School Uniforms Politics and ... Public Policy: School Uniforms.

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If I were a student, I would not like being forced to wear uniforms. On the other hand, if I were a student, I would attempt to follow the dress code of the school, and my parents would have made sure that I was dressed accordingly. Such is NOT the case with many students who regularly flaunt school dress codes, and for this reason many schools have gone the route of uniforms. As a teacher, I have to follow certain dress restrictions, and I have never been questioned about the type of garb I wear. Many students don't seem to be able to adjust to this philosophy, and many parents defend their children's right to where whatever they wish. In many of the schools in which I have taught, racist slogans, exposed underwear, incredibly short skirts, and bountiful cleavage DO cause distractions to other students--and teachers as well. In my own district, students were warned for years to adhere to the dress code or face the possibility of having to wear uniforms. Instead of taking this threat to heart, dress code infractions increased each year. Now they must wear uniform clothing. In most cases, the students who refused to follow these rules have only themselves to blame. Sadly, the student majority who does dress properly also has to suffer.

dmcgillem eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would love to see school uniforms instituted in my district.  Although we are fortunate to not have problems with gang activity, fighting "fashion" is always a problem, and taking care of dress code infractions takes valuable time from our too-short days.  Also, I was a student in school who wore Goodwill and other hand-me-down clothing, and I was reminded every day of the fact that I was somehow "less" than the other students who wore the current brand-name clothing.

Whenever I hear students complain about how uniforms would take away their "individuality," I ask them how they are being individuals when they wear the "cool" brands that everyone else wants to wear.  When everyone walks around looking like an advertisement for Abercrombie, Hollister, or Aeropostale, I don't see where the expression of individuality comes in.

lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

For years, private and parochial schools have instituted school uniforms as a means to equalize students and keep to a minimum the distractions of dress in the classroom. Uniforms ensure a sense of propriety and modesty in dress. They can also eliminate some of the materialism-competition that can arise between the haves and the have-nots.

In recent decades, other schools have instituted uniform policies to help curb the amount of visible gang affliation that can come from clothing. Colors of clothing as well as the way items are worn can also show which gang a student may affiliate with and this could create tension or even violence in the school. If nothing else, it is a distraction to the learning environment.

kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that school uniforms can positively affect behaviour and attitude to school. I was part of a management team who introduced a uniform to a failing school in the UK. I was stunned that behaviour and attitude in the students improved hugely, as did attendance. The uniform was able to be purchased at a supermarket and was heavily subsidised for those who needed it. The down side seemed to be that there was no follow through for staff to adopt more business dress. I think this would have made the system fairer.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Just to present another view, I think school uniforms are a terrible idea because they represent everything that is bad about education. Education is all about suppressing individuality and telling students what to think so that they are incapable of independently thinking about subjects. Uniforms is just another extension of this, as the personality of individual students is suppressed and they are forced to become identical, which mirrors the way that they are being made to think identically.

bigdreams1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While I see the students point who complain that uniforms take away their individuality, I think the benefits outweigh the consequences.

Students do seem to perform better when they are dressed neatly and nicely. Also, it does seem to lessen class envy when some kids can afford to buy Holister and American Eagle, while others wear only Walmart and thrift store buys.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

They're a good idea because they allow students to concentrate on school and not on their looks.  They also lessen the differences between rich and poor students and make those who are not as rich less conspicuous.

But they're bad because they stifle individuality and don't let teens learn to make good decisions on their own about how to dress.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I have to agree that I like the idea of uniforms. First, all students are looked at as being part of a "team" (regardless of cliques/stereotypes). Another reason I like uniforms is the fact that they level the playing field in regards to rich v. poor. The only negative thing I can think of, as mentioned by pohnpei, is the taking away of individuality.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I teach in a public school and would like to see uniforms become policy.  Fashion--and the lack of fashion--become distraction for us in the Spring and Fall each year, and we have an emerging gang problem.  I think this would be a very simple way to at least try and address some of those issues.

najm1947 | Student

I mainly agree with the arguments given in the earlier post 2 to 9 for the uniform. The post 10 brings a new dimension to the discussion as under:

 " uniforms.... represent everything that is bad about education. Education is all about suppressing individuality and telling students ...they are incapable of independently thinking about subjects. Uniforms is just another extension of this, as the personality of individual students is suppressed ..are forced to become identical, ...they are being made to think identically".

 I am surprised to see such a post from an educator. Uniform is there to make the students have a 'uniform' appearance. The personality on the other hand is a reflection of ones character, actions, thinking capabilities and behavior. These traits have not much to do with the physical appearance. The most corrupt are best dressed whereas renownd social workers Mother Tressa and Abdul Sattar Edhi had/has nothing to do with expensive clothing. I feel that if a teacher does not try to develop the personality of students and does not encourage independent thinking through discussion on the subject matter, she/he is not doing her/his duty. Most of the evils in the society are due to the fact that parents and teachers have ignored the personality development to a large extent.


cyndiephilippe | Student

they are a good idea but i hate mines because its kaki and white.

They are totally necessary though