Uniforms worn in school has been enforced in schools for a long time. In many cases, it is because the school is a religious, private school. For instance, children who attend Catholic school must wear traditional attire. (Murray) The boys must wear black pants with a white shirt and black tie. The girls must wear a skirt or dress that is plaid. Depending on the religious denomination, the dresses can be black, green or reddish with a touch of gray. The school imposes this with good intentions. However, this could be viewed as either a good, or bad idea according to students and parents.
There are a few good reasons to wear uniforms. (King)
There are a few reasons that wearing a uniform is a bad idea.
Students have a tendency to compare one another. In doing this, they rank themselves and each other into a hierarchy that carries discriminatory rhetoric. The children who have nice clothes are praised and favored compared to those who do not. It is hurtful, creates peer pressure and humiliation. For this reason, children should be forced to wear the same colors and fabrics each day. (Burkemper)
With the above-mentioned problem, children can have a difficult time focusing on their assignments and academic performance. (Espejo) School has become a fashion show with cruel judges and no one advocates for the poor kids. This is another excellent reason to enforce the wearing of uniforms.
In cities where gangs dominate the neighborhoods and are united by certain colors (i.e. a group of Bloods who wear red), the children who wear uniforms can avoid being targeted based on clothing colors. (McCarthy)
Parents and children argue that unisex gear (i.e. shorts for girls) are not allowed and this is somewhat sexist.
Uniforms are expensive. (DeMitchell and Fossey) The prices rise each year. Children outgrow their clothing so fast. It is not worth the expense to stop children from dressing in ways that make them comfortable.
It makes school feel more like a temporary incarceration. People in prisons must wear the same thing each day. Children can go to school feeling as if they are being punished. Their perspective of school could be negative, which could adversely affect their desire to learn and enjoy being there.
Conclusion: After reviewing the pros and cons of wearing uniforms, it is easy to understand why some children might welcome this idea. It might relieve the pressure of feeling as if they need to wear fancy, popular brands. (Martin) It could also eliminate the teasing that comes with some kids having more wealth than others. Children truly need to focus on their coursework rather than name-brand outfits. On the other hand, children love to express their own identities. If a school allows children to wear their own clothing, expressive young people can dare to be different and feel good about it.
Perhaps more colorful (non-uniformed) hallways of children would make school feel less like a detention center, and more like a diverse center for free-thinking. Both sides of the argument are valid. Although this is a very subjective topic, the outcome for each child will vary according to how they handle their school circumstances. Student success in a uniformed school is quite possible. (Gentile and Imberman) In any case, kids need parental guidance. With a good support system at home, a child can be successful whether, or not uniforms are required in school.
Brunsma, David L. Uniforms in Public Schools: A Decade of Research and Debate. Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2006.
Burkemper, Michelle L. The Attitudes and Perceptions of Students Toward the Wearing of Uniforms in Public High Schools. 2008.
DeMitchell, Todd A, and Richard Fossey. The Challenges of Mandating School Uniforms in the Public Schools: Free Speech, Research, and Policy. Lanham ; Boulder ; New York ; London : Rowman & Littlefield, 2015.
Gentile, Elisabetta, and Scott Imberman. “Dressed for Success? The Effect of School Uniforms on Student Achievement and Behavior.” NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH, Aug. 2011, pp. 1-40, www.nber.org/papers/w17337.pdf. Accessed 17 Sept. 2018.
McCarthy, Martha M. “Restrictions on Student Attire: Dress Codes and Uniforms.” Educational Horizons, vol. 79, no. 4, 2001, pp. 155-157. Accessed 17 Sept. 2018.