School uniforms are a standard form of clothing worn primarily for educational institutions where they form the basis of the dress code. They were first instituted in England during the 16th century in charity schools for poor children and slowly became the standard clothing for public schools in the 19th century. Later, they became widely accepted at state schools and are now the standard clothing in most elementary and secondary educational institutions. Many people though believe that school uniforms are only a superficial aspect of school. One strong argument presented against it arose from the 1998 statistical study conducted by the University of Notre Dame’s Department of Sociology, which showed that uniforms have NO direct effect on student’s attendance, substance abuse, and behavioral problems. The study even goes as far as concluding that uniforms can have a negative effect on the achievement of students who are in professional school.
Of course, the merit of using school uniforms cannot be dismissed by one study alone. One study does not prove that they are indeed not effective. This leads us into asking whether implementing school uniforms is advantageous or disadvantageous. To answer this question, let us take a look at its pros and cons.
List of Advantages of School Uniforms Statistics
1. Promotes unity and Creates identity.
One notable advantage of implementing school uniforms is that it enables school officials or authorities to identify who their students are. Non-students can be easily identified through their attires, allowing school security to take appropriate actions to question the presence of individuals not belonging to the given school. In addition, it helps foster unity and gives students some kind of identity. According to author and historian Alexander Davidson, “Uniforms give schools a sense of identity and cohesion.” “When some aspects of society have become much less certain, uniforms suggest schools are there to provide certainty and order,” Davidson told BBC.
2. Prevents gang colors and the like.
There are many ways students represent their gang affiliations. They may do it through the use of colored wristbands, tattoos, colored earing, single colored clothing and the like. Implementation of a standardized dress code and strict uniform policies may help minimize or limit altercations between various gangs that exist in school.
3. Limits dress-related distractions.
One of the arguments presented against school uniforms is that they violate a person’s right to self-expression. While this argument may be valid, there is that possible problem about students wearing attire or apparel that may result to distractions between students. For example, a student wearing a pair of limited edition shoes may be a topic of discussion among other students, taking their attention and focus away from academic matters. Implementation of school uniforms can help prevent this by keeping students’ attention on their academic undertaking.
4. Prevents pressure relative to clothing.
Wearing school uniforms can help prevent the negative effects of peer pressure, especially that which is related to clothing. With students wearing clothes of the same cut, color and design, “clothing competition” is avoided. There had been cases where students who observe a fellow student wearing fancier clothes were motivated to act criminally in order to acquire that clothing. Instances like this are prevented through the implementation of school uniform policies.
5. Cost-effective and affordable.
Admit it or not, clothing a child for school can be expensive. And no, this is not limited to children and teenagers alone. Even young professionals would tell you that dressing up well for work every day can take a significant portion of the budget – unless of course one is open to the idea of wearing pre-loved clothing. The implementation of school uniforms addressed this problem; parents only pay a one-time cost for their children’s uniforms for the whole school year. Then there is also the reduced pressure of deciding what dress to wear each morning for school. With uniforms, you have your wardrobe prepared ahead of the week.
List of Disadvantages of School Uniforms Statistics
1. Denies self-expression.
Opponents of school uniforms argue that implementation of a standardized clothing policy stifle a student’s need for self-expression. That is, it denies students the opportunity to express their unique personality through the clothes they wear. Critics believe that allowing children to choose their own clothing fosters confidence and independence in them – characteristics, which are crucial to personal development and adult success. They go on to argue that denying this ability to express individualism hinders one’s transition from childhood to adulthood and could potentiality harm them as an adult once they face the real world where they will be judged by their appearances.
For some reason, uniforms can be uncomfortable to wear at times. They can get really hot in summer, and sometimes the collar can get really annoying. Probably, there were numerous instances when you, as a student, wish you could just strip off your uniform and slip on your most comfortable shirt and pants.
3. School’s reputation can be negatively affected by a student’s mischievous behavior.
No one can control students’ behavior once they are outside the school. This put a school’s reputation at risk when one student acts criminally, belligerently or disobediently while wearing his or her uniform in public. Observers of the action may easily generalize or associate the behavior to the standards of the school with which the student is associated. This is why schools should enforce policies that prevent students from wearing uniforms outside of the school.
4. Put students at risk to public profiling.
When strong rivalry between schools exists, students can be potentially profiled base on their school uniforms. In addition, students face the risk of harassment by others in public for the simple fact of making fun of someone wearing a uniform.
School uniforms clearly have their advantages and disadvantages. This is why deciding whether or not a standardized clothing policy need to be implemented should be carefully thought of. Particularly, its effects on students’ curricular focus, safety, comfort, and self-development should be thoroughly considered.
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.