There has been a battle among education stakeholders. The fight is over school uniforms and why students should wear them. It is difficult to trace the origins of the school uniforms, however, uniforms in schools have become a common practice all over the world. The most crucial part of the discussion is the fact that school uniforms is different from a dressing code. With a dressing code, people are just given guidelines on what wear to achieve desired looks. Contrary to this, uniforms dictate that everyone wears a particular dress. Thus, the uniforms come in as a regulation in an educational institution. Different people have different views on school uniforms. Some support the practice while others oppose. This paper will explore two different sets of opinions regarding uniforms. The paper holds that although there are many advantages attributed to uniforms, there are equally as many disadvantages and that the latter outweighs the former.
School uniforms proponents feel that uniforms play a role in eliminating financial and status gaps as well as instilling discipline. Those opposing the practice feel that uniforms deprive students of their freedom and promotes conformity over individuality. Based on evidence from various research findings, it is worth noting that the adverse effects of uniforms outweigh the positive ones. In this breath, schools have fought to maintain uniforms in school, but psychologists and legal professionals feel that this is not the way to go.
According to an article by Cribbie, school uniforms creates a school community. It does this by breaking both financial and social barriers among students (Cribbie, 140). Students from poor backgrounds would tend to be intimidated if it were not for school uniforms. Rich kids would be left to walk in their expensive attire, jewelry, and costly hairstyles. Uniforms makes the students look and feel equal. Additionally, for participation in school programs, students are picked based on their personality and not their looks or more importantly what they are wearing. This way, all students in a school get equal chance and treatment. Cribbie (147), posits that it is through school uniforms that a schooling culture is created. Only those in uniforms recognize that they are students. It creates a school spirit, pride, and unity and hence makes the culture grow (Cribbie, 151). To this end, incorporating school professionalism as part of the schooling culture will be easy. School professionalism is a good mark of discipline.
School uniforms are not as good as they might seem. Many people feel that uniforms bridge the status gap between wealthy students and their poor counterparts. I find this view to be discriminatory in the first place. Discriminatory because it only looks at the poor student. The rich want to have the freedom to live their standard too. They feel confined and suffocated. It is due to this reason that I blame school uniforms for supporting conformity rather than individuality.
Students are forced to conform to the system rather than to live for who they are. Further, think of students who based on molds of body type, feel that the uniforms are not their best choice (Windle 71). They will be forced to conform to what the school allows. To this end, I would suggest that uniformity be limited to dress code. That allows for a little flexibility. The worst of the practice is the fact that school uniforms violates the students right of freedom of expression. Clothing is one of the best ways to express oneself. According to Windle (89), in the case between Tinker and Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969), the court held that neither the student nor the teacher shed their freedom of speech and expression at the gate as they enter the school. It is more fulfilling for the students to be left to express themselves in their best way. Furthermore, the condition to wear the uniforms will lower their self-esteem if they don’t like it. This is contrary to what the advocates suggest.
In conclusion, although there are many advantages attributed to uniforms, there are equally as many disadvantages, and the latter outweighs the former. School uniforms promotes a school community and culture through breaking the financial and status barriers between the wealthy students and their poor counterparts. Through the school culture, school professionalism is incorporated and hence, discipline. On the contrary, the opponents of the practice strongly defend their position. The fact that uniforms bridge the status gap is biased and will never hold because one group will suffer at the expense of the other.
Secondly, regulations on uniforms push individual students or groups of students to conform to a specific identity that is not their personality. It, therefore, becomes an infringement of freedom rights. Students self-esteem might be adversely affected by the fact that they are forced to fake their identification and personality. Uniforms simply changes your looks, but such looks communicate a lot about you to the outside world.
- Cribbie, Robert A. “Multiplicity control, school uniformss, and other perplexing debates.” Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science/Revue Canadienne des sciences du comportement 49.3 (2017): 159.
- Windle, Joel A. Making sense of school choice: Politics, policies, and practice under conditions of cultural diversity. Springer, 2016.