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The Importance Of School Uniforms: Do They Limit Individualism Or Bullying?

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Abstract

School uniforms promote learning by eliminating distractions, create a system of equality, instill pride in adolescents by making them feel like they belong to a group, and have limited bullying. Based on personal experience school uniforms have limited individualism but have given my peers and I a larger sense of pride and belonging. Also, school uniforms reduced the amount of bullying ongoing in the school. Opponents of school uniforms feel as though students first amendment rights are being taken away. This essay discusses the viewpoints of the proponents and opponents of school uniforms. In conclusion, school uniforms help create a sense of equality and help limit bullying.

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Introduction

Growing up I was taught in the environment of a private school. Where we all taught a sense of family, unity, and discipline. Since I can remember, I have worn uniforms to school, up until college. Uniforms always made thing easier in the morning, and they made me feel more important by belonging to a group. My learning environment also had limited distractions because everyone wore the same thing. I also feel like uniforms never hindered my creativity, level of self-expression, and lessened my insecurities . Many people feel as though school uniforms limit the individualism of students by not allowing them to have a sense of freedom with their exploration of dress and the uniforms have many proponents and opponents. It just varies based on each person’s own experience with school uniforms. School uniforms support students as they build a fairness structure, encourage education and minimize harassment by reducing individualism.

Uniforms in Schools and The First Amendment

Over the past decade or so there has been a large debate on whether or not school uniforms align with the first amendment. The first amendment states that everyone should have the right to practice free speech, religion, press, the right to assemble, and the right to petition. Within schools there are limitations on First Amendment rights of minors. This means that the government sets limitation depending on the class of the citizens involved. When it comes directly to minors, the parents are already signing away their rights when putting them in school. “Although students are persons under the constitution and retain some constitutional rights to freedom of speech and expression while in public schools, the supreme court held that the rights are reserved”. Tinker vs Des Moines Independent School District, 1969 addresses the issue of school uniforms and the limitations on the rights of minors. According to Mitchell and Knecthle (2003), it was found that dress codes encounter more 1st and 14th amendment issues than school uniforms do. Courts always look over the policies that are in place in order to decide whether or not there is a decent balance on the rights of students. In conclusion, students first amendment rights are not coextensive with those rights of adults. Meaning that students are not provided with the same amount of rights as adults in the school system.

Opponents of School Uniforms

Those who oppose school uniforms believe that school uniforms take away the family rights of expression. In California, the school districts allow schools to decide whether to implement dress codes or require a school uniform. Some school uniforms may limit the dress of some cultural and ethnic values. 75% of parents at a school in California agree with the implementation of uniforms and the other 25% feels that the school uniform will hinder their child’s development in self-identification and self-exploration. Over time it has been shown that school uniforms don’t promote tolerance of other cultures, which can cause children to become judgmental. As students become older and create their own opinions it is possible that they might start to resent the school for wearing a uniform. Finally, uniforms can hinder a child’s decision making skills. Uniforms are taking away the rights of children and interfering with adolescents transition to adulthood.

Proponents of School Uniforms

School uniforms have a positive impact on the learning environment, in today’s society school uniforms are mainly used to curb negative behaviors associated with students such as teasing, absenteeism, tardiness, school violence, and bullying. School uniforms promote learning by create a system of equality, they instill pride by making students feel important by belonging to a group, and they limit bullying by creating a judgement free learning environment. School Uniforms can help alleviate mental health, dress related behavioral problems, and bullying. Proponents of school uniforms believe uniforms increase positive attitudes towards school, higher educational goals, and remove social segregation. Studies show that schools who require uniforms have higher attendance rates, lower suspension rates, decreased substance abuse, and a lower rate of students who commit suicide. Because adolescents cannot express themselves through clothes, it allows them to show themselves through other aspects of life. When children wear uniforms, they cannot be discriminated against or made fun of.

My Personal Experience with School Uniforms

From the student’s point of view, I really like school uniforms as they help to reduce the stress of getting a school outfit every day. I often believe it helps with the overall image of high school, because it makes students look more cohesive and facilitates a sense of family.

On dress down days, I felt as though people were so in competition for what they were wearing, that they forgot that it was school. I feel like if my old high school allowed students to add their own individualism to their uniforms, it would add more distractions and create a negative learning environment. On those days specifically I felt that there was so much competition that it took away from the judgement free learning environment and had an effect on the family aspect of school. When attending private school, school uniforms helped with more of a controlled learning environment. School uniforms have led to the creation of a healthy learning environment. I believe uniforms do a better job in reducing harassment of younger students as younger students are more judgmental than students from high school. You are more likely to find a group of people in high school with the same views, values and interests as you are High school students accept others more. Personally, I never felt like uniforms limited my self-exploration and creativity. People are usually judged on the basis of their presence in middle school instead of what they actually bring to a partnership. In reducing the dimension, it helps to reduce the amount of harassment focused on the looks of someone.

Conclusion

In conclusion, school uniforms are helpful for students as they create a system of justice, facilitate education and minimize violence while reducing individualism. School uniforms do not violate the first amendment due to the fact that the privileges of children are not co-extensive with those of adults. By restricting student experimentation, this encourages a supportive and safe environment. The opposition feels as though school uniforms hinder a child’s self-exploration, but uniforms do more positive than negative. Not all school uniforms remove all of a student’s individualism so it is important to keep in mind that there are hardly run in’s with the constitution.

10 October 2020

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