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Should School Uniforms be Mandatory

Do you think school uniforms should be made mandatory? Are you of the belief that they should be compulsory, or do you answer the question, should kids wear school uniforms, with a resounding no? This article presents the views of both sides.
There are many countries around the world that have a uniform code for schools but in the United States, most public schools do not have any sort of school uniform code. This is the reason that the compulsion of school uniforms has been at the center of a huge debate for a while now. Should kids wear school uniforms? The movement in support of uniforms, gained momentum during former President Clinton's tenure when he endorsed the use of uniforms for reducing violence in schools. While there are many private schools in the country that have uniforms, public schools still stick to a dress code but no formal uniform. There are many school uniforms pros and cons. In this article, we take a look at the pros and cons of school uniforms as presented by both sides.

Arguments for School Uniforms

The case for making school uniforms mandatory is strong and consists of several well thought out points. In fact, most supporters of the movement have made a list of the benefits of school uniforms being made mandatory. Let us take a look at these arguments.
  • There are experts that believe that most incidents of bullying and social conflicts at schools arise from not looking a certain way. Clothes and fashion trends are often considered a status symbol and it can be not only distracting, but can also lead to being treated like an outcast, if it does not meet set standards. Uniforms seek to negate this difference between students reducing barriers.
  • Sociological studies have shown that wearing uniforms makes students more focused as it takes away the attention that one's wardrobe generally gets. This has led to students performing better at academics. This is one of the strongest arguments that is put forward when this question crops up.
  • There is also the belief that wearing uniforms leads to a stricter atmosphere conducive to schools. Students in schools that follow a school uniform code tend to adhere to rules more. This leads to reduction in cases of violence in school premises.
  • An argument that is often put forward is that, with school uniforms it becomes much easier to catch concealed weapons and spot non-students. This creates a safer atmosphere for students.
  • Facts on school uniforms tell us that they are also much more affordable for families. The pressure to keep up with fashion trends does not exist and this eases the financial burden on families.
  • Last but definitely not the least, school uniforms tend to increase the feeling of loyalty for and pride that students have in their school. It also promotes equality and uniformity.
These are just some of the arguments that are put forward to make their case stronger.

Arguments Against School Uniforms

Sure, there are many arguments supporting the fact that school uniforms should be mandatory, but what about the disputations that making uniforms compulsory is completely unnecessary? Well, there are an equal number of studies that put forward the thought that making uniforms a compulsory affair can be actually, quite detrimental to students. Let us take a look at these contentions.
  • One of the biggest arguments and facts against school uniforms that is put forward is that making them compulsory represses creativity, self-expression, and individuality. Being able to express oneself is extremely important for a child's proper development, and uniforms smother this instinct in kids.
  • Uniforms can often be seen as an attempt to see kids in the same mold, creating literal clones. This is an argument that often crops up. In order to allow the child to socialize well, it is important to allow them to discover each other for the people they are, and for their individual preferences.
  • Comfort is another fact that is often pointed out. Most of us have a certain type of clothing that we feel most comfortable in. This holds true for children as well, and according to studies, to enhance learning, it is important for kids to feel comfortable, which uniforms don't allow for.
  • If you look at the information that school uniforms statistics provides, you will see while it is true that uniforms do reduce expenditure in terms of clothing for school, kids will still need to keep up appearances outside school, and will want trendy clothes. With school uniforms, one cannot wear them outside the school.
The debate about school uniforms is one that has been on for quite a while now, and is nowhere near resolution. These were just some of the arguments that are put forward by both sides.
By Tulika Nair
Last Updated: 9/22/2011
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