Angus Young of the rock band AC/DC is what comes to mind when picturing a school uniform. His uniform or costume if you will, is that of an English schoolboy dressed in a suit type uniform but shorts instead of slacks and a funky hat. A group of small boys and girls all warring the same colored uniforms assembled in front of the catholic school down the street is another picture that comes to my mind when thinking about school uniforms.
This is what most people used to think about school uniforms. They have been attached to students of European and private schools. Such pictures of students dressing in school uniforms have led to stereotyping and a negative attitude towards schools enforcing a uniform policy.
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Displayed as robots without the ability to express themselves in a society that says you must express yourself and be an individual at all costs. The problem is that the cost to express yourself and be an individual is high in some cases, in Detroit, a 15-year-old boy was killed for his $86 basketball shoes (Tweeters 1997).
I believe that cost is too high, it would be better to be laughed at and teased about warring a nerdy uniform than to be shot by some gang member that did not like the color of the pants I’m warring. School uniforms have been the cause of many jokes and harassment to those who wore them. In the past public schools considered uniforms old and outdated trends, though recently many public schools are starting to implement and enforce a uniform policy.
The implementation of a school uniform policy is important if we are still striving to improve our students. The arguments against them are fading while the positive reasons are promoting school uniforms and gaining ground. Some of the possible benefits are safety, cost, uniformity, and competition in academics instead of fashions. The main argument against them is the need for students to express their individual selves, this argument is losing ground compared to the benefits of the uniform policy.
Today many public schools are mandating and enforcing school uniforms for their students. San Antonio School district requires all 60,000 of its students to wear uniforms; over 60% of Fort Worth’s elementary schools require their students to wear uniforms (Radcliffe 1999). In 1995, the Texas legislature gave public school districts the authority to require uniforms under Texas State Law 11.162 of the Texas Education Code. (Appendix A).
The law however is a voluntary law; schools are not required to have a uniform policy. A Dallas attorney Domingo Garcia has filed proposed legislation that would make it mandatory to wear uniforms in Grades k-12 in Texas (Ramos 1997).
The first fundamental issue that school board officials and lawmakers should look at before they make new policies and laws concerning school uniforms is, will these new laws and policies have a positive impact on students’ overall performance. This would not be limited to academic performances only but should also include other socially learned behavior that will enhance the student’s ability to conform to the social norms needed to be successful in today’s society.
People for uniforms say that academic performance has been and will increase by having the students wear them (Caruso 1996). A lessened degree of attention and concern with fashion will enable a better condition for serious study, as well as a lesson the cultural and economic challenges of students and parents. (Cohn 1996, Paliokos 1996)
Nathan Minster, a seventh-grader at Country Day of Arlington said,? Uniforms provide a better educational atmosphere and symbolize school spirit. If all students dress alike, their attention will not focus on Johnny’s new Tommy Hilfiger outfit.? (Teeters 1996).
Any situation that does not promote the improvement of students in school should be looked at and studied to find ways to change the situation. There are no positive aspects to worrying about not having the money to buy the coolest and newest fashions. Would it not be better to strive and worry about who can get the best grade or do the best science project.
Is the reduction of crime going to help improve our students? We must agree that there is no part of our student’s lives that can be improved by the atmosphere of crime. We need to ask the question, What ought to be? When it comes to school and crime. How to deal with crime is one of the ethical questions all school administrators and lawmakers must address and act on accordingly.
The statistics say that schools having a school uniform policy have seen a decrease in crime. Long Beach Unified School District was the first large urban school district in the United States to require school uniforms. They have seen substantial decreases in crime in the past five years since they have required uniforms. One incredible reduction was that sex offenses have decreased by 93%. (Appendix B).
The cost of implementing a uniform policy must also be looked at closely. The fact that all students have different degrees of economic status requires us to address this matter. If a student can not afford uniforms would they not be able to go to school. Would it be better to have them spend all their money on uniforms so they could go to school, but because of that, they don’t have the money to participate in after school sports or social events.
Maybe they would spend the money on uniforms instead of nutritious food, which could affect their health. The current Texas law does provide ways of providing uniforms for students who can not afford to buy them. (Appendix A). The Long Beach Unified School District has privately funded over $160,000 for assistance to disadvantaged students. By doing this they have not put any financial burden on the taxpayers.
The cost can be high, as it has been for the San Antonio School district, which has spent about $500,000 to outfit 90% of their students (Radcliffe 1999). Unlike Long Beach School District, San Antonio?s uniform policy has cost the taxpayers a lot of money. They ought to look at ways of reducing the cost to taxpayers, possible private funding from companies that participate in philanthropic programs.
What are the ethical concerns for schools considering school uniforms? The nation has implemented school uniforms in about 25 percent of the public elementary, middle, and junior high schools according to (California School News March 31, 1997). The general improvements of the students who attend schools that require them to wear uniforms have shown improvement. I can conclude from the improvements that we ought to have 100 percent of public schools starting uniform policies.
I don’t believe that waiting for years of research and study on this issue will change the outcome. Students are moving through school fast and to wait for years to go by before making this a policy can only lesson the improvement chances of the students who are currently in school. The motivation of this issue is not to infringe on student’s rights or burden parents with an extra cost but to simply improve the students.
Do students have rights as part of the American populous? If so, What are there rights? Do they even have the right to choose to go or not to go to school, or is this, the rights of the parents and society? Our society is now more than ever concerned with our rights and feelings. Is a first grader’s mind able to use these rights for there best interest or is it up to the adult population?
Parents are the ones who should teach and mentor the students in the spirit of the rights and how to use them for good judgment and common sense. Does the Bible say, “For I, too, was once a son, tenderly loved by my mother as an only child, and the companion of my father? He told me never to forget his words. “If you follow them,” he said, “you will have a long and happy life. Learn to be wise,” he said, “and develop good judgment and common sense! I cannot overemphasize this point.” (Proverbs 3: 3-5). Is it more important for us to make a place where the student can improve in the general sense compared to the First Amendment claims that the students don’t have the right to free expression?
?Any dress restriction that infringes on a student?s First Amendment right must be justified by a showing that the student?s attire materially disrupts school operation, infringes on the rights of others at the school, or otherwise interferes with any basic educational mission of the school? (Grantham 1994).
The legal aspect of requiring students to wear uniforms is a small matter if the majority of the parents back the policy. However, some will fight with every penny they have so that their kids will not have to wear uniforms. The biggest legal issue is the First Amendments, the right to free expression, and the Fourteenth Amendment. They use this to say that the school has violated the student?s liberty to control his or her personal appearance ( Paliokos 1996).
Stakeholders are involved in every part of this issue. Every person is a stakeholder. It will affect, children, adults, and the elderly in one way or another, some more than others will. The children will be affected because they will have to wear uniforms.
Primary social stakeholders would be the students, parents, school employees and administrators, taxpayers, people opposed to, and people for school uniforms. I don’t have children but I am a stakeholder because if the uniform policy is voted on and passed the chances are my local school tax will increase to help pay for the new uniforms.
Paying for the uniforms might not seem fair to someone in my position but if I look at the long term benefits of having our public schools improve the students I believe that the chances of a better society in my golden years is more likely to happen compared with the alternative of not improving the students.
The improvement of student’s basic education holds very high stakes for all stakeholders. If a student receives a better education he/she will have a better chance and be better equipped to be part of our adult society in which they will have to abide by our standard. The responsibility of the schools and lawmakers is to improve students. They are also responsible to do this within a budget.
This does mean there will be some compromises and restrictions on what and how they accomplish this task of improving the students. They must also stay within the legal aspects of our laws, which has been brought about by society from the past. If the laws are no longer valid they need to be changed for the current situations faced today by schools trying to improve students.
Let’s look at the stakeholders and what stakes they face. See stakeholder map Appendix C. Students, parents, teachers, school administrators, and the general society are the stakeholders we will look at although there are many more secondary stakeholders involved with this issue. What challenges, threats, or opportunities do these stakeholders pose? What economic, legal, ethical, and philanthropic responsibilities do they have?
We will start by looking at the students. The challenge they have has been a negative and stressful one, What to wear today? is a question that will no longer have to be asked each morning before school. The desire to have the coolest and newest fashions is no longer a challenge for the students who attend schools with uniform policies.
The challenge to not be teased or laughed at is no longer there. Jacqueline Rios, a student at Glencrest Middle School said, “The good thing about uniforms is that everybody wears the same color. And having uniforms is a lot better because people cannot talk about and laugh at your clothes.” (Teeter 1997). We do however have the threat that some of the opposing students will not comply which could cause discipline problems or even cause them to drop out of school.
The opportunities for the students are all positive ones. Simply put they will have more opportunities to better themselves with academic issues because the priority of fashion standards is gone as Assistant Director of elementary school operations, Frankie Batts, said? Instead of worrying about their clothes or what everyone else is wearing, kids focus on math and reading,? (Richardson 1995).
Parents will also enjoy the decreasing challenge of keeping their kids in the newest fashions. The money issue will improve for them,? Three outfits can run about $130,? said Jan Underwood, owner of the U.T.W. Uniforms store in Fort Worth (Teeters 1997). Parents have had to struggle with deciding if what their kids are warring is proper. You might even ask, is it ethical to let my dautauter go to school in an almost see-through and skintight outfit? The students being at a school with a uniform policy would now solve this problem.
A possible threat from the parents would be from those who feel and believe that kids should be able to do and ware what they want and to force them to wear a uniform is a violation of their kid’s rights as well as the law. They do however seem to be the minority, most parents seem to support uniforms. The Longview Independent School district says they would support the decision for school uniforms if 75 to 80 percent of the parents were for it (Bell 2000).
Teachers will have the challenge of enforcing the new uniform policies but it will be much easier than enforcing the current dress code. At most, schools the guidelines of a dress code can be subjective in determining if they meet the requirements.
Let’s say if the school dress policy said that girls must wear skirts that go down to there knees and a student is seen warring one that does meet that requirement but it is see-through and she is not wearing underpants. This could cause a problem because the requirement is subjective. If the uniform policy was in effect this would not be because the see-through skirt would either be part of the uniform and accepted or not, it would now be an objective decision for the teacher to make, either it is a violation or not.
One of the great opportunities that would give the teachers is by having all the students? dress alike they would be able to identify students who belong to the school and trespassers who don’t. This is a great safety issue today’s times where it is important to regulate who comes on campuses. How about on a school field trip would it not be easier to identify your students in a crowd if you did not have to remember what everyone was warring. Say they were kidnapped would it not be easier to describe them to the police.
School administrators have all the issues to deal with. They are the ones who are challenged to improve the students. They have the challenge to implement school policies like uniforms in an effort to improve students. Their decisions go from the smallest detail, what colors, what style, what material, all of which can have either positive or negative effects on other stakeholders.
They must accomplish this and be able to stay within the legal, economic, and ethical parameters that currently guide their decisions. What a privilege they have with this opportunity to improve students who will in turn improve society and possibly the entire world. Though this is a great opportunity, it is also a great responsibility to have.
General society has a stake that is both short term and long term. In the short term, they will have to support the decisions of the uniform policies that are imposed upon the students and parents. Some of the long-term stakes would be requiring paying for some of the uniforms for students who can not afford them.
For the few who oppose the uniforms, they will not have to compromise theirs believes so that their kids can get an education. The Texas 1995 law allows some exceptions to the rules with a written request that states a bona fide religious or philosophical objection to the requirement. (Appendix A)
Some recommendations that should be looked at by schools before starting a uniform policy could help reduce the problems that occur from putting new policies into effect. They need to be able to justify the actions by demonstrating the link between a kind of dress and disruptive behavior or between a dress and improvements of the students.
They should consult with the school’s legal advisors to possible legal problems. Determine ways of enforcing the policy as well as what punishment would occur. Finding out what the parents and students think and involving them before the final starting date. They might try to find out what the student’s favorite color or type of material they want to use. They might even look at having some variety that may be two different colors.
This way the students will feel included in the decisions and might not fight the policy, making the discipline problem smaller because they would be less likely to rebel. A financial study should be conducted prior to the policy to determine how much burden is going to be imposed on the school itself, how many students would require financial assistance with the cost of the uniforms. By keeping the primary stakeholders involved with the decisions prior to making the policy, schools have a better chance of success from the uniform policy.
Throughout the history of dress codes in school, many districts have toyed with the issue of whether school uniforms would create a more unified educational environment or perhaps only cause chaos and complaint. As a graduating senior, I do not believe school uniforms will have any effect on the unity or safety of our school, they would only cause problems. I feel that there are several alternatives to achieving the so-called benefits of wearing school uniforms without wearing them at all.
It is understandable that in school districts without uniforms, it is the duty of school authorities to enforce a dress code within schools. Courts have generally upheld the attempts of school authorities to regulate the dress of public school students and rule that dress codes have been continually enforced because they are viewed as necessary to promote discipline, maintain order, and secure the safety of the students (Ritter 24).
Therefore, it is reasonable to accept rules designed to maintain modesty by regulating dress length or banning revealing styles due to the fact that it is essential to the orderly functioning of the school.
However, it is a completely different issue when schools begin their arguments in favor of requiring students to wear uniforms in order to discourage rivalries and promote concentration on academic studies. As a student, I speak for others in saying that wearing a uniform will not make one a better student or not have rivalries. Issues such as these are left up to the student himself and will not change his educational drive or academic needs.
There are many different reasons presented in the argument for school uniforms. One such reason is that it is an answer to solving the problem of school violence and theft. Four years ago in Long Beach, California, the public schools drew attention as the first in the nation to require students to wear uniforms (?Personal Appearance? 180).
In President Clinton?s speech in 1996, he urged uniforms as a way to keep teenagers ? from killing each other over designer jackets?. Long Beach schools report a 91% drop in an assault, thefts, vandalism and weapon and drug violations since 1991. A Long Beach juvenile officer, Sgt. Joe Battle said, “Uniforms take away the number one reason kids treat each other differently; how they look? (Arnest 65) However, it should not be assumed that just because uniforms require certain colors, children would abandon all interest in designer labels.
These designer labels purchased to fit the uniform code create the distinction between groups and become the basis of cliques that persist throughout high school. Also, the very issue referred to in President Clinton?s quote about designer jackets would be impossible to prevent unless schools require jackets to be purchased only from specific school uniform outlets, which would be costly, ridiculous, and unenforceable.
Some people also believe that having school uniforms would prevent gang members from wearing gang colors at school. However, if the uniforms were enforced, for this reason, it is inevitable that teachers would still be involved in constant battles to ban certain d?cor that is seen as gang-affiliated. Upon such an occurrence, a student accused of wearing something gang-affiliated would not admit to it and nothing could be done about the situation anyway (Arnest 68).
Therefore, regardless of whether or not students are banned from wearing their gang-affiliated d?cor, their gangs would still exist, recognizable or not, and uniforms will do nothing to solve the problem of gang violence.
Another “advantage” of enforcing school uniforms is that it instills discipline within the student body. Discipline procedures designed to uphold teachers? authority is likely to disrupt the teacher-student relationship and create hostility toward authority figures (?Personal Appearance? 181). If this “discipline” being referred to is the discipline created from the fear of authority rules and figures, but understand that rules are created to give everyone equal rights and ensure the safety and well-being of society. A better way to instill this discipline is to teach students right from wrong, the purpose of rules, and the consequences if they choose to break those rules.
It is an arguable issue in the belief that school uniforms help students concentrate on their school work. This issue is that students will be able to focus on learning if they don’t have to worry about what they are wearing or what others are wearing (Ritter 25). As a teenager, I feel that there are so many daily occurrences in our lives, ranging from work, to friends, to relationships, to peer pressure, to college, that clothing is the least of our concerns.
I also feel that if students are put in uniforms in high school and then enter the real world in a work environment without uniforms, their employers are not going to accept the idea that their work cannot be done because they are distracted by other employees? clothing. Without uniforms, students have the ability to develop this skill of overcoming distractions to get their work done and also practice a skill of decision making that they will have to face every day for the rest of their lives.
?School uniforms help school officials recognize intruders who come into the building.? Obviously the author of this quote has never been in Monroe-Woodbury High School. Having a reception desk in the main entrance with a visitor sign-in sheet, an on-patrol police officer roaming the halls, hall monitors at every corner of the building, and the heavily enforced rule of always carrying a student i.d card everywhere you are, it is hardly possible at all for an intruder to enter the building and thus school uniforms would not be needed for such a purpose.
Some people in society feel that enforcement of school uniforms will decrease bullying. Yet, whether a person is dressed the same as another or not, the roots of bullying go further than the outside appearance. In fact, wearing school uniforms may only create a future problem for those who are so used to the uniforms as the norm, they may become less tolerant of diversity, resulting in more bullying thereafter (Wilkins 20).
It is difficult to understand how some authority figures can argue that wearing uniforms will increase self-esteem. To me, this is incomprehensible in that it is important for teenagers to be unique and individualistic to prepare them for life in the real world and the idea of uniforms would only restrict them from doing so in a time when personal identity is important.
Also, if the youth of today is restricted from being given the opportunity to show their own form of self-expression in the way they dress, then it is probable that they will choose to express their individuality in other ways such as tattoos and piercings.
In addition to these concerns, there are other issues that need to be considered. One issue concerns the fact that if public schools decide to have uniforms, then the girls will be forced to wear skirts which would be a regression to traditions of six decades ago and will result in the forced diminution of female students (Ritter 27). Another concern is that the policy of school uniforms infringe upon all students? First Amendment rights to freedom of expression.
Another concern is that every child has the right to a free, public-school education, and that right cannot be conditioned upon revising with a uniform policy. That precedent was set in 1969 in the Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District case, in which the Tinker children sued after being sent home for wearing black armbands in the protest of the Vietnam War.
The U.S Supreme Court sided with the children in ruling that, ?It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate? (Arnest 182). Unless they are expressing themselves in an unthreatening way that does not disrupt the school environment, then students have the legal right to choose how to dress.
In a private school district such as Sacred Heart in Monroe, the idea of school uniforms is sufficient due to the fact that it is a private sector in which students are unified under the belief and education of God. However, in a public school such as Monroe-Woodbury, the diversity of the beliefs of the student body and the fact that it is not unified under less than one religion clarifies the reasoning of the fact that there are no school uniforms.
In conclusion, it is apparent that mandated uniforms are clearly a minuscule solution to a much larger problem that has its roots in a wider society and the environments in which young people are growing up. Uniforms are nothing but a cheap educational reform that will do nothing in the long run to change the lives of students.
Uniforms have existed since the beginning of time. Recently, uniforms have become a pressing issue among public school officials. The requirement of wearing school uniforms in public schools is unconstitutional. Uniforms will not help stop violence in schools, or create a better learning environment.
There is a constitutional right that protects freedom of expression, there are many uniform policy complications, and uniforms would be covering up bigger problems in our society. There are many other ways to fix what is wrong in a more constitutional way.
Supporters of uniforms feel uniforms will do a lot of good for public schools. Students in uniforms will be less violent, provide a better learning environment with fewer distractions, and more safety overall in the schools. With uniforms, kids will not compete with each other for clothes. Also, uniforms will eliminate kids wearing gang colors, purposely, or innocently.
Some administrators with school uniforms already in effect report a small decrease in tardiness, number of classes cut, and suspensions. With all students wearing uniforms, it is easier to tell if someone in school doesn’t belong there. Supporters want opt-out forms eliminated someday, too. Uniforms will greatly help the effectiveness of school learning environments and safety.
Although some people feel that uniforms will cut violence and produce a better learning environment, it will not work. First, the violence from gangs and drug dealers cannot be stopped this way. If a drug dealer is made to wear a uniform, will he really stop dealing and/or doing drugs? The answer is no! writes an editor for the magazine Indy s Child. One elementary school s optional school uniform even supported a local gang s colors.
We do have a couple of gangs in the neighborhood, says Samuel Greenstein, the principal, and there have been incidents where kids…wearing school uniforms have innocently been wearing an opposing gang s colors while passing through another gang s territory, and have been harassed. A better learning environment can be produced will smaller class sizes and more teachers patrolling the halls. This way, it will be harder for fights to occur, and for intruders to come into the school. These are some real ways to solve the problem, not with uniforms.
Another issue against school uniforms is that students have the right to freedom of expression. Under the protection of the Bill of Rights, people can wear whatever they want to. In the case Hines vs. Caston, a young boy wore an earring to school and the principal made him remove it. He was told not to wear it to school. The boy and his parents refused to remove the earring, and the Caston School Corporation took the Hineses to court.
A settlement was reached deciding that the boy would no longer wear the earring. This should not have been the result. The earring was not disturbing anyone. Like in the Tinker vs. Des Moines Independent Community case, the armband disagreement was not a disturbance, and it was constitutionally protected. The earring falls under the same category.
Requiring uniforms creates complications. Some families cannot afford uniforms. In order to make uniforms constitutional; there must be opt-out forms. There will be a community scholarship program to pay for the cost. If the community is poor then the government will pay, but which government is unsure. Each uniform is very expensive. One school s uniform was $29 per shirt and $35 per pair of pants. As was determined by the Long Beach vs. Civil Liberties Unions case, there must be opt-out forms for uniforms. This case was settled out of court, but because of it, Long Beach cannot require uniforms. The school agreed to have opt-out forms, provide funds for low-income students, and provide adequate notice to the parents of their opt-out rights.
Finally, required uniforms are just a big Band-Aid for other problems. To obtain less violence, help should start with families and communities. Large amounts of violence in the community will mirror on school behavior. There should be discussion groups, open-mike assemblies, more law enforcement, and counselor visits to create a better neighborhood. Other ways school problems can be helped without issuing uniforms are:
- Securing school entrances
- Adding extracurricular activities
- High school student job placement
- Programs to reduce out-of-school violence
- Conflict Resolution Techniques for administrators, students and parents
This way there will be less violence.
In conclusion, the problems we are trying to solve by issuing uniforms need to be handled in a different way. Uniforms will not stop violence in schools or create a better learning environment. There is a freedom of expression in what someone wears, and there are several complications with the uniform policy. Lastly, uniforms are just covering up much bigger problems in our society. There are other ways to fix what is wrong and uniforms are not the answer and never will be.
Currently, in America, an ongoing debate continues regarding a uniform policy suggested to public and private schools. This develops into a controversial issue because valid arguments exist on both sides. Giving this issue much thought has to lead me to believe that making school uniforms mandatory would help the school systems. School uniforms would help unruly classrooms, also students would not have to buy expensive clothes and students would not get killed over tennis shoes.
Schools that have adopted uniforms have reported several advantages. Some school systems including ones in Miami, Detroit, and Los Angeles have adopted a voluntary uniform policy. Under this plan, schools do not require students to wear their uniforms, but most students cooperate. In the fall of 1994, the Long Beach Unified School District became the first in the nation to require uniforms, hoping to improve the overall conduct and scholastic records of their students.
This school system feels that dressing students the same would eliminate the pressure of fitting in, build up students’ self-esteem, and augment student moral. Parents, teachers, and students agree that wearing uniforms would decrease arguments that begin over expensive clothing and sneakers. School systems hope uniforms will help to eliminate gang violence caused by students wearing rival gang colors. Uniforms would also prevent wealthier students from picking on their less fortunate classmates because they can not afford to dress the same.
Although no evidence confirms that the uniform policy will improve academic achievement, the Long Beach Unified School District reported a 50% decline in the number of disturbances at school and bus stops in their district. Overall, the Long Beach Unified School District has set an example for other schools planning to adopt the uniform policy by showing noticeable improvements in specific areas of its educational environment.
Opponents of the uniform policy say it comes with disadvantages. Not all students want to fit in. Instead, they value their freedom and individuality. Students feel that making school uniforms mandatory takes away their right to self-expression. Opponents feel that uniforms are just a new gimmick that will have little effect on education. Also, school uniforms would prove costly for students.
On the other hand, some people argue that uniforms are cheaper than buying children’s street clothing. However, opponents still feel that uniforms should not become a requirement. Most of the schools adopting uniforms are choosing so many other reforms that they will have difficulty proving that uniforms deserve praise. Skepticism, economics, and student’s reluctance to wear uniforms will continue to further decrease the popularity of uniforms in our school system.
In conclusion, making uniforms mandatory in schools definitely has its pros and cons, which makes the issue very difficult to agree on. Uniforms might improve the overall behavior of students by lifting school spirit and decreasing altercations caused over expensive articles of clothing, but no evidence exists that links uniforms to any aspect of education.
Furthermore wearing school uniforms takes away a student’s right to self-expression and will cost parents a fortune. But as President Bill Clinton stated in his State of the Union Address, maybe schools should be allowed to require uniforms if it would mean teenagers will stop killing each other over designer jackets.
Cliques are an obvious part of every school across the nation. Whether the words, jock, preppie, skater, or goodie-goodie, are brought to mind, almost everyone thinks of their high school and how distinguished the groups were back then. Most schools probably did not have any noticeable effects from the different cliques there, but some schools show it more than others do.
Cliques are a major problem for some junior and high schools across the nation, because of all the fighting and discriminating that goes on between them. Even though we are past that stage in our lives, cliques will always be around. When RELATED TO AUD* Cliques are a common problem in junior high and senior high schools today. I am going to inform you of the problem of cliques in schools today, the solution to school uniforms, and how to implement that solution in schools.
Many schools, most commonly located in smaller, rural areas, have no problem with their students and the cliques they form. This is because there are not as many kids and they are more likely to be friends with each other. But, in the larger populated, more diverse schools, this is not always the case. Some groups of friends in school get so caught up in themselves, they think they are better than others are and that is when the fights start.
The most obvious example of this scenario was the Columbine situation. The two juniors in high school felt so much anger towards their fellow classmates, who picked on them every single day of high school, that they lashed out and shot twelve of them. Even though this situation was a terrible tragedy, it brought to the attention of school officials everywhere that cliques and discrimination were truly an important issue in schools today.
In junior high and high school, the pressures to be like everyone else are huge. Brand names and designer clothes have an immense impact on how a child is accepted in school. What style is “in” or what is “out” is a major concern for young people growing up in a public school today. These are the factors that end up influencing what cliques and groups of friends most junior high and high school kids form. These teenagers forget about getting to know people and liking them for their personalities because everyone gets so wrapped up in looks.
This is not the case in every school, but the numbers are growing for how important clothes and other material items are to adolescents in society today. This love for material things also increases the amount of stealing that goes on in schools. People taking expensive coats, shoes, and other items, from others, is a real problem. This leads to some cliques hating other cliques, which can end in with serious problems. Vandalism, physical fights, and even just evil stares, are all things that can occur when young students get truly upset at other cliques. All these things have a negative effect on the kids? learning environment as well as their emotions.
Another factor influencing these distinct groups is economic status. Children who grow up in low-income families suffer throughout their school years by being teased, laughed at, and ridiculed by their peers. These insecurities can affect the child for life. They can grow up having no friends and being told that they are no good, only because they can not afford nice clothes. This problem simply should not happen.
There are many things that could be done about this problem with cliques in schools. No one solution will work completely, but with the help of several, schools can become much safer and non-discriminative. Developing a school uniform policy could help solve this problem before it even can start.
Many public schools have begun enforcing a program in which all their students are required to wear a uniform of some sort. If children wear a uniform, they will never have a chance to pre-judge other children. When they see each other at school, they will be wearing the same clothes, so no one will be able to distinguish the other’s background or personality from simply looking at them.
Certain things still may be obvious, such as shoes, accessories, or hairstyles, but much of the discrimination will be cut out. Seventy-five percent of schools with uniform policies noted an obvious reduction in peer pressure after the uniforms were enforced (NAESP survey).
Students who wear uniforms are safer than those who wear regular clothes are. Robbing other kids, or beating them up, simply to take their expensive clothes, is no longer an issue. Also, if intruders are entering the school, they are easily spotted without a uniform on. A school in Long Beach, California, implemented a uniform policy in 1994. Three years later, their school crime rate had fallen by seventy-six percent.
For low-income families with children in schools, the uniform policy ensures them just as equal to an opportunity to be educated. These poorer kids will have higher self-confidence since they are dressed like everyone else in their class. This will possibly lead to more class participation and higher self-esteem.
Everyone in the school benefits from this uniform program. People will be judged by their character and personality, rather than what kind of clothes they wear. This gives kids a chance to get to know each other well and teaches them communication skills. Also, from the uniforms, discipline in the classroom is influenced.
The uniforms, unknowingly to the students, promote a better working environment and good behavior. The outfits take away from clothing distractions and help kids to concentrate on their work. The children take school more seriously, according to the U.S. Department of Education; they feel more business-like as if they are in “work clothes”. Fifty-two percent of schools with uniform policies noticed a positive effect on student achievement.
Even though school uniforms will not eliminate the group barriers and unsafe school, it will make a great reduction on them. Principal Ramon Leyba, from Phoenix, Arizona, states,?The main result [of new school policies] is an overall improvement in school climate and a greater focus on improved positive behavior. A big portion of that is from uniforms (Building American Schools).?
Parents are the strongest group to push for these uniform policies to be enacted in schools (Attitudes). This is the first step to implementing the solution. Someone has to take charge and organize the procedure. If not the parents, then the school board, principal, teachers, or even the students themselves need to bring the idea to someone?s attention.
The main problem with the uniform policy actually being implemented is the people who oppose it will have some things to say about their side. The first argument they will raise is about how these uniforms will violate the freedom of expression stated in the Constitution. A child’s rights are not the same inside and outside of school, to begin with. They can not wear anything they want as it is right now in public schools anyway.
Even though the child will be restricted to the clothes he or she wears to school, they will still be able to express themselves through their hair, shoes, and other accessories they choose to wear. This is where real creativity will show through, not just the ability to buy a shirt from a store, but a true style. Also, the school may choose to have a casual Friday sometimes, where the students can wear normal clothes.
This gives the kids something to look forward to. Another problem may be the religious items some students are required to wear. They may still wear these since a school is not allowed to prohibit them from being worn. The third problem with uniforms may be from low-income families. They may be worried about costs. This uniform policy, however, will be cheaper for everyone, since they have to only buy so many of the same thing. And, for the people who can not afford the price of the uniforms, special fundraisers will be set up to make the money. In addition, alumni can donate their uniforms to the kids who need them.
After all the problems are worked out, the school needs to decide what the uniform will consist of. Many people think of the old fashioned plaid skirt look when thinking about uniforms. There are many options for schools to choose from. Common ideas, which the students would like, are a khaki, navy blue, or black bottoms. These could be pants, skirts, shorts, or jumpers.
Then a white, red, or navy polo shirt to chose from also makes up the uniform. This example is preferred among students because they at least have a slight choice about what they would like to wear, while still matching everyone else.
Cliques are a common problem in junior high and senior high schools today. Now that I have explained to you the extent of the problem, the solution of developing a school uniform policy, and how to implement the uniforms into the schools, I hope you realize what needs to be done to solve this growing problem.
Every school in the world has its own regulation about the way to wear. Some schools require students to wear the uniform, while some allow them to wear casual clothes. Besides, many people think that students should wear casual clothes to feel comfortable when studying. However, in my opinion, wearing school uniforms is better for three reasons below.
The first and most important reason is to make everyone feel equal and make the class less straggler. When students are allowed to wear casual clothes, they will wear what they like, and what they buy.
Many students wear expensive clothes, while others wear cheap ones. By the wearing way, they know that who is rich, and poor. Therefore, it will make a difference between students and create discrimination, which means there is two groups that exist in a school: the wealthy and the poor. Besides, wearing many kinds of clothes can make the class look like a mess.
For example, a few students wear red clothes, some wear blue clothes, while some wear clothes that have many colors, and they all study in a class.
When teachers look at the whole class, they will feel that it is not so different from a big and colorful mess. Thus, I think schools should require students to wear uniforms to prevent this situation.
The second reason is that wearing uniforms can help everyone know they are students and their schools. This is very convenient in many aspects. For instance, if a student does a lot of good things such as helping old people, or returning the things that they have collected, people will think that the student is taught very well, and the school that the student is studying is very good at education.
Thus, the school’s reputation is spread out, which is very helpful for the school. Besides that, when students do bad things, their schools will know more easily and have suitable ways to punish them.
The third reason is that wearing school uniforms is a beautiful tradition and very meaningful to students. The uniform has existed for a thousand years and many schools still keep it to now. Wearing uniforms is a beauty of schools’ culture, so there is no reason to remove that tradition. In addition, the uniforms show the prettiness of every student.
Male students look stronger, and female students look more beautiful while wearing uniforms. Moreover, wearing them in a long time make students to feel sympathetic with them, and to love their uniforms and schools more.
In conclusion, wearing school uniforms is better than wearing what students want. It is not only convenient but also very important to the school and students. Besides that, it is also a beautiful culture of a school. Therefore, although few people do not like to wear them, students should wear them, and feel proud of them because it is the symbol of their school.
Should students have to wear uniforms? Uniforms are seen almost anywhere in the world and are worn for many different reasons that could range from going to a reunion to going to work. People usually think of suits, tuxedos, or something a grown-up would wear when “uniform” is said. Why are children expected to wear uniforms every day if grown-ups are the ones they usually see wearing them?
Many students in the lower grades might not enjoy the uniform policy, but they also do not really care about it. However, the upper grades see it as a nuisance in their daily routines and despise the idea of doing it for so long. The truth of the matter is that there are so many reasons that show the uniform policy’s greatness or its issues. Security, bullies, characterization, individualism, and much more can be brought into concern when discussing this topic.
Everyone should be able to feel secure in their school and should not have to worry about anything going wrong. If there wasn’t a uniform policy, random strangers could just walk into the school building and you would not be able to tell the difference. Students could conceal weapons in baggy or thick clothing so that no one would know what they have.
Teachers would have a much harder time trying to learn who you are when you’re the style of clothing or fashion changes every day; anyone could skip their class and just go to another where the teacher doesn’t even know anyone’s name. Bullies would be able to sneak into the same class as the student they are bullying and bully them daily with no problems.
Bad behavior is also a huge issue that can be found in hundreds of schools and it’s not a very easy issue to handle. Uniforms don’t directly conflict with behavior issues, but there have been students who would start a fight over something so ridiculous. Uniforms have deleted this whole situation by removing clothes related issues that would provoke another student.
Students who want to leave could just get in their car and drive away without anyone seeing any sign of him or her being a student. Students would also put a little more effort into what they’re learning if they are not worried about something as simple as clothes.
Students are encouraged to be creative and do something amazing every day by teachers or parents. How can students express their individuality when they are forced to wear the same thing as everyone around them? Students tend to alter their faces with jewelry to make up for this loss of freedom.
Some schools actually tell their students to take the jewelry out and not to wear it again, so students are once again at a loss for creativity. The uniform policy puts many students in a state of no control and makes them feel insignificant, but its purposes are very useful to keep a school in great shape.
The annual school uniforms sales in the U.S. averages one billion, three hundred million (Statistic Brain). That’s a great deal of money towards something that the majority of students dread. School uniforms are typically worn in private schools but are becoming required at some public schools. The average student doesn’t want to wake up in the morning and put the same thing every day. Or want to wear the same thing as their peers.
This is exactly what school uniforms encourage. In article on Listland titled, “Top 10 Reasons School Should Be Mandatory”, writer Dave Anderson gives a variety of reasons why he supports school uniforms. However, these reasons are opinions that I beg to differ. While some may argue for school uniforms they encourage conformity, restrict a student’s freedom of expression, and have no proven benefit.
School uniforms promote conformity rather than individuality. This can have a negative effect on a child figuring out their self-image. How are they going to express themselves if they’re constantly told to wear the same thing as their peers? In the op-ed written by Anderson, one of his first points states how uniforms improve professionalism and enhance an image. He goes so far as to say, “Schools should be schools and not fashion shows” (Anderson). Grade schools are full of kids, not adults.
Why to improve professionalism and enhance the image of a child? Children should be able to freely express who they are by developing their own style. We are always told to be ourselves and be unique but uniforms encourage the opposite. They motivate social conformity which results in sameness and lack of student creativity and individuality. A peer-reviewed article from Editors Commentary is about school uniforms in elementary school. The author, Randy Rockney is surprised to find out that his child’s school has a new school uniform policy.
The school informs parents that the change is so that the students maintain a sense of equality and promote safety. He is neutral about the topic throughout the article but in the end, he states, “I do believe that abrogating a child’s ability to choose and wear clothing… that expresses his or her own particular style…does stifle the development of that child’s own individuality” (Rockney).
Rockney is a parent that expresses the idea that taking away a child’s freedom to dress is indeed harming their individuality. At such a young age like elementary school, children are just discovering their likes and dislikes. They should be able to freely express themselves in how they dress instead of dressing similar to fellow classmates.
A school is a place for education but it is also where we are able to first express ourselves. This is where many of us become more social and find friends we can relate to. Taking away our freedom to wear what we please makes the idea of going to school more unpleasant as it is. I remember being so happy in high school when a new school year came around and I was able to go “school shopping.” Just the idea of being able to pick out any clothes I wanted and wear them to school made me smile big.
Simple things like picking out my own clothes helped me find out my likes and dislikes. This is something children that wear school uniforms don’t get to experience and that is outrageous. In an article on Wareham Week, written by Liam McKenna, he writes of students that voice their opinions over school uniforms. The main point of the article states that the primary reason for students being against school uniforms is the lack of individuality and freedom of expression.
One student named Malange DePina stated, “We should be able to wear what we want. I like wearing sweatpants when I’m feeling tired. I like to dress pretty when I’m feeling pretty. I shouldn’t have to wear what someone tells me to wear. I feel like we’re not a private school” (DePina). This is a very realistic statement that most public school students can relate to. No one likes being told how they should and shouldn’t dress. We are human and have different moods that influence what we decide to wear. Being told to wear the same thing is very draining and dull. Students should constantly be able to express themselves based on their preferences instead of having a required uniform.
Most of Anderson’s arguments towards wearing school uniforms have no proven benefit. If students are going to be required to wear uniforms there should be a positive benefit behind it. He argues that school uniforms are cost-effective and can stop bullying. These are not valid facts. It was recorded from Statistic Brain that the annual cost on school uniforms is $1,300,000,000. Buying school uniforms is indeed just as expensive as spending money on regular clothes.
If I were in a parent’s shoes, I would rather spend money on clothes that my child will actually like and wear. In contrast to spending money on clothes that my child doesn’t like and will only wear to school. Either way spending money on clothes for children is going to cost money, so at least make the money spent worth it.
He also argues that school uniforms help stops bullying but this is not proven either. He writes, “Uniforms play a vital role in reducing peer pressure and raise the level of acceptability. Students in uniforms feel united and connected” (Anderson).
The conformity of school uniforms is not a benefit and has no true effect on stopping bullying. Sadly, bullying can happen regardless of what a student has on. Bullying is just a flaw in our society that will happen whether or not a student is wearing a uniform. Promoting sameness isn’t helping our society, it is harming it.
Even though I disagree with the benefits of school uniforms I agree that there should be a dress code that students are required to follow. The freedom for students to dress how they want should also come with guidelines to ensure that students are dressing appropriately and not taking advantage of dressing freely. Anderson explains the importance of enforcing a dress code policy when as he writes, “Good portion of valuable time can be saved if we have a strict dress code policy at school.
People in charge would not have to worry about checking each and every student of what he or she is wearing and whether it is acceptable at school or not. A tremendous amount of time can be utilized more productively” (Anderson). He argues that not having a dress code will result in unnecessary time spent on making sure the students are dressed appropriately.
However, time will be saved with a dress code policy implemented because school management won’t constantly be checking that a student is in the dress code. I agree that there should be limits placed on what students wear to school because it is still school.
Education always comes first so dressing freely to school is considered a privilege. Students should be given a dress code to follow because a lack of one will interfere with their school time if they aren’t properly dressed. On Niche, there is an article titled, “Dress Codes Growing in Style at U.S. Schools.” This article goes over the common rules of most dress codes in school and the benefits of having one.
Common rules in most dress codes often include the “fingertip rule” in which shorts and skirts must extend fingertip length. Also, student’s shirts must also fully cover their stomach so that they are not showing excessive skin. One of the most important rules I read was about prohibiting shirts with profanity like violence and sexual content. This is very essential because all schools promote safety and a student should not be wearing any type of clothing that makes others feel uncomfortable.
The benefits of a dress code include promoting a sense of security and less of a distraction so students can focus on what they’re learning. As long as grade school students can follow a few simple rules regarding dress code, it will mutually benefit both the school and students. The students will be able to dress in accordance with the rules and the school will remain a safe place with proper rules set in place.
With the world around us constantly changing so much, it’s finally time for us to give up school uniforms in public school. There are many more important things to focus on than ensuring that students wear uniforms. School uniforms promote conformity and take away a student’s freedom of expression. There is also no proven benefit of requiring students to wear uniforms.
As long as students are given a proper dress code to follow, there is no need for a required uniform. Instead of parents buying unwanted uniforms, they should invest in clothes that will make their kids happy. The goal of all public schools is to provide a safe environment that makes all students feel welcome. Allowing them the freedom of expression is the first step in this.
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