Should Schools be Uniformed?
One mother's opinion
Would you want your children to wear uniforms to school? After some research and thought I’ve come to the conclusion that wearing school uniforms is beneficial for teachers, students and parents. Here’s why:
Who is more appropriate to recognize what our children need than their teachers? They see them on a daily basis, they see their reactions and emotions when it comes to their peers more than parents do. According to www.statisticbrain.com, when teachers were asked if required uniforms have helped to promote positive student behavior, 95% strongly agreed. According to a study done in 1998 by Notre Dame, many educators believe that students perform better academically when required to wear a uniform. When they are free to dress as they choose, students can be so distracted by what they’re wearing that it can take away from the learning environment that school is meant for. Wearing uniforms promotes a stricter atmosphere and the teachers don’t have to try to uphold a certain dress code. It’s simple, they all dress the same. This also reduces theft cause by students stealing other’s apparel and damaging emotional abuse from spoiled bullies.
Also, students can easily be identified on field trips and more easily accounted for. Wearing uniforms can help the teachers to spot any intruders entering the school and also decreases bullying among students. It helps to prevent the formation of cliques or gangs and reduces peer pressure that is based upon physical appearance. President Clinton addressed the issue in his State of the Union speech stating, “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 uniforms.” Perhaps it’s a way for our children to begin to learn who they are on the inside rather than what they wear on the outside.
For our students it would mean that there wouldn’t be any need for decisions on what to wear to school and those who are less fortunate don’t have to worry about bullying. They can be judged on who they are as people, not on their economic status. This would greatly increase our children’s sense of themselves as well as their confidence. Wearing their uniform can also increase a child’s sense of pride in the school as well as promote community and understanding between students.
For parents there won’t be any pressure to buy designer clothes and school shopping will be much easier. Some disagree with this stating that uniforms are an unfair additional expense for parents who pay taxes for a free public education. However, according to www.statisticbrain.com the average annual cost to parents for school uniforms is $249. Consider this compared to what the cost is when doing the annual “school shopping.” According to the National Retail Federation (www.nrf.com), the current annual cost to prepare your child with school clothes is $688. That’s over a $400 difference and without the hassle of purchasing exactly what the kid wants based on what others are wearing.
There are some students and faculty who feel that requiring uniforms violates their rights to freedom of expression. Let’s consider this, according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, freedom of expression is the right of every individual to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. Nowhere in this does it say that our children have the right to wear what they want to school. As a matter of fact, if wearing school uniforms is a violation of their right to express themselves, then their schools current dress code is also. Children use this “freedom of expression” statement without the true understanding of what it means and without the sophistication to accept it from their peers. They want to be free to express themselves, but frequently segregate each other based on the expression. Who’s to say that they can’t express themselves freely through writing, art, sports, or Heaven forbid IDEAS, rather than through the clothing that they wear in school. Also, aren’t they free to wear what they like outside of school?
I’ll quote many frustrated parents when I say children go to school to learn not for a fashion show. Requiring uniforms would help our teachers do their jobs and teach instead of having to be a fashion judge and enforcer leaving them more time to collaborate with parents to teach our children to understand meaning in themselves as a person and realize that they are not who they are dependent on what they wear or the money they have.