Red Cards: Do They Work and Are They Fair?

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We want to cover lots of controversial issues in this newsletter; and our first big issue is uniform. Many students would argue that uniform rules here are too strict; and we don't disagree, we intend to look into the issue of the Red Card uniform punishment system. We want to know whether you think it is a fair system and whether you think the system is actually working and improving the appearance of the school body.
The red card uniform system works by teachers spotting you; and writing your name down on their card. At the end of the week all the cards are collected in and the number of offences for each pupil is counted; if a pupil has their name down too many times they are punished. Punishment is usually detention or school Community Service (i.e. litter duty).

The idea was described by Mr M**re as being like a speed camera; in that you were not asked to correct your uniform, you were just punished. It is interesting to note though that recent statistics out show that speed cameras have had virtually no effect on the number of traffic accidents or fatalities in road accidents over the last ten years or so. We wanted to see if the red card system has had any effect on the way you dress at school.

We also question whether or not the uniform system is fair. In this issue we do not intend to question the idea of the uniform itself; that will be covered in the next issue, due out in January. The system is like a speed camera in the sense that you don't necessarily know that you've been caught until you are punished; we ask is this actually fair? We believe that punishment should come after warning and this is not true in the red card system. It has also been pointed out that the system is very much open to abuse by teachers. There have
been unconfirmed stories of pupils being victimised by teachers for reasons other than the quality of their uniform.

We want to know how many times you have been punished for incorrect uniform through the system and how you wear your uniform. To do this we ask you to fill in our online survey. It will only take 30 seconds or so. All you have to do is tell us how you wear your uniform, and if you get punished for wearing it incorrectly. We will release the results in the next edition of this newsletter.

We are also interested in seeing if year group or gender makes a difference to how likely you are to be punished for uniform; this comes after reports of teachers being more lenient to older students or to members of one sex.

In addition we also want to gauge how many teachers actually use the system. Without mentioning any names I think we can safely say that some teachers just ignore the system while others follow the rules to the letter. This in itself compromises the fairness of the system, if some teachers use the system while others don't then some pupils are more likely to be punished than others; and this is grossly unfair.