Should Uniforms Be Mandated by the School? By Nicole Legovich and Marli Wilkins

There are many pros and cons to having school uniforms. School administrators, parents and students all feel differently about this issue. This has been taken to the Supreme Court in 1969 with a case called Tinker vs. Des Moines Independent Community School. School uniforms still tends to be a hot topic throughout the country. Many public schools across the country are establishing school uniforms to try and improve school behavior.
Some pros of school uniforms include, better academic performances, reduces violence, and decreases of social conflicts. According to the California’s Long Beach Unified School District, that mandated school uniforms in 1994, says that their school crime has dropped over 70% and attendance record is at an all time high. Dr. Allan Hilfer, a child psychologist, in the Children and Adolescent Unit at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn says, “Uniforms do eliminate competition, pressure and assaults possession. They also allow some kids to focus better, especially in the lower grades.” There tends to be an improvement in academic performance. Parents think that having school uniforms is a good idea because their children spend too much time planning their outfits, and now there will be more time to study and sleep.  However, some parents feel that there is no correlation between uniforms and academic performance.  Experts believe that there is no reported improvement in having school uniform vs. free dress.  Another pro for school uniforms is that they dictate a stricter atmosphere and that students who wear uniforms are more likely to follow school rules. As well as all of these things, the costs for having school uniforms are more affordable to the majority of families. However, there are also are a lot of cons for school uniforms.
One major con for having school uniforms includes taking the students’ freedom of expression away. Students may find other ways to express themselves, for instance through make-up, jewelry, and accessories. For students not to be able to wear what they want might affect their school performance.  Some parents also think that it is more costly to have school uniforms. The parents have to buy the uniform and another set of clothes for their children for when they are not in school. Some families feel that school uniforms might interfere with their religious beliefs, such as wearing yarmulke or headdresses. According to Dr. Allan Hilfer he says that, “Clothes are a source of expression for children and as kids get older they become increasingly resentful of uniforms.” Another con for school uniforms is comfort. Different types of clothing can be more or less comfortable for the children. Some girls might feel uncomfortable wearing skirts or dresses in the cold winter months.  If students are not comfortable, it could decrease their grades and performance. In the Supreme Court Case Tinker vs. Des Moines Independent Community School the court said that a student’s freedom of expression in a school must be protected unless it would seriously interfere with the requirements of appropriate discipline. Students are still protected under Tinker.
Coming from schools that did not have a school uniform, we feel that if our schools mandated school uniforms that attendance and grades would drop. We think that students need to be able to express themselves. At our schools, self-expression was a big part of who you were and whom you were friends with. We think that a school should only have a uniform if it is a private school since you’re paying for the child’s education.
So what do you think? Should schools be mandated to have uniforms?

Sources:

1. http://kids.lovetoknow.com/wiki/Pros_and_Cons_of_School_Uniforms

2. http://712educators.about.com/cs/schoolviolence/a/uniforms_2.htm

3. http://school.familyeducation.com/educational-philosophy/individuality/38676.html

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20 responses to “Should Uniforms Be Mandated by the School? By Nicole Legovich and Marli Wilkins

  1. Personally, I’m all for uniforms up until High School. As you mentioned some sources in the article, it has been shown in at least one particular California school districts crime dropped 70% once uniforms were introduced. The article doesn’t mention what was the actual frequency of the crime and if this was a low performing school district to begin with. The attendance factor is impressive as it was cited to be all time high after bring in the uniforms.

    I do think that uniforms would level the students in the poorer districts but would be received with much criticism in the wealthier ones. Of course, one cannot segregate the schools based on economic standing and say one school will wear uniforms and another will not. However, for the sake of inconveniencing the rich districts and their UGGs heeled student population, the positive impact on the poorer schools is worth it in my opinion. The pressure and burden taken off parent’s backs to supply their kids with the latest and greatest not to mention the elimination of the unspoken brand competition would re-shift the focus on why the students are actually in school – to learn the curriculum!

  2. I dissagree and think that school uniforms is a pro. I do think that it will take away from social bullying and the focus students have on materialistic things. Students should still have the opportunity to spice it up a bit maybe with colored tights or rocking jewerly, but I think that a school uniform will reduce distraction in school, mainly girls. Girls tend to focus on what other girls have and don’t have, if they are not wearing $100 jeans they might be looked at as out of style or cheap. Uniforms will reduce this and allow students to meet people for who they are and not what they own or wear. I also think that it will reduce lateness in the morning, you will always know what you are going to wear. I think that my high school experience would have been a better one had we all worn uniforms.

  3. I too believe school uniforms are a very very good, if not critical idea. First, as mentioned throughout, uniforms eliminate alot of peer pressure which can easily manifest itself into monetary pressure at the home. And also as mentioned in the article, clothing has become representative of specific affiliations which more times than not, are negative affiliations. Children are very aware of what certain types of clothing represent, be it a monetary representation or social representation, both of which can and may act as a distraction within the school thus impacting learning and social development.
    I can see where the idea of uniforms may impact a students creativity, but if a students creativity, especially within a school setting, can only be addressed through their wardrobe, there would seem to be something lacking within the school curriculum. A simple solution could be a class in fashion.
    A good curriculum should provide many avenues for a students creativity to be developed and expressed whereby the need to express creativity through personal in-school wardrobe is not a critical element to a students creative development.

  4. I believe that school uniforms could potentially help many situations such as bullying, but I also feel that, coming from a school without uniforms, that it certaintly does take away from self expression. People love putting together outfits and getting dressed because it is setting you aside from other people in that aspect. It allows you to portray who you are through your clothes. I also agree that having to purchase uniforms as well as clothes for when students are not in school could get a little pricey.

    I see where schools are coming from with uniforms though. I understand that often times clothing can portray monitary or social status and that could be distracting, and in turn result in poorer grades. I understand both sides to this arguement, but have to say that I believe students will succeed better going to a school without uniforms, where they can be themselves.

  5. I believe that school uniforms should be mandated starting from elemenatary school through high school. Growing up in catholic school where uniforms were the norm, I really did not see a big deal of wearing uniforms. I wore them until I was in 8th grade. Wearing the uniforms were such a relief because I did not have to worry about wearing clothes that I could no afford in order tto keep up with the trends. It made me feel equal towards other students. I knew then that I was less foutunate and hid it in wearing the unifoms.
    As far as grades go, I feel that it did not affect me because it was all I knew. Again, wearing the uniforms was normal for me so it did no affect me in a negative manner. My grades were consistant throughout elementary school.
    Once I moved up to a public high school (there were no private catholic high school nearby so I had to settle for a public high school), and regular attire was allowed, my fears set in because I was not use to attending school without all dresing the same. It was hard on me because it was obvious which students could afford trendy clothes, and those students who could not. You were popular if you were trendy and ignored if you weren’t.
    Experiencing a school were uniforms were mandated was the best experience of my school years. I did not have to worry who I had to impress in order to fit in. My focus was getting to school, socializing with friends, and most importantly getting my education.

  6. Uniforms can be ugly, expensive, and annoying, but they do make life a little bit easier. I also believe that with a disciplined uniform comes a more disciplined student. Uniforms make students a little less rambunctious and act calmer. Honestly, I don’t know what it is about everyone having the same clothes on, but it really does make children more proper and intuitive. Another positive aspect of a uniform is that children don’t fight with their parents every morning as to what they are going to wear.

  7. School uniforms teach the students that everyone is the same. There is less peer pressure to have the best or most expensive article of clothing. This relieves peer pressure and kids can focus of forming friendships not biased to one thing. Also having a uniform sets and enforces rules for the students. It may be more costly to the parents but I feel the overall outcome will only benefit their child.

  8. I am 100% pro-uniforms! Uniforms model what it means to be neatly and professionally dressed. I see too many kids, especially girls, wearing clothes with their behinds and provocative underwear hanging out for the world to see. This will not be acceptable in the workplace, and it shouldn’t be acceptable in school. I also believe that uniforms are a great equalizer. Educational competitiveness should be encouraged in school, not competitiveness over who has the most expensive clothing.
    P.S. One more quick comment. Don’t policemen, nurses, doctors, soldiers, etc. wear uniforms? Depending on what profession your students choose their job might require them to wear a uniform. I wonder how many doctors and nurses complain that being forced to wear uniforms stifles their self expression and violates their civil rights?

  9. Is anyone else having a problem posting comments?

  10. I agree with school uniforms… mostly. I do believe that it relieves the social pressure of trying to fit in for many students, while also relieving the financial pressure put on parents to spend so much money on name brand clothing and shoes. For those who argue that uniforms inhibits a child’s freedom of expression, I’d have to disagree. While it forces them to conform in terms of how they’re dressing, it also allows them to use more unique and/or positive ways to express themselves creatively. On the other hand, even though I’ve never had to wear a school uniform, I don’t know how much I’d enjoy wearing a skirt in the middle of February. Tights only do so much to keep your legs warm, and it’s in that moment I would probably wish I were allowed to wear a pair of jeans.

  11. I am torn with the issue of school uniforms. Both the pro and con sides make good arguments, however I think a good alternative is having school dress codes. A dress code is different than a uniform because it is more of a guideline of what to wear and what not to wear. This way, the students’ form of self expression is there, it is just limited. An example of a rule for school dress code would be that girls are not allowed to wear anything shorter than their knees (pants or skirts). Although I am in support of a school dress code, I agree that it is entirely up to the parents. In a lot of areas, parents have the option of sending their children to private or public schools, uniforms or no uniforms, co-ed or gender separate. These are ultimately options for the parents to discuss with their children.

  12. I think this article can be looked at from both sides. I think school uniforms can really help decrease ways people make fun of other students just because of the way they are dressed. By students dressing the same, other students can;t judge them by how they are dressed. Students who dont have to wear uniforms I think is important because it allows students to express themselves on an everyday bases. Although each side has its downfalls, I think it is very important for students to be able to express themselves however they feel. It helps students identify themselves as a person and feel comfortable about themselves.

  13. I personally like the idea of using uniforms. Though I do agree that uniforms limit kids from expressing themselves, I think it is still the best option. Walking into any high school or middle school one will most likely see girls dressed provocatively and boys with their pants falling down. I would agree that this may be disruptive to other students. There is also the issue of bullying. I think having kids wear a uniform may help kids worry less about how they look and what they are wearing. How can someone judge them for their clothing if they are all wearing the same thing? Bullies will still be bullies. However, I think this will aide with image within the school. I would love it! Its easy to pick out a uniform in the morning.

  14. If school uniforms were implemented, it would have a profound effect on students’ attitude towards school. By having students dress professionally, they will take school more seriously and feel better about themselves. I never forget going to a club meeting where students from a Catholic school were in attendance. The dress suits that were the students’ uniforms made them appear very impressive. I think that by giving the students the chance to look professional we are giving them a leg-up when it comes to competing in a tough job market and also encouraging them to take school seriously. Schools uniforms are one easy way to help put students on the right track.

  15. I must say growing up and having to wear uniforms I hated it. Cause you wear the same thing every day except gym day. But now as an adult and a mother I LOVE IT. I believe when all kids wear uniform there will be fewer issues in the school. Kids can not be tease by the other kids who are more fortunate and wear all the latest style close oppose to those who family can’t afford such. Less fights and bulling will come to play, but once into high school I think it should be mandatory but say Fridays are free days where the kid are allowed to wear whatever they wish. It s a great save for the parent because buy clothes for the school day is way more costly that buying 5 shirts and 5 pants from an economical stand point. Uniforms are great!

  16. I agree with many of the other posts that school uniforms are a good idea because it relieves the stress of some students and parents to go out and buy what is “in” at the moment. I do however feel that clothes is one way of expressing yourself. Some students like to stand out and wear different clothes because that is who they are and they like it. They are not ashamed to wear those clothes and wear them proudly. The answer shouldn’t be uniforms to stop bullying. The bullys will find other ways to make fun of other students if they really want to. The issue that should be addressed then is bullying itself then.

  17. I went to public schools but I do not like the idea of school uniforms. I feel uniforms take away from a person being able to express their individuality. Schools should provide uniforms to students who want to wear them but it should not be mandatory.

  18. I would prefer school uniforms in public schools. I speak both as a parent of two school aged girls and as a former student who wore uniforms. Wearing uniforms benefits the kids. It takes a lot of stress off them and makes the morning routine much simpler. Whether they want to admit it or not, wearing uniforms would be easier. Many of the kids today feel the pressure of wearing trendy clothes, Uggs, A&F, Juicy and so on. It would alleviate a lot of pressure. The parents feel pressure to buy their kids expensive name brands so their kids will fit in. The parents would save a fortune and would see uniforms as a blessing. The children can still find ways to be unique in their apperance even with a uniform. They also can dress as they choose after school and on the weekends.

  19. I personally love school uniforms. I went to privet school my whole life and when I first started college I missed my uniform. I did not spend time figuring out what to wear in the morning, and I never felt pressured to have the most expensive clothes around my classmates. In the case of people judging people it helps with bullying people but to me it was just less time I had to worry about waking up earlier and figuring out an outfit. It also helps with dressing appropriately in class. Girls were not hanging out anywhere, and I did not know the color of anyone underwear.

  20. I would love to see school uniforms worn in the public schools. School uniforms level the playing field for everyone. There are so many other ways to express oneself other than through clothing. It would be a refreshing change to see children become friends or get to know each other because of the qualities they possess on the inside and not for the amount of Abercrombie they sport on the outside. I currrently work in a school where school uniforms are mandated, albeit, it is a private school. However, the issue of what one owns or the idea of “keeping up with the Jones” is nonexistent. Let me add, not every child comes from money in this particular school. The children do have free dress on Fridays which is something that can be incorporated into the program. It would be nice not to have to see children’s underwear and bra straps hanging out. The reality is that you are judged by the way you look in public and how you present yourself. There is something to be said in taking pride in one’s appearance. Would you go on a job interview in your pajamas? Then why go to school that way?

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