continued And what has he told those who have called? That "it has been phenomenal," he answers. "We did a random poll of parents, and basically it was, 'Do you support the uniform policy, or do you not support it?' And of the 1100 responses, about 99.8 percent of the poll came back favorable. They like it. The parents like it. Needless to say, the kids don't like it that much, but I am really proud of our kids because they respect it. And we reward their respect with non-uniform days. A few Fridays out of the year, rather than starting at 9:00, we start at 10:00, so teachers can do planning and things like that. On those Fridays the kids get to come out of uniform."
There are no non-uniform days at the Colegio de Bachilleres, and there are strict penalties -- including suspension and expulsion -- for persistent uniform violations. But Osuna says he tries to cultivate a relaxed atmosphere surrounding the issue. For instance, if girls have piercings outside of one in the earlobe or boys have any piercings whatsoever -- both against the uniform code -- "I request that they take them out and give them to me. When school is over, they can come and pick them up from me."
The uniform code at his school, Osuna says, is less rigid than at most Mexican high schools'. "We want to give them several options," he explains, "so that within the restrictions they can also participate in the integration of the school and experience a bit more freedom. We try at this age, because they've had 11 years of uniform culture, to let them loose a little bit."
Why not just toss the uniforms and let the kids wear what they want, as they do at most American high schools? "Because," Osuna answers, "culturally, we are not prepared for that freedom. In my opinion, a lot of students would lose track of the fact that they come to school to study."