriously in the rest of the world… all those Asian and Central/South American baseball players in professional leagues outside the US must be missing something, along with the full house that Wembley attracts when the NFL overseas match occurs. From the NFL London website: “With the popularity of American Football in the UK and Europe bigger than ever before, demand for tickets for the Saints v Chargers game has surpassed all expectations with over half a million people having applied for tickets.”

  9. Wow, some schools sure are strickt when it comes to their uniform, I guess its just the day and age we live in…

    Oh well, theres still hope!

  10. > where they wear sweaters and hats that they take off and give to the umpires to hold?

    And what’s wrong with that?

    > all those Asian and Central/South American baseball players in professional leagues outside the US must be missing something

    Yes indeed: the clubs of those professional leagues are missing playing in the ‘World’ Series (though I understand a single Canadian team does play in it.)

    > American sports not being taken seriously in the rest of the world…

    I imagine world TV audiences for soccer are ten- if not a hundred-fold larger than those for American football, and I imagine the figures for attendance at matches are much the same. To take one competition, the 2006 World Cup as an example, it was broadcast to 214 countries and had a cumulative TV audience of 26.29 billion; its most popular match, the Italy v France final, had a total cumulative audience of 715.1 million viewers. (Source: http://www.fifa.com/aboutfifa/marketing/factsfigures/numbers.html )

    > demand for tickets for the Saints v Chargers game has surpassed all expectations with over half a million people having applied for tickets.

    Pretty small beer, then!

  11. I live in Bangkok and can tell you that apart from the Japanese (who are weird anyway) no-one in asia takes american sport seriously – why would they? Here, its soccer soccer soccer all the way, with the subcontinent cricket mad. Baseball and that other weird sport where they wear full body armour like a bunch of girlies, comes nowhere.

  12. Soccer, of course, is the world’s most boring sport. It is about three degrees more agonizing for me than watching paint dry- it was fun to play when I was a school lad, though. I kind of think that that is why the World Cup gets into all those riots- it is better than watching the field.

    I do agree with the anti-tie contingent. I am opposed, period, and do not partake. Fortunately, that is not a condition of my workplace. But NFAH’s logic is correct- if a tie is silly in a lab but you need a tie otherwise for some unknown reason, why is it beneficial to wear a clip-on versus one that is tied? The issue is the tie at all, not how it is fastened. It takes about the same time to clip the thing on as it takes me to tie the Windsor knot, on those rare occasions when I can’t avoid it.

  13. At least British people know how to tie a tie later in life… every single time my German boyfriend has to wear a tie (which admittedly isn’t often) he has to follow diagrams on a piece of paper and still ends up needing at least 3 tries 😀

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