Students, parents and schools have always had arguments over regulating student attire. Researchers have also debated the impact dress policies have on student’s learning. In 2004, a book was published stating that uniforms don’t improve school safety or discipline. However, a study in 2005 concluded that high school uniforms enhanced graduation and attendance rates but didn’t improve academic performance. Are there really benefits to having a school uniform? Let’s look at two sides of the argument.
List of Pros of School Uniforms
1. It is much more convenient.
Fashion has penetrated even the young these days. While some young students are perfectly fine with non-trendy clothes, some do really want to make a fashion statement. Requiring a school uniform helps students resist peer pressure to have their parents buy trendy clothes.
2. It promotes positive behavior.
Supporters of school uniforms, especially some educators and experts, believe that wearing a uniform can contribute positively to the behavior of students. They believe that uniforms create a sense of belonging. Plus, they believe it lessens the focus on fashion and diverts attention to learning.
3. It is a lot more economical.
Times are hard and purchasing new clothes every time school starts can be a burden for parents. Uniforms ease the laundry load too with parents having little to wash for the week.
List of Cons of School Uniforms
1. It violates freedom of expression.
More than ever, students are taking part in making a statement. Wearing a uniform and having dress code policies hinder them from expressing themselves. A lot have argued that students lose their self-identity when they are not allowed to express themselves freely through their fashion.
2. It forces students to wear clothes they don’t like.
Some girls’ uniforms come in either dress or skirts and wearing these items of clothing can be uncomfortable for those who never wear them on a daily basis. This leads students to be always conscious about what they are wearing and can affect their focus on learning.
Sometimes, the fabric or the design of the school clothing itself makes students feel uncomfortable. For example, the fabric may be itchy while others have buttons or zippers that feel too restrictive.
3. It costs a lot initially.
While avoiding the purchase of new clothes each year definitely helps with the budget, it can be costly to purchase several uniforms at once. Parents also need to buy other uniforms as well (for instance, uniforms for PE). Plus, implementing uniforms can be an unfair additional expense for parents whose children go to public schools. That and it’s difficult to implement a uniform in public schools.
The debate on whether school uniforms are a benefit or a disadvantage will likely keep going on. Some will argue that expressing yourself is still possible while wearing a uniform and others will retort that allowing students to freely express themselves may lead to openly expressing hateful sentiments. While school uniforms do have their set of benefits, its implementation for all will continue to be debated.
Crystal Lombardo is a contributing editor for Vision Launch. Crystal is a seasoned writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience. She has been an editor of three popular blogs that each have had over 500,000 monthly readers.