School Uniforms Essay

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Topic: School Uniforms, Friend or Foe?

Many will argue that school uniforms are a way to create equality in our school systems. But do they? School uniforms could cause just as must harm to a student and their family as they do good. Uniforms are usually simple and standardized. Student bodies become one and there is less diversity and individualism.

School uniforms are just that, a set standard mandated by the school on how a student should look while attending school; a standard that the school chooses, not the student. Many students use their clothing as a way to express themselves and their emotions. Setting a standard for students to wear a predetermined outfit can not only inhibit those students individuality, but can damage self-expression and self-esteem. According to Betty Mikesell-Bailey, the school improvement resource teacher at Stephen Decatur Middle school, stated that “Children at this age are always going to find something wrong with someone”(Viadero❡22). Mrs. Mikesell-Bailey also stated later in the article that a group of young boys were wearing the same uniform and a group of them made fun of another one of his classmates because of the shoes he was wearing. No matter how hard school officials try, students will always find a way to separate themselves from one another. School uniforms can not eliminate all of the bullying and harassment that children do to one another. According to David L. Brunsma, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Missouri-columbia, said that “Uniforms…do not balance the social-status differences that often separate students”(❡7). These mandated uniforms can make students look the same, but in all actuality, students and peers are still going to find those differences to make some not fit in.Uniforms create the feeling of being all the same, when in fact each student is different and unique in their own way. Every day students are educated on icons in history who define their personality and set themselves above the rest by being unique; putting standards for how a student dresses at school takes away from the fact that each individual is different and each student must conform to society in order to succeed.

Another concern with the implementation of school uniforms is the cost. Uniforms infringe on the “free public education that is guaranteed to all children from age 5 to under 22” as stated in the Ohio code 3313.48 section A. Public education is free,but with school uniforms, this is causing school to have extra cost that most parents could not afford.This could cause additional financial hardship as parents may not have the extra money needed to provide enough uniforms for the child to wear to school in a given week. Many families lived on a fixed income and are unable to endure the extra costs of purchasing school uniforms on top of everyday clothing. In the UK, the average shoes that an individual must wear is 56 euros; which is equivalent to about 60 dollars. According to Mr. Adam Sherwin, the average cost of a “school-age child is three hundred and sixteen euros”(Sherwin❡1), with equals to about 334.96 dollars. Families with more than one child in school would be hit twice as hard with added costs. If these same families only purchase 1 to 2 uniforms this would add extra laundry costs along with the fear that the uniforms would wear out quickly causing the child to attend school with the uniform being worn and tattered. Within itself could cause conflict with that student, running the risk of being made fun of because of the way he or she looks. Is this not what schools are trying to avoid with standardised uniforms? School standard uniforms are causing an unfair choice for parents as it would make them choose between feeding their children dinner or purchasing a school uniform.

With the financial cost for students and their families, school uniforms remove a child’s individuality. School uniforms create a non-personalized “selection of clothing that does not fits one’s body type”(top❡19). This can cause a self-body image problem, especially among young teen girls, comparing themselves with each other on how they look in a un-personalized selection of school uniforms. According to students at Decatur, middle school students are expressing their thoughts about school uniforms by stating, “People can not be who they are if they have to wear the same thing everyday”(Viadero❡26).As schools are “encouraging an appreciation of diversity”(❡9) uniforms demote diversity among the selection of clothing. In an ever-changing society of gender defining clothing, school uniforms are cause uncomfortable anxiety and risk of emotional conflict for transgender persons. Most schools have specific rule: girls wear a skirts and boys wear pants. some students including “Transgenders, gender-fluid and gender nonconforming students can feel ostracized”(❡7). Students are already taught to think the same way, are schools across America going to make all students dress the same way too? Between the discomforting feeling of school uniforms and a generation of students that are more diverse and unique than ever, school uniforms are an outdated style of the past.

Benefits of Wearing School Uniforms

While students are categorized as equal, school uniforms keep students focused on the education that they are receiving and not on the clothes they are wearing. With every student wearing the same style of a uniform they are less concerned on how they appear or fit in with their fellow classmates and peers. If a student is less time worried about what one may be wearing, he or she with a school uniform can “concentrate on their school work” (❡6). Another benefit of school uniforms is that they can cause a reduced amount of peer pressure and bullying. According to experts of uniforms “make schools safer for students” and “create a level playing field”(Top❡2). If all students are wearing the same thing, one can not be judged by the expensive clothes they may or may not have and the fashion they bring to school can be evicted. Even though school uniforms disregard expression of individuality, they do eliminate the pressure of one trying to fit in with everyone else. Meaning, if a major fashion trend is going around the school and a student is unable to afford it, he or she could be judged harshly. With school uniforms, this lowers the bullying and peer-pressure rate tremendously; causing less emotional and physical harm to oneself. Some may argue that school uniforms cost less than everyday clothes. If a child wears a uniform to school throughout the school year, and does not have to purchase new clothing, a family could save a small amount of money.

As one can see, uniforms should not be forced among students. School uniforms take away many things that students and their peers will never experience; including individuality, building self-image, and most importantly finding one’s true self through a unique sense of style. Furthermore, school uniforms are designed to professionally dress students for the future, but why are teachers and faculty and trying to make children into adults at such a young age? Children should be express themselves as they please, and not be told what they are mandated to wear. As for parents, uniforms are too much of a hassle, not to mention how much a specific school uniform cost. School uniforms can be viewed in many way, whether or not one is for them or against them;school uniforms will always be a controversy. Students should not have to wear school uniforms because it doesn’t allow individuality, uniforms are very expensive and because it takes away a child’s freedom of expression.

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