|Essay type:||Compare and contrast|
|Categories:||School Design Bullying Sexual abuse|
As school administrators and parents strive to ensure public schools are safe for students, the popularity of uniforms continues to take an upward trend in most countries around the world. For instance, in the US, more public schools have adopted a mandatory uniform policy (Siner, 2017). The National Center for Education Statistics in the US states that approximately 20% of public schools require their students to be in uniforms. Nearly 21.5% of elementary schools, 10% of secondary schools, and 19 % of middle schools have adopted the uniform strategy (Cheng, 2008). Some of the merits and demerits of school uniforms in public schools have been addressed in detail below.
First and foremost, introducing school uniforms in all public schools helps improve students' behavior and punctuality. According to research done in Cleveland that required some prominent schools in the city to wear uniforms revealed there was an increase by 3.5% in attendance rates in most of the schools studied (Cleveland 19 News). Also, when students are preparing themselves for school in the morning, they tend to waste a lot of their time when trying to choose what to wear. Therefore, school uniforms would reduce the amount of time students spend when choosing the clothes to wear in the morning and, hence, arrive at school on time.
Secondly, school uniforms according to Marchant, help students become "more self–disciplined and self-confident, less judgmental of other students and be able to resist peer pressure easily…" When all students wear uniforms, they are less capable of judging others based on dressing and appearance since they all have a similar look. Students also are not pressured to dress as per how their peers are dressed.
School uniforms also ensure students commit most of their time to education rather than on their physical appearance and dress codes. The National Association of Secondary School Principals recommends that students with the same dress code are not so concerned with their peers, concentrating more on their education and school work. Home clothes worn by some students may distract other students leading to conflicts and self-esteem issues. The social and economic differences among students are reduced when all students are similar in their social appearance. Students from low-income families, therefore, don't have the pressure to fit in cliques or groups deemed to be of children from wealthy families.
School uniforms also increase student achievement and give a student a more professional body, more focused on schooling. More and more students would concentrate more on their school work and work hard on critical educational things. This is because the popularity of fashion and style portrayed by unique clothing has been removed, and replaced with same school uniforms. In order to be unique or stand out from the rest, students will have to strive to achieve academically. This is beneficial to all the students since it creates a spirit of hard work and determination.
Additionally, school uniforms save most families a lot of money. Although outfits may be expensive when purchasing them initially, they tend to be cheap in the long run and save more money than shopping for clothes for back to school. Also, parents don't have to buy clothes frequently hence can save more money. The peer pressure resulting from other kids to dress in a particular manner or specific brand names has also reduced to a great extent with a mandatory school uniform policy. This has helped many families to worry less of their kids' clothing, save more, and channel their funds to more productive things and ideas. This has helped many families, especially low-income earners.
School uniforms also help reduce the rate of violence and crime, which is a significant problem in most schools. Non-students can easily be recognized and differentiated from the students hence minimizing the risks of harm to the students. The popularity of gangs, cliques, and vulnerable groups in schools have also reduced when students wear the same and specific colors. This is because some accessories such as the bandannas, which are commonly associated with most gangs, are eliminated from the uniforms hence becoming easy to monitor the member of the bands.
Finally, the introduction of school uniforms in most public schools has helped reduce the rates of sexual harassment. For instance, in Thailand, the opening of the mandatory school uniform policy has resulted in a downward trend in sexual abuse cases. This is because most school uniforms are decent and don't expose too much skin. Such dress codes are not provoking as compared to fashionable and stylish home clothes.
Despite school uniforms having several benefits, there are also some challenges. Students are not given a chance to express themselves with comfort. Not granting students the freedom to choose what to wear, denies them the opportunity of showing the uniqueness in their personality.
Children develop independence and confidence when they select their dress codes. Denying students the chance to choose what to dress makes them uncreative and may fail to transition from childhood to adulthood hence are not prepared for the real world.
Additionally, not all students are comfortable with uniforms, limiting their concentration on school work, and worrying more about their physical appearance. Most students tend to be restrictive, uncomfortable, and even itchy when in school uniforms. In order to improve academic outcomes, students should be made as comfortable as possible. For example, females may feel uncomfortable with tucked-in shirts since they expose their figures.
When students in school uniform but outside, the school may engage in unruly behaviors, thus tarnishing the reputation of their school, this gives a school a bad image and name to the outsiders.
In conclusion, school uniforms have been influential in boosting school attendance, saving money for most families, improving self-discipline, becoming less judgmental, and improving academic achievement. School uniforms have reduced suspensions, students not attending classes, discipline referrals, among others. Uniformity has also increased to a large extent. There are also several disadvantages, such as failing to build children's creativity, creating discomfort, and denying children the chance to express themselves. This means that school uniforms are not as crucial as how parents and school administrators are made to believe. From the above arguments, it is clear that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages; hence, school uniforms will improve students' overall achievement. Therefore, all public schools should try to try them out by putting in place a mandatory school uniform policy.
Baltasar, R (2016). The Pros of School Uniforms.
Chen, G. (2008). Public school uniforms: The pros and cons of your child. Public School Review.
Harbach, M. J. (2015). Sexualization, sex discrimination, and public school dress codes. U. Rich. L., Rev., 50, 1039.
Siner, A. G. (2017). Dressing to Impress: A Legal Examination of Dress Codes in Public Schools. Santa Clara L. Rev., 57, 259.
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