There’s always been controversy over school uniforms
While currently, it’s only in catholic schools in Canada that have to wear uniforms; it’s an ongoing heated debate. Should all schools have students wear uniforms?
Most jobs these days have some sort of uniform you have to wear. If you work in the services industry, from fast food restaurants to hotel chains- more than likely they have given you a uniform that you have to wear at work. Even some factories and delivery companies make you wear some sort of uniform, like a shirt with the company logo on it. So we as adults wear uniforms without even a second thought, as it’s our job and well were getting paid to wear these uniforms. But for our children, unless they go to a private school or one that does have these, we send them wearing the ones they already own.
I grew up going to school in my own clothes. But I do admit that I would see the other kids going to school in their freshly ironed shirts and matching jackets and feel somewhat envious that they didn’t have to wake up and pick out clothes everyday. It would have made my life more simple.
As a parent, I have often wondered if my son went to school in a uniform, would my life be easier? Would I have less laundry? After all, he’d be wearing the same uniform 5 days a week during the school year. Would it save me money on buying clothes? I have a son so you can imagine the rips he gets in his jeans and how dirty he gets on a day to day basis when he comes home from school. Are school uniform’s more cost effective? So I thought I’d do the pro’s and cons of school uniforms.
- Uniformed schools have a direct effect on the students’ sense of belonging and school identity. This creates a positive social environment as every student is “on the same team”.
- There is a feeling of unity when wearing a uniform and that your friends are wearing the same outfit. Example of this is how athletic clubs bond as a team while wearing the sport’s uniform.
- It is a display that there is a collective consciousness and that team members work collectively towards a common goal or purpose. Also school expectations are easier to enforce when students are in uniform as it is a physical display of readiness for learning by being properly dressed.
- Outside distractions of fashion and inappropriate dress is excluded from the environment as every student in uniform displays their academic intentions of the day and leaves the consumer driven world on the outside for the duration of the school day.
- School uniforms are economical as they eliminate the need for parents to buy their children clothes for school that keep up with the ever changing trends. Not only are school uniforms classic and can be worn for as long as they last, they also give parents a way out of not having to buy their children certain apparel to show that they “fit in”.
- School uniforms create equality as they remove competition between students of higher and lower socioeconomic groups. My son is only 4 but I can imagine when he hits his teenage years, he’ll want whatever is in style, this would eliminate some of the arguments I may have with him in the future.
- Now I know some parents are probably thinking “But what about the parents that can’t afford the school uniform’s?” There is no school board on this planet that will deny any student access to a school based on the family not being able to afford a uniform for the child. Every school board has uniform assistance for those families in need. This assistance is easily accessible through the schools vice-principal and/or guidance counsellor and covers the full cost of the school uniform. Similarly when uniforms get very worn and a family cannot afford to replace the item, uniform assistance program is there to help out with a new item at no cost to the family.
- School uniforms keep school communities safe. It is an automatic way to identify who is part of the school community and who is not. Intruders are immediately identified. Out of all the arguments for school uniforms I believe this is the greatest one since its motive is to keep our children safe. School uniforms are also a great safety feature on class trips; students from a particular school are quickly recognized. This helps the teachers not only count students quickly it also helps students stay together as a group and identify as one.
So there’s the pro’s but what about cons?
- Cost of paying for school uniform’s and regular clothes. School uniforms are costly and therefore contradict the reasoning that school uniforms even the playing field for families in low socioeconomic brackets. In fact it is of determent to the exact people they are trying to support. Parents must buy their children regular clothes regardless of whether the school their children attend is uniformed or not. The uniform is then an added expense and therefore not a way to help financially struggling families but actually adding burden. In the situation that a family has several children attending the same uniformed school it creates a very large cost for the family at the beginning of every school year. Uniformed schools could represent a massive obstacle to new comer families whose financial means may be very limited due to their recent immigration.
- School uniforms do not evade cliques from forming, nor do they create a homogeneous community. Uniforms therefore lack effectiveness and do not live up to the promise that they create a positive social environment. Furthermore there is no proven correlation between uniforms and achievement or uniforms and behavior. The argument that uniforms contribute to students performing better academically and behaving properly simply are not true. Moreover school uniforms can serve to stigmatize a school especially in urban areas. This can happen when students from a “bad” school are easily identified by the uniform they wear and then are marked within the community. This can lead to ghettoized schools and neighborhoods and cause an awful divide, exactly what the uniform was trying to prevent. If “imagination is more important than knowledge” as Einstein said then school uniform policies undermine the importance of self-expression and attack the very foundation of what we should be teaching our children, to think critically and grow to become their own people.
What we wear and how we dress are true reflections of who we are and how we feel about ourselves. Our wardrobe is an expression of our personalities, on certain days it can reflect our moods, on other days our ethnicity and at times our attitudes. To not be able to express one’s self through clothing is like not allowing an athlete to run or a singer to sing. Enforcing a uniform at school is also not reflective of the real world. It does not teach individuality and how to celebrate our differences but in turn shuns them and teaches conformity. Schools should be a place of exploration, support and growth and imposing a mandatory dress code does not do this, but quite the opposite.
The debate of whether schools should enforce a dress code policy and assume a school uniform for the students is contentious and the reasons for and against are equally strong. People’s opinions will lie depending on what their priorities are. A parent that highly values safety will likely side with yes to uniforms. Other parents who view self-expression most important will want an environment for their children that is not conformed by a uniform. As with many issues in life our opinion will lay with our values.
I myself, am torn.
While I think uniforms would possibly help our school’s with there dress code problem, I believe our children should be able to dress as they like. I want my son to grow up and be able to make his own decisions, even if it is his clothing. While I try to teach my son how our clothes are made and how to shop ethically and sustainable instead of buying fast fashion, I still in the end believe he has a choice on what he wears and buy’s, after all I’m not gonna be dressing him and buying his clothes forever. I want him to make his own choices, regardless of what I say.
So what do you think? Do you think school’s should have uniform’s?
About the Author
Sarah Stocks is a Community Service Worker collage graduate that enjoys helping other's as much as she can and spending as much time with her son as she can. Making the world a better place for her son to grow up in, is what she hopes to achieve, even if it's only a little bit at a time.
No they are not bad at all :)
Well i had school unifrom when I lived in India, well think about it what does uni means it means unity, wearing unifroms shows that students are equal and are united.There r bullying based on clothes.I think that it depends on school, I agree that schools should not have a jacket or a coat or full sleeves there should be different for summer and winter.I have seen my friend and Honestly i have also been bullied by some cool guys who always wear clothes from branded companies, and etc.I have seen this and many people may have seen this too.Well put youself in others shoe.I have a debate on this topic only so I gave a idea for this topic and nobody wanted to be in my group because they dont like unifroms and I did my debate by myself there was no one in my team.
Pls stop bullying guys who you feel that r uncool.
Well think about it for a minute or so......
Of course they are!
Some students don't like the fact that they have to spend 140-500 dollars to buy uniforms and then actually wearing them. 50% of bullying comes just from uniforms. And they take the creativity away from the students too, taking that away would bore them to death wishing that school never came the next day.
Very cool idea
Easier, cheaper and equal and School Uniforms ensure no one stands out for their clothes
School is a place for people to learn to be better. To learn subjects, and to interact with others. Unfortunately, many students use clothes for attention, making their school experience less useful and relevant. Girls dress sexy to get attention, some kids may dress like freaks, others like punks, and others still, in expensive clothes that others admire, thus gaining admiration without having worked for it. There should be school uniforms at all schools
Uniforms aren't bad they passify bullying
No one can say that you look better then someone. It makes no sense it unifys schools evry day some could be getting bullied for their clothing and its not fair to that person. Uniforms are benefitial towards schools and then some. There fore you need no dress code. This way you have the same respected level
School Uniforms ensure no one stands out for their clothes
School is a place for people to learn to be better. To learn subjects, and to interact with others. Unfortunately, many students use clothes for attention, making their school experience less useful and relevant. Girls dress sexy to get attention, some kids may dress like freaks, others like punks, and others still, in expensive clothes that others admire, thus gaining admiration without having worked for it. There should be school uniforms at all schools.
Easier, cheaper and equal
I am 16 and from England, so here we do have school uniforms. I think its a good thing because we do have days when we are allowed to wear what we want but let me tell you, they may as well call it 'judgement day'. Because all it does is make everyone feel as if they are in a competition for who is wearing the best clothes. Everyone feels judged and not all kids can afford the latest/coolest stuff to wear, which probably just gives them the chance to feel very uncool or like everybody is laughing at them.
Also, there would be help for kids who cant afford a uniform, although its much cheaper to buy a uniform than a regular outfit!
There isn't a problem with the whole 'what about kids who don't want to wear it' because no school in England has to wear something absolutely terrible because the majority us black trousers/skirt, a shirt and a jumper/blazer, plus everyone is wearing it so who cares!
Even though it can be annoying, im glad we have a school uniform, just makes school a lot easier, couldn't be dealing with deciding what to wear every day :)
No more uniforms!
I think school uniforms are unfair because they dont let you express creativity at all. I think they should be banned from America because America is supposed to be a free country. The color of uniforms are really bland and boring and I really think kids should be able to express what they wear!
No, uniforms should not be disregarded completely.
It really depends on the location of the school and its history. In some schools in a bad neighborhoods, gangs are a danger as well as bullying. With uniforms, students and teachers alike do not have to worry about being different as well as promoting gang activity. If a school is in a neighborhood with imminent gang violence and colors, uniforms can help protect and stop the promotion of it. On the other hand, if the neighborhood is good and there is not a lot of bad history of bullying, then students should be free to express themselves however they can. Being a middle schooler myself, in school that does not have any uniforms sways my opinion a little, but it really should be dependent on previous activity in the neighborhood and school
A way for students to express themselves.
There is a serious problem when we decide that conformity comes before individuality. If I love to listen to The Black Keys, I should be able to express that by wearing a Black Keys T-shirt. Where happens to a child's sense of personal identity and uniqueness when he/she looks the same as their classmates?
Stupid uniforms in Australian schools
Kids in Australia have always wanted a chance to be unique and be able to express their opinions. Not to mention the cost of them. When it is hot outside we are to wear a blazer even if it is hot. It never lets children express their opinions. What if there was a natural disaster and parent can't identify the child