This is a hot topic in many school districts. I think there are very good pros and cons but personally I do not think we should mandate the wearing of uniforms. Children of all ages need to be allowed to express their personality's, one way they do this is in the attire they choose to wear. We should not force children to be more regimented, rather we should promote individual choice. We do not live in a cookie cutter society, we should not press the issue.
Another pro- standard mode of dress largely eliminates the visibility of gang affiliation and therefore helps to reduce (not eliminate) threatening environments.
Dress codes, uniforms, none of it matters unless it is strictly, unanimously, consistently and uniformly, enforced.
Here is what a uniform does for behavior: it creates a very small and very easy boundary to live inside or outside of. Those who follow the rules, generally, can be expected to follow other rules. Those who choose to push this tiny boundary, inevitably will push other bigger boundaries. When a small boundary is strictly enforced, it deters most delinquints (for lack of a better term) from pushing the bigger boundaries. When they know the staff/administration cares about the small stuff, they make the logical connection that the big stuff will be enforced as well.
I'm fully in favor of strict dress codes, standard mode of dress... whatever you want to call it. I'm not in favor of "at-will" nor "discretionary" enforcement.
The major for points, in my opinion, are twofold - first, as others have stated, the uniform is a leveler that takes away socio-economic status determinants. Take away the statements that can be made by clothing and you take away one of the major factors causing dissent in schools.
A second plus for uniforms is that they make it easier for faculty and staff ton identify who is and who is not a student, so it becomes an easy identifying factor.
I teach in a school where dress code is a MAJOR problem. I have seen boys' pants fall all the way to the floor (due to their bagginess) twice this week and I've certainly seen more than my share of cleavage and belly buttons. I'm tired of having to avert my eyes as I speak with a student just because they are "expressing themselves." It is rude and borders on indecent many times. In general, I wouldn't be called a prude, so please take my comments with that in mind.
Anyway, I would love for our kids to wear a basic uniform, like khakis and a polo, but I agree that enforcement would be a nightmare. If we were nice and tried to allow some flesibility by saying the shirt could be any solid color, I guarantee that certain students would always show up in their gang colors. Parents would refuse to buy the clothing requested just because they feel we have no right to decide what their kids wear. (They often tell us we shouldn't try to tell their kids what to do in school because it is not our business what their children do!) I expect that our referral numbers would skyrocket (at the same time as we are being told that referrals must be cut in half!). Most of the school would be suspended or in ISS on a daily basis.
In my opinion, it isn't the schools, but society that must change. We have to teach children, from a young age, to respect authority. They need to learn that there are times when it is just right to do what you are told. It isn't weakness to comply with someone else's request!
Yes. Schools who have dress codes but not a uniform requirement know the daily hassles of monitoring that dress code. Determining what is appropriate and inappropriate is sometimes difficult and awkward, especially in cases where the student is of the opposite sex of the teacher. Additionally, students are passionate and often obstinate when they are told something they are wearing is innappropriate. I reccomend completely removing a daily source of conflict, by implementing a dress code.
When a dress code was implemented in my school things changed for the better. No more worries of shirts advertising or saying any messages, no worries about a student getting dressed like a clown and taking the attention away from the students, and most importantly no more worries about the too-short, too-wide-or too much anything.
I have worked at both uniformed and non-uniformed schools. It was so nice having uniforms since the pants were required to be on the hips, shirts tucked in, and belts worn. I never had to look at boxers or thongs hanging out, although some of the young ladies purposely purchased shirts too small so their "girls" could be counted as present as well. The school admin stood out in the hallways before and after school as well as between classes to check for violations--teachers weren't made to focus entirely on that aspect of the school day. The school store sold shirts for $10 a piece, and they bought back shirts to be sold on the "As Is" rack when students graduated or transferred. These clothes were sold at a discount, so it was never an issue for parents to clothe their students. Any khaki or navy pants, shorts, skirts (no denim) were acceptable as long as the length was appropriate (shorts and skirts were to be no shorter than 2" above the knee).
Hair styles (color had to be "naturally occurring in human nature"), belts, jewelry, shoes and socks were not regulated and could be any color or style. This is where students expressed individuality. Of course, there were days when students could pay $1 to wear everyday clothing for fundraisers and we always made a mint on those days.
One of the senior superlatives was "Most Creative Uniform Embellishment". They didn't seem to mind the uniforms as they always knew what they were wearing. It made for some good jokes when picture day came around, though. :)
Our students always looked nice, were focused on academics, and in all four years I worked at that school, there was not one instance of teen pregnancy. Don't know if uniforms were the reason, but it's an interesting observance.
For several years, my school district had a very strict dress code. It started out as a sort of uniform: students could wear only polo shirts and pants or skirts that were navy blue, hunter green, or khaki. When parents complained that it was a hardship economically and difficult to find the clothing, the school board allowed plain denim jeans and any solid-colored shirt with sleeves and a collar. Our school board and district superintendent mandated that we enforce the dress code or find another job. It got so that the majority of in school suspensions were for dress code violations.
Last semester, the whole thing blew up. During exams, one of our high schools placed over 400 students in ISS, and the teachers had to be responsible for seeing that they got their exams. The school board finally realized that our focus should be on academics and not on what students wear. They revised the dress code to make it more sensible for everyone involved.
I do believe that a uniform creates a sense of professionalism, but our kids have only 18 years to be kids. They have the rest of their lives to be professionals. Let's let them be kids and express themselves while they can be.
The argument I have heard most often recited in favor of school uniforms is that it brings a level of professionalism into the school setting. Students might be more open to seeing school as a place of formality and approach it as such. While stifling, others argue that in an educational setting where there is much in way of lack of focus and a glaring lack of professionalism, school uniforms present an opportunity to being these items back into the school setting. I have heard this advocated as a potential positive in the advocacy for school uniforms.
Self-expression is inevitable at all times, unless you want to turn students into robots. You can't ask students to turn themselves off just because they walk through the school doors.
At the same time, in schools without uniforms, at least the ones I've taught in, the wealthiest students often dress the sloppiest. Most wealthy students don't flaunt their wealth.
A major reason for having kids wear uniforms is that it would work to lessen the obvious differences between the rich kids and the poor kids. The poor kids would not have to be embarrassed about their clothes -- they would look just like everyone else.
I believe clothing helps a student to express his individuality, and I hate the idea of restricting a person's style of dress. For these reasons, I am generally against school uniforms. However, many students abuse school dress codes so regularly and severely (underwear and cleavage showing, for example), that teachers and administrators are forced to spend much of their time dealing with such problems. School uniforms would solve some of these problems, and they would certainly close the gap between the very rich and very poor; but I suppose uniform pants could also be worn to the knees, and uniform blouses could still be unbuttoned down to the navel, so...
I'd say no, because it limits the freedom the students.
School uniforms are a good thing for schools because some people can't afford nice clothes unlike others. So i think that when wearing uniforms there are no differences between people and everyone is equal. If schools didn't have uniforms then some people would just go crazy with what they wear.