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?