News alert: Life is not fair

So yeah. That’s what we in the news biz call a no-s*** headline.

Apparently, however, our school district needs to be reminded of this adage.

Or, let me put it this way:

All jackets are not created equal.


In recent weeks, I and other parents have received numerous notes from teachers and school officials about our children’s jackets and sweaters.

The edict: If your cold-natured child wants to wear his or her jacket or sweater in the classroom, it must be a solid color (red, white or navy) without any emblems or logos on it.

That pretty much means your only option is to order a jacket through the PTA. (Although I seem to remember that these, too, have logos on them. Have they been outlawed for classroom wear too?)

The reason for all this jacket hoopla, I’m told, is that some children were wearing designer jackets, prompting school officials to proclaim: Oh my goodness! How unfair!

Hence the notes tucked into the kids’ backpacks.

Guess what, people?

Life is not fair.

And I say that as a mom who buys her children’s jackets (and clothes, for that matter) at Target or Academy. In my world, going upscale means a trip to Penney’s.

Educators: I don’t want you to shield my kids from inequality.

I want you to help me teach them how to make the best of what they’ve got.

In real life, everyone who joins a team doesn’t get a first-place trophy for merely participating. And in real life, not everybody’s mommy shops at Dillard’s.

Can we stop trying to over-protect our children and instead teach them the benefits of perseverance and practice? Or how about gratitude that they have jackets, for pete’s sake.

I mean, seriously. Jacket-inequality? For reals?

And now let’s address the logistics involved in this silly effort to be fair.

First, my kids wouldn’t know what a Ralph Lauren polo pony was if it sprang off an offending jacket and pooped at their feet.

Second: For three years, I ordered jackets or hoodies from the PTA. And for three years, those blasted things got taken home by other kids (by accident) and we spent the remaining semester trying to track them down. Two were never returned. And yes, I put my kids’ names on their outwear.

This year, I decided that we’ve lost enough of those jackets. So I didn’t buy any.

Third: In this economy, when people already are struggling, you want those same people who already bought jackets to go out and purchase new ones?

I’m not replacing my children’s  jackets from Academy or Target because they might hurt a Walmart shopper’s feelings. (And no, I’m not dissing Walmart. The only reason I don’t like to shop there is because it’s always so crowded and I’m convinced that I will one day be run over by someone in a packed-out Walmart parking lot.)


While my kids’ jackets may not make the cut for classroom wear, they stand a much better chance of making it home each day.

I still, however, can’t believe this subject is even up for debate.

What’s next? A ban on designer eyeglasses?

And what happens when the kids get to high school? Will cool sports cars be banned for fear of shaming those who drive, oh, say, a Dodge Omni.

(That’s what I drove to school. And I was grateful for that car, just like my high school BFF was grateful for her sputtering little Rabbit. It sure beat an hour-long bus ride, which was our alternative.)

So c’mon: How far do you plan to run with this?

Please — abandon this ridiculous effort to make our children believe that everything is fair.

Because it’s not.

And you’re not doing them any favors by pretending that it is.





15 thoughts on “News alert: Life is not fair

  1. I agree! They are already wearing uniforms underneath those jackets. And I remember the days of trying to teach you and your sisters that life is not always fair, nor will it ever be. Much more important are the values you are teaching them.


  2. Love this Cathy!!! Our district needs to patrol the high school and see that the dress code policy is not enforced what so ever!!! It looks like one big club party walking the streets before/after school and in the hallways at school. Maybe if the elementary kids were actually comfortable in class they would do better on their precious benchmark exams instead of sending honor roll kids letters home threatening the policy law of retention if they don’t participate in benchmark bootcamp. The school/teachers are graded by those tests, not the students!!!


  3. How does ANY of this help the kids learn?

    A coat is a coat is a coat. If some parent wants to spend way too much to outfit their child in a designer coat, fine. Just don’t come crying when your kid ruins it.


  4. Well said! I agree. They are there to learn, not see who is wearing what. Mallory can’t name one designer, so she is not offended by someone’s jacket. It is crazy!


  5. You Rock! The same thing happened to Bear. I have tried to find a plain jacket for her but so far. All I have found are some a target that are $15 and do not look very warm. So, I thought the same thing! I feel pressured to buy a school sweater to keep my child warm in Class. As you know those are not CHEAP! My child would not know a Wal-Mart sweater from a Dillard’s sweater! OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I had to pray as I walked out the door after eating lunch with Bear on Monday that I would not open my mouth and make a Butt out of myself. They have said something to my child 3 times about her sweater in class but as I’m leaving I see a little girl wearing a lacy blue skirt covered in sequins!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What the????????????


  6. Ok. THAT’S D-HALL FOR ALL OF YOU!!!!!!!!!! You should know better than to complain about school policy. But I guess I’ll be right there along side of you. Some of their rules are sooooooooo stupid. I wish the people coming up with these policies lived in the real world. Besides when I was in school we made fun of kids more for the chaep shoes they wore than the clothes. And I’m pretty sure the kids can wear any shoes they want. And yes I made fun of other kids, but lets face it that’s what kids do. Remember LIFE’S NOT ALWAYS(HELL EVER) FAIR!!!!!!!!!!!


  7. Maybe these comments need to go to the school board(if your district still has one). They need to know what is happening in the schools.


  8. The board is well aware of what’s happening with the dress code, as that’s what a lot of focus is on! Though my daughter didn’t go to school with Bear, TallGirls daughter and Cathy’s children, she did go to school in the same district (aka the next school down the ‘hill’). My daughter had a sweater last year that fit the criteria perfectly. Within a week, however, the jacket was lost, despite her name being on it…. My child does NOT have a common name for her generation either.

    Fast forward to 2011. My child is no longer in the same district (I yanked her out for different reasons). Her current school DOES have a uniform policy very similar to that of the school district I live in. It’s getting cold and Mini-Me needs to stay warm (It could be 78 on the beach with hot sand blowing on her and she’ll complain about it being cold).

    Today, we went to look for a sweater (even after reading Cathy’s blog, I braved the elements and went searching). Target only had sweaters with hoodies. “No mommy, we can’t have hoodies”. Academy turned up nothing. WalMart was a joke. My budget allows for nothing more than these three retailers. My search was a bust.

    And so, my only alternative is to force my child who already has clothing sensitivity issues to wear a long-sleeved T-shirt underneath her required polo.

    Which makes me wonder, by the way, it’s my understanding that the uniform policy is in place to prevent gang marking, labeling and unjust teasing. Generally, this kind of stuff isn’t even a concern until High School. If this is the case, like Mrs Maddox said (TallGirl), why are the high schoolers walking around wearing pants around their thighs showing what color boxers they’re wearing and low midriff shirts with skirts tight enough to give me a full profile of what religion they are?!



  9. I’m a retired school teacher. It is the ridiculous-ness of rules like the one you posted that runs many teachers from the profession. What is the “real” priority of education? Obviously, it is not “learning” but “equity” and making sure no one’s feelings get hurt.


  10. Sometimes new imposed rules or certain changes don’t make sense at first but then time pass you will not notice the change and could just go with it. I just hope that they don’t impose this new dress code as soon as possible. They can give it time, cause eventually we will buy new ones time after time and maybe after Christmas break everyone one can comply with this new jacket code.


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