There are many advantages and disadvantages to having school uniforms and they are becoming a common trend in some current school systems. Students, teachers, and parents all have mixed feelings about students wearing uniforms. Some might say that wearing school uniforms takes away students’ freedom of self expression and others might say that all learners need to look alike and the uniforms are for discipline purposes. Nonetheless, this is a topic that is constantly debated in public school.
A common argument that is against school uniforms is that students can’t fully express themselves. This is true to some extent, but self expression doesn’t only involve the clothes you wear. Students can express themselves by the way they do their hair, wearing jewelry or not, and by the shoes they wear. Another concern about school uniforms is that teachers can’t identify students with violent tendencies and deal with them. If students are allowed to wear whatever they want, some will come to school with gang related colors which can lead to the formation of cliques. Just because students are not allowed to pick out what clothes they want to wear to school everyday, doesn’t mean that they can’t express themselves. Students can wear whatever they want outside of school. From this perspective, uniforms put all students at the same level, which will most likely eliminate discrimination. An argument that is commonly raised by parents is that school uniforms are too expensive. The parents argue that having to buy school uniforms on top of regular clothes for the weekend can become very costly, especially those with multiple children. They said that school is already way too expensive, so they shouldn’t add on to the cost by making them buy uniforms.
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A valid point was made about how some people say that uniforms take away students individuality and self expression. This article says, “”They decide to teach us about people like Rosa Parks, Susan B. Anthony and Booker T. Washington… We learn about how these people expressed themselves and conquered and we can’t even express ourselves in the hallways” (“ProCon.org”). Some parents made a very valid point about uniforms being too expensive because parents are already paying a lot and they might not be able to afford the uniforms. An article stated, “According to cost of school uniforms statistics, some parents pay significantly more for uniforms than regular clothes for their children, with an average of a few outfits costing around $600” (“Statistics on School Uniforms”). The cost of uniforms really depends on the type of uniform that is required at a particular school.
There are many benefits that go along with having school uniforms. School uniforms reduce distractions in the classroom by creating a common ground for everyone and they allow students to focus on their academics instead of what they and other people are wearing. For example, “Two thirds of parents (66%) think wearing a school uniform puts students on a level playing field and makes their life easier” (“Research shows wearing a school uniform helps to reduce bullying”). Studies show that school uniforms help prevent bullying throughout the school. The article stated, “60% of students who were identified as bullies in grades 6 to 9 went on to have at least one criminal conviction by the time they turned 24. School intervention programs (which includes school uniforms) are reported at reducing bullying by 30-50%” (“Our Family World”). Therefore, school uniforms are very beneficial for students and the school.
The best compromise for being either for or against school uniforms is a school dress code. The school dress code specifies the type of clothing that the students are allowed to wear to school. For example, the dress code could specify how long the students shorts should be, whether or not they can have holes in their pants, and what kind of pants and shirts they can wear. Dress codes can reduce behaviors that are often expressed through clothing such as violence or promiscuity. A school dress code allows the students to pick out what clothes they want to wear to school each day and it also allows them to express themselves. Having a dress code allows everyone in the school will be happier because they aren’t wearing uniforms and they get to pick out what they want to wear.
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