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Why Wearing A School Uniform Is Important

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Today, many schools around the world wear uniforms, requiring students to wear specific clothing. For as long as there have been uniform requirements, there has been a debate. Uniforms are both great for schools and students. There are more positive outcomes from wearing such clothing rather than wearing whatever the students want. Unfortunately, some opponents might feel that uniforms take away from the students’ creativity, or even that they are not affordable. When in fact, uniforms help free the stress of what to wear in the morning, provide a safer environment, decrease behavioral referrals, and so much more. School uniforms are vital to guarantee a positive learning experience for all children.

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Some people may feel that uniforms limit the student’s creativity and do not allow them to express themselves fully, however. Individuality can be shown through multiple ways. One can express themselves by their behavior, personality, and ideas. Wearing uniforms also create equality and prevents kids from being bullied based on their clothing. This event, in turn, teaches the students a valuable lesson, “judge people not by their appearances but by their characters”. Sarah Winkler, a school board member from Texas, agrees when she states that because “all students wear the same types of outfits with no logos allowed, we do not see divisions based on designer clothing or the lack thereof”. Norman Isaacs, principal of Millikan Middle School in Sherman Oaks, California says, “Our counselors and teachers monitor the way kids are dressed,’ he says. ‘If we see a big change in the way a student dresses, that sends up a signal and tells us we need to address that person’. That just goes to show that uniforms also give teachers insights into what’s happening with individual students.

Some people believe that uniforms are too costly. However, there are other options for finding school uniforms on a budget. Places such as Good Will and many other thrift stores will have items much cheaper than buying name brand clothing from the mall. Students can also get away with wearing the same clothes the following year, and most probably wouldn’t even notice. Dick Gray, a school board member from Maine, says uniforms “cost families considerably less to outfit students than they now spend buying expensive garments”. Not only are they cheaper, but they can save the kids’ a considerable amount of time in the mornings. Noelle Ebright, 16, a student at Wilson High School in Long Beach, California says, ‘all I have to do is grab some khaki bottoms and a white shirt with a collar and I’m out of the house’. If the focus can be taken off the materialistic things and be shifted to education, schools around the world could see more positive outcomes.

The most important part about going to school, besides receiving a positive learning experience, is the safety of the children. One cannot simply learn to their capacity if they’re scared, being bullied, or put into a situation that could have been prevented. For example, let’s say a trespasser enters the school. That person can be more easily identified if everyone is wearing a school uniform. Another advantage is the decreased gang violence. James King, a school security supervisor from Montgomery says, “requiring students to wear uniforms, administrators are diminishing the students’ ability to display gang emblems,” or even if the students find ways to display gang emblems,” most deviations from the uniform could easily be recognized. Uniforms also lead to fewer behavioral referrals and disciplines. A study was done at a public middle school in Nevada, by Jafeth E. Sanchez, Andrew Yoxsimer, and George C. Hill, and the results were astounding.

“Compared to the year prior to the uniform policy being implemented, the total discipline referrals at this middle school were reduced by 102 (9. 7%). Inappropriate behavior referrals were reduced by 121 incidents (a 33% reduction). For school police data, the total police log reports decreased from 200 the year prior to implementing the uniform policy, to 75 the year of implementing the uniform policy (63% reduction). Gang-related reports decreased from 12 to 4; affray reports decreased from 20 to 8; graffiti decreased from 26 to 2; property damage to school decreased from 10 to 1; threats decreased from 18 to 4; battery decreased from 25 to 3, and administrative assists decreased from 17 to 5”.

Uniforms influence the students to act appropriately, and most importantly, it aids in the safe environment of the children.

On the contrary, not everyone agrees with such clothing options. Some people feel that “such measures violate students’ First Amendment right to freedom of speech, and that the state – in the form of the public-school system – cannot legally tell students what to wear”. A lot of people feel as though uniforms are like slapping on a band aid to cover up the real problem. They say that “school violence, academic failure, and other problems need to be approached more aggressively, and that the social and economic factors that contribute to gang activity need to be addressed directly, and that failing students need extra tutoring – not a change of clothes”. Also, people may feel that it is more expensive because they must have both school uniforms and non-uniforms for after school.

Whichever side a person may be on, both sides are highly understandable, but if students wore uniforms, it would make the parents and students lives much simpler. There would be less bullying, students would focus on learning, and families would save money. It is time our nation got back to reading, writing, and mathematics, and stress less about who has the most expensive apparel. Not everyone may agree to wear uniforms, but they can provide a positive learning experience for all students.

10 October 2020

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