Should schools require uniforms? – Con

Grace Carey, style editor

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In an era where youth are open to fashion risks, accepting differences, and expressing their uniqueness, mandatory school uniforms prohibits students from truly being themselves. While some argue that it is easier for students to get dressed in the morning and fit in, the freedom to express themselves and learn how to truly stand out, is lost.

It is understandable that not all students want to wake up earlier every morning to pick out the perfect outfit, and school uniforms do have some great advantages. They could be used to enhance school pride, keep students focused on education, and create a level playing field.

They may also help reduce peer pressure about who has the best looking outfits all the time as well as help diminish economic and social barriers.

On the flip side, they limit a student’s ability to express themselves. Many students really enjoy waking up and putting together the perfect outfit. Uniforms also do not help keep kids focused on education in the classroom, the teachers do. Not to mention the fact that, in the real world, there will not always be uniforms. Therefore, students should be learning from a young age, that no matter what someone else chooses to wear, it should not put a limit on their focus or learning ability.

Some people say that wearing a uniform could increase a sense of belonging within a school, and even may decrease rates of bullying. However, Tony Volk, PhD, Associate Professor at Brock University, conducted a peer review study that not only showed uniforms do not deter bullying or violence, but they may increase it. In fact, their study concluded  that, along with school uniforms, violence in school increased by 14 percent. According to the Miami-Dade County Public Schools Office of Education and Evaluation Management, fights in middle school nearly doubled during one year with mandatory uniforms.

As far as school pride goes, there is plenty of that to go around without wearing uniforms. Student Council routinely puts together pep rallies and, if one really wanted to show school spirit through clothing, they could buy school-themed apparel.

Forcing school children to wear uniforms is promoting conformity over individuality. If inappropriate expression is what administrators are concerned about, uniforms do not keep kids from expressing themselves in other ways. It is also difficult to create consistent rules about school uniforms.

Typically, a uniform consists of a collared shirt with khakis or shorts for a male, and a collared shirt with a skirt or pants for a female. It is arguably very bland, and while it is easy to accessorize in order to make it more appealing to a type of fashion sense, there are still guidelines in which students must follow. Schools requiring uniforms may also restrict people from dyeing their hair a certain color or, for guys, keeping it a certain length.

This prohibition of self expression does not help adolescents discover who they are or what they want to become. Uniforms should not be required, because choosing what to wear every day helps kids figure out who they are and prepares them for dressing in a real world environment.