School Uniforms: Beneficial or Unnecessary Evil Every year around the beginning of August millions of teens drag their parents all over malls and shopping centers looking to purchase the latest fashion trends to start the school year with. Not every parent can afford this for their children, and they are forced to go to school in the same clothes they wore last year. In public schools this can be a major problem, especially when the school district is spread all over a county with numerous socioeconomic classes and a large diversity of cultures.
Such diversity is a common situation for many public schools. The apparent differences between class and culture cause many divisions or cliques between students. For some students they feel like outcasts for the ridicule they receive for being different. Imagine a world where children did not have to experience being teased for being poor or different. It is a simple solution really, one that is as simple as a uniform.
Although, many people believe school uniforms are not effective because they do not prevent bullying, utilizing uniforms in schools are actually beneficial to both schools and students because students learn to express themselves through their personalities and unique gifts, and because when uniforms are utilized in schools they promote a safer and healthier learning environment. Students learn to express themselves through their personalities and unique gifts. When students cannot express themselves through the clothing and accessories they wear, he or she must turn to different forms of self-expression.
For example, from sixth grade until I graduated from high school, I attended a school that assigned students a uniform. The uniform was very simple: dark brown leather shoes, khaki pants, dark brown leather belt, and a white collared shirt that had to be tucked in. The only jewelry allowed for both boys and girls was a silver or gold watch. Girls were allowed to wear a very simple pair of silver, gold, or diamond stud earrings no larger than a pencil eraser. The uniform left little room for any kind of self-expression, especially through clothes.
I learned how to stand out by expressing myself through my personality, art, and sports. I did not know I could draw before the sixth grade, because I had to leave my comfort zone of my own style of clothing I learned that I could. I also would have never known of my non-existing musical abilities if it were not for trying to learn to express myself through music. Uniform’s taught me not only that I am my own individual aside from what I wear but taught me more about myself then a blouse or a pair of shoes ever could have. When uniforms are enforced in public schools they help promote a much safer and healthier learning environment.
Many administrators and teachers would agree that a safe non- hostile learning environment is very important for each and every student. Uniforms assist with this by making it easier for students and staff members to identify non-student visitors or intruders. For instance, I remember a particular incident my junior year of high school where an armed man escaped from police custody and attempted to hide in the gymnasium of my high school. Fortunately, cameras all over the school quickly spotted the out of place stranger before any danger could ever happen.
School officials were able to secure the school, keeping students safe inside their classrooms and keeping the criminal locked inside our gymnasium until the authorities came to escort him back to jail. If it had not been for the uniforms students wore it could have been significantly harder for administrators to spot the intruder in our gymnasium. Because of the uniforms administrators were able to keep us safe and out of harm’s way. Many people believe school uniforms are not effective because they do not prevent bullying.
For example, even when uniforms are enforced, children and adolescents are continuing to be bullied while attending school. However, I know from personal experience and observations that wearing a uniform gives a sense of equality among peers, making it harder to single out individuals. For instance, students do not have to fear being bullied for not being able to afford to wear the newest clothes and the latest fashion trends because everyone is dressed in uniform. In turn, students are not being bullied for being different from others because of his or her social status.
Ultimately, there are many ways to prevent bullying. Awareness is typically the first step in eliminating a problem, sequentially meaning children should be taught about the long-term effects of bullying and how their words and actions affect others, most likely starting with the parents of the children. There is no cure-all for bullying. Whereas uniforms have contributed a positive learning experience to children and teenagers all over the United States, the argument that assigning a uniform to a child will not prevent bullying from occurring lacks evidence, and therefore is ot a reliable argument against the enforcement of uniforms in schools. Regardless of the draw backs of utilizing uniforms in a person’s educational experience, uniforms ultimately accomplish what they are intended to do, assist in providing a better educational experience for all students regardless of age, race, sex, culture, or economical class. In closing, utilizing uniforms benefit both schools and students. Uniforms teach students how to express themselves through his or her personality and unique gifts.
More importantly, wearing a uniform teaches the clothes a person wears is merely a shell that does not define who he or she is as person. Also, uniforms do contribute to a safer and healthier learning environment for all students by allowing them to notice someone who should not be there. All in all, the ideals listed above have barely scratched the surface of the countless reasons uniforms are beneficial to students and schools alike. Nonetheless, school is a hard ride for everyone. If given the chance of being able to make the experience easier for just one child or teenager by enforcing uniforms in their school, would you not?