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Pros and Cons of
Mandatory School Uniforms in Public
Codes Beyond the Student Body
In a world where casual has become the chosen attire in
professional settings, it appears that Casual Fridays
began on Mondays in our public schools. T-shirts,
jeans, shorts, sneakers, and sandals have become
acceptable attire in the teaching profession.
If we were
living in a perfect world ... this probably wouldn't be an
issue, but since the perfect world continues to elude
mankind, educators need to take a closer look at their
faculties and staff as well as their student populations
when it comes to proper attire. Is it really
any wonder that school age children are stretching the
limits of appropriate dress? Or,... are students
simply following the examples set by their teachers?
Eliminates opportunities for
the ridicule of less popular or less fortunate students
based on attire.
Decreases theft and violence
- even life-threatening situations- among students over
designer clothing or expensive sneakers.
Helping prevent gang members
from wearing gang colors and insignia at school.
Instilling students with
Helping parents and students
resist peer pressure.
Helping students concentrate
on their school work.
helping school officials
recognize intruders who come to school
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Many educators and sociology experts believe that
requiring children to wear standardized uniforms stifles
their self-expression. Self-expression is an important
part of child development and some experts believe that
curbing it with uniforms can be detrimental to a child.
Experts also believe that students who are forced to
wear uniforms will only find other, less appropriate
ways to express themselves, possibly through
inappropriate use of makeup and jewelry.
Some experts believe that public education attempts to
strip children of their individuality. They believe that
public education does not meet the needs of children who
do not fall in the norm, and that uniforms attempt to
force every student into one mold. They see standard
dress as another way for public educators to remove
student individuality where they should be embracing and
celebrating diversity. Some experts believe it is not in
the best interest of the child to try to control
socialization which is a part of human nature. They
believe that such use of school uniforms does not
prepare children from the real world in which they will
continue to be judged by appearances.
There are just as many experts who believe
that the cost of school uniforms is a negative factor as
those who see it as a positive factor. Some experts
believe that it increases the amount of clothing parents
will have to buy for their children because the children
will still want and need clothing for the hours they are
not in school. Uniforms can be more expensive for a
family who buys from second-hand stores or who relies on
hand-me-down clothing from friends and family. Some
experts believe cost is a negative aspect of school
uniforms because there is no use for them outside of
Many experts argue that different types of clothing feel
comfortable to different people. Some children are more
comfortable in a specific material or style of clothing.
Uniforms reduce one’s ability to choose clothing that
fits individual comfort needs. Experts believe that
children need to feel comfortable in order to maximize
learning, and that uniforms can therefore deter academic
are not Pros
Many educators and experts believe that, although in
theory uniforms should improve academic, behavioral, and
social outcomes, in reality they do not. These experts
argue that the studies of schools who initiate uniforms
do not report improvement in any of these areas;
therefore, if the desired outcomes are not reached,
there is no valid reason to standardize student dress
Principal to ask for dress codes for teachers
the stringent dress code students must abide by this year,
the board may also prohibit employees from "disruptive"
attire such as short shorts, skimpy halter tops and body
Uniforms: Quick Fix or Bad Call?
(excerpt) A case for uniforms
No long-term, formal studies have been done on the
effectiveness of school uniforms, but many schools have
kept their own informal statistics. California's Long
Beach Unified School District's records are probably cited
most often. This urban district adopted a mandatory
uniform policy in 1994. Since then, school crime has
dropped by 76 percent, while attendance has reached an
Pros and cons
Dr. Alan Hilfer, senior psychologist in the Children's and
Adolescent Unit at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn
says, "Uniforms do eliminate competition, pressure, and
assaults perpetrated by older kids on younger kids for
their sneakers and other possessions. They also allow some
kids to focus better, especially in the lower grades." But
Dr. Hilfer says there is a downside: "Clothes are a source
of expression for children, and as kids get older, they
become increasingly resentful of uniforms."
Dress Codes and School Uniforms
review of several articles addressing trends, controversies,