School Uniforms in Public Schools

As the former 42nd United States President Bill Clinton once stated, “If it means teenagers will stop killing each other over designer jackets, then our public schools should be able to require their students to wear school uniforms.” The history of school uniforms has a somewhat checkered past. The tradition originated in the 16th century with charity schools, supporting children who were orphans, living in poverty, or had nowhere else to go. Although uniforms have moved from pom-poms and starched aprons to polos and jumpers, the reasons why uniforms are either supported or criticized have remained relatively the same for over 400 years. I think uniforms can be a great thing. School uniforms create uniformity between socioeconomic class within a school district. If students were to wear the same thing there would be less of a socioeconomic distinction between the students. They also increase attendance.

Schools in the South have had their attendance increase by 20% in a span of five years after enacting school uniforms. Uniforms could help students focus more attention onto their studies than what they wear. When you eliminate the need to find popularity through fashion or accessories, it becomes possible for students to focus on other aspects of education. In other words that means a student can stay focused on their classes, retaining the information learned, and that can lead to better overall grades. When you make students wear school uniforms it violates their right to freedom of expression. School uniforms, by design, limit diversity within the educational systems. In today’s world, we have several cultures, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Instead of pretending to be equal by creating an outward visual aesthetic, it would be more effective to emphasize true equality within the society at large. If diversity is established in the classroom, students can learn how to interact with other groups and then initiate ways to establish future policies that can lead to real equality. Bullying still occurs with school uniforms. Students who attend schools with uniform policies may find themselves being bullied by others who don’t go to schools with a uniform policy. An intruder could easily blend in. All they have to do is know what kind of uniform it is and get it themselves.

It enables them to move around the school as they please to do so. Virginia Draa, assistant professor at Youngstown State University, reviewed attendance, graduation and proficiency pass rates at 64 public high schools in Ohio. Her final analysis surprised her: “I really went into this thinking uniforms don’t make a difference, but I came away seeing that they do. At least at these schools, they do. I was absolutely floored.(Wilde 2018)” Another good thing about wearing a school uniform is that it gives the student a great sense of belonging and school pride. They are a great way of saving money in a big family. School uniforms can be handed down to others each year. For a family of four, it is possible to get by with only purchasing one set of uniforms because each previous uniform set can be handed down to the next child. Americans spend around $1 billion per year on school uniforms (ProCon.org). It saves you time in the morning.

Instead of standing in front of your closet, trying to decide which look to wear that day, the uniform can be put on and the morning routine can be completed. Some students may save up to 30 minutes each morning simply because the expectations of how they should look have been laid out for them in advance. School uniforms also encourage discipline. Meeting a school uniform code requires a certain level of discipline from a student. It also requires their parents’ discipline to make sure their child is meeting expectations. When discipline is practiced, it can be applied to other aspects of life. Children in school uniforms may find it easier to stay focused on their studies, complete homework after school, build friendships, or prepare themselves for a better life. In conclusion, wearing school uniforms is better than letting the students wear what they want.

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