REPORTAGE. The question of wearing a uniform in schools is back in the public debate. What do those who already wear it think?
Through Alice Pairo-Vasseur
IHe wears a royal blue woolen sweater, black shoes with fine laces and midnight blue trousers with a sharp fold. Antoine*, 13, is a fourth-grade student at the prestigious private Catholic institution Saint-Jean de Passy, in Paris. This uniform, which he has been wearing since entering sixth grade, the teenager will “not see himself[t] more without”: “It’s every day, all year round and I really like it! »
While the question of uniforms at school is resurfacing in the public debate and nearly six out of ten French people (59%) have spoken out in favor of their return (CSA survey for CNews, dated January 12), how do the students who wear it and their parents perceive it on a daily basis? Between aspiration to equality, practical concern and respect for the institution, it takes on a plural reality for the main stakeholders.
READ ALSOFive questions about the school uniform “What I like about the uniform is that you can recognize yourself from afar in the street! smiles Antoine. Emphasizing without naming the character of belonging that takes on the unique outfit. Neither the institution’s name nor crest appears on the uniform. However, “this outfit is the mark of Saint-Jean de Passy”, abounds Anne, whose daughter is a pupil there in second class. But also “a sign of respect for the school in general and the institution in particular”.
It is also “at a time when appearance and social networks are kings, the way to meet others without prejudice! “Adds the mother, making her own the motto that the establishment exposes on the page dedicated to the maintenance of its website: “To be rather than to appear”. A recent decision – the uniform was made compulsory there in 2017 – that the institution takes care to justify, evoking a “time when games of appearance too often prevail over the search for the simple dignity of the person and where the “always more” of consumerism constantly appeals to children”.
” On an equal footing “
“The unique outfit is the best way to put everyone on an equal footing,” says Elbatoul, whose son, a fifth-grade student, is educated at Soeur-Marguerite. In this private Catholic establishment in Clichy-La-Garenne (Hauts-de-Seine) which claims a social mix, primary and secondary students wear blouses and color codes respectively – either a navy blue bottom and a top with a white collar, or navy blue. “This prevents teenagers from being one-upmanship and trying to differentiate themselves with the latest pair of fashionable sneakers…”, comments Hayat, two of whose children go to school there.
READ ALSOCoignard – The school uniform, subject undermined but not minor
If her twelve-year-old son was, for a time, reluctant to comply with the two-tone outfit, “he ended up joining”, she rejoices. “Above all, it saves time in the morning! », Comments Félix, one of his classmates, for whom the practicality of this imposed set is obviously paramount. “Everyone sees their interest in it,” smiles Hayat, who, she hopes, will one day see “the uniform become generalized” to all establishments. “It would be the answer to many problems,” she wants to believe.
Uniform at school: “Parents and children see their interest in it”