School Uniforms

Ever since Adam and Eve discovered the shame of sex, clothing has become an important part of human society. It creates confidence, controversy, creativity, individuality, diversity, currency, and express religious identity. Too much of it (clothing) may proclaim mystery and complexity, while little of it may encourage an erotic character. An individuals attire has always played an important role in Americas society as well. On many occasions, a person can be evaluated both positively and negatively by his or her clothing and physical appeal.

Whether he or she approves of it or not, clothing encourages judgment and valuation of a persons moral and mental ability as well as his or her profession or friendly affiliations. Clothing can also signify unity in many organizations where uniforms are a requirement, including doctor, nurses, military officials, and pilots. Can clothing be a linkage to intelligence and success? Ones attire in a job interview can prove beneficial toward his or her occupational opportunity.

Should this tool of success, professional clothing, be adopted by public school in America? The issue of school uniforms in public school has been a heated and serious debate for some years now. President Bill Clinton once linked students clothing to violence in public schools, supporting the idea for uniforms if it means that teen-agers will stop killing each other over designer jackets. But should uniforms be a requirement for public school. Supporters say yes because it assists the process of academic growth in public schools ranging form grades K-12.

Why would so many people oppose school uniforms, clothing that can prove very beneficial to the scholastic process of public schools by increasing academic focus and removing distractions in the class room? It just clothes right? To answer this question let us analyze the importance of clothing to a child. At an early age, many kids begin to develop a style of their clothing base on their environment and interests. For example, kids in kindergarten will desire a lunch box, shoes, and T-shirt that illustrates television shows that are popular among his peers such as Power Rangers or Pokemon.

The case is similar in high schools as well. Teenagers incorporate different designer clothing or clothing worn by popular music artist to develop a unique style to label their own. Children from all ages want to stand out as people recognized for originality by incorporating popular influences of their time. They express their personality by the attire. However, uniforms will help kids to develop strong unique individuality with intelligence and not with the media assistance. Opponents of a mandatory school uniform policy believe that uniforms will hamper students need to develop individualism.

One student at Ocean City states that if we wore uniforms we wouldnt be able to express our creativity as much (Quotes). If students were restricted to particular attire, it may reduce their need for individualism and cause rebellion. This rebellious attitude because of the decrease in individuality will reduce or hamper the academic growth of public schools. Instead of staying to the uniform policy, they may add different elements to stay far away form it. For example, girls in uniforms may shorten their skirts, abandoning the policy for the length of skirts.

Boys may decide to add buttons, extra pockets, or place cuts or rips in the pants to rebel against the system. However, uniforms will not decrease individuality but enhance it in other necessary areas. With uniforms, students will be able to develop individuality intellectually, not superficially. Being able to be expressive both intellectually by possessing the necessary tools academically can prove very sufficient in comparison to expressing individuality by clothing alone? People against school uniform consider it the wrong solution to a huge problem.

Uniforms cant be considered a solution for academic problems in Americas public school, but a very beneficial assistant. Americas overall student performance is fairly low in comparison to other international countries. A recently completed Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) assessed the mathematics and science performance of students around the world. In that survey, the percentage of eighth-grade students from the United States scored lower, on average, in mathematics than students in Japan, France, and Canada, and scored about the same as students in Germany and England.

Japan and Canada have uniform requirements in school. Plus students who were exposed to uniforms notice the benefits it provides. Sarah Rockford once wore uniforms before she made a switch to normal clothes in high school. After she made the switch in high school, Sarah said that NowI realize that uniforms were very helpful (Quotes). Also several US States public schools have implemented mandatory uniforms and have produced positive results. Some states and local school districts decided to ensure a learning environment by having uniforms as a requirement. Baltimore, Maryland implemented a voluntary uniform policy at Mt.

Royal Elementary/Middle School. According to Mt. Royal’s assistant principal, Rhonda Thompson, the uniform policy has enhanced the tone and climate of our building. It brings about a sense of seriousness about work (Manual). All of the students have elected to participate in the uniform program. Also in Norfolk, Virginia, mandatory uniform were established in Ruffner Middle School in 1995. Since then, the staff attributed positive changes in part to the uniform code. Using U. S. Department of Education software to track discipline data, Ruffner has noted improvements in students’ behavior.

All the distractions to positive learning were decreased sufficiently. Leaving class without permission is down 47 percent, throwing objects is down 68 percent and fighting has decreased by 38 percent. One of the biggest distractions faced today in public school is social popularity. The majority of kids in school develop the need to be like and known by their peers. One way of achieving the goal of popularity is by becoming cool fashionably. In school, especially in high school, popularity can come with clothing. Wearing the latest designer jackets, shirts, sneakers, or pants all contribute to becoming famous in school.

Students who wear the most prevalent designer wear in modern times (Polo, Nike, Iceberg etc. ) receive recognition as a fresh dresser, meaning he or she possesses the necessary money to purchase these clothes. This may lead to violent confrontations. The fear of being confronted and challenged for your clothes in school is very real. In a recent 1999 survey conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics, in 1997 students (ages 12-18) were victims of about 202,000 nonfatal serious violent crimes at school, and about 636,000 away from school.

Uniforms can have a very beneficial effect on the distractions or confrontations over clothing in Americas public schools today. Uniforms would remove the prejudgment of a student based on his attire, evaluating whether he has money or not. The desired for the students expensive clothing will be removed; discouraging kids to confronted other students for his clothing. This can also prove beneficial to unfortunate kids whose family is considered poverty stricken. Teasing and insults due to their financial problems will reduce sufficiently due to the introduction of uniforms.

Less fortunate kids will then develop better confidence both physically and emotionally. Matthew Mills, a student at Cumberland High School said everyone would dress the same and no kid would get picked on (Cox). This reduction in prejudgment among students will help the academic process in school and develop a better learning environment. Uniforms will assistance in academic process in public school can be attributed from the switch of focus from clothing to academic work. Many children (age12-18) can be considered sensitive about their appearance.

Uniforms would relieve most worries on clothing for students who are concerned about their appearance before attending school. A junior at Cumberland Regional High School once stated that if uniforms were placed into effect It wouldnt take so long trying to figure out what to wear. In Phoenix, Arizona, mandatory uniform policy at Phoenix Preparatory Academy was implemented in 1995. The school contains approximately 1,174 middle school students. The school received a grant from a local foundation to cover the cost of uniforms for families that cant afford to buy them.

Ramon Libya, the principal at Phoenix Preparatory Academy, said, the main result is an overall improvement in the school climate and a greater focus on positive behavior. A big portion of that is from uniforms (Manual). Instead of students worrying about fixing his or her outfit in class, their concentration would be focus on schoolwork. To the public school educational system, uniforms can prove very beneficial and should be mandatory. It would no fix the violence problem in public schools today, but it would surely assist the problem of academics improvement. Three percent of all public schools require students to wear uniforms.

About one-fourth of these schools initiated the requirement prior to the 1994-95 school year, 40 percent initiated it between the 1994-95 and 1995-96 school years, and 34 percent initiated it in 1996-97. If uniforms we mandated by the federal government, the benefits these schools received from school uniforms would be delivered to all Americas public school in general. I believe that uniforms can be very beneficial in public schools. It doesnt reduce students need to individual, but sparks it in other necessary academic areas. A person doesnt need superficial things to prove her or him uniqueness. Individuality is developed by the mind.


Works Cited

Coleman, Chrisena. BX. Deal is Best for Uniforms. Daily News (News York) September 5th, 1998: 16. (March 24th, 2000)

Cox, Beverly. Uniforms Creep Into Local Public School. Living Today March 29, 1996.

Dyson, Roy Senator. Senator Dysons Newsletter.  Southern Maryland Online (Maryland) July 12, 1996.

Manual on School Uniforms. Feb. 29, 1996 (April 7, 2000)

Mukamel, Eran. Uniforms Are Not the Answer to School Violence. School Uniforms March 30, 2000<>.

National Center of Education Statistics (April 7, 2000)

Quotes About Uniforms Policy September 4th, 1997. (March 24, 2000)

Ritter, John. “Uniforms Changing Culture of the Nation’s classrooms.” USA Today 15 Oct. 1998, final ed.: 1A.

School Uniforms- Now More Than Ever! October 17, 1997.  (March 29, 2000).


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