The debate on whether or not school uniforms should be introduced in public schools has been raging for decades. There is no indication that this debate will come to close any time soon. In Northern America, wearing of school uniforms in public schools is disfavored as uniforms remain to be a preserve of private schools. However, in other parts of the world, most schools have implemented a policy that requires all pupils and students to put on their uniforms during official school days. The paper that follows will argue for the introduction of school uniforms in public schools in the US.
A research conducted by the University of Colombia showed that students who attended classes in their uniforms performed better in their academics compared to those who wore civilian outfits (Clarkson 260). This study clearly shows the correlation that subsists between school uniforms and academic performance. The positive academic results recorded by these students can be attributed to the wearing of school uniforms. Additionally, these students also register positive results in extra-curricula activities. In this regard, the school uniform plays an integral role in enhancing the students’ performance both in class and outside the classroom environment.
The school uniform serves many purposes. Aside from being official attire for schools, the uniform is considered to be an identifying tool. Students wearing their uniforms to school are easily identifiable in crowds. This identity is important because it makes the students stand out in a crowd. The same identity can afford the students special treatment in places like subscription-based libraries, museums, and theatres. The uniformed students also get special rates in some places, like the eateries and in the railroad and air transportation. Furthermore, students can be identified by the school uniform they are adorned in. This can also serve to advertise the school to the public. In actual sense, the uniform portrays the students as goodwill ambassadors for their schools. Well-mannered students add value to their schools because their schools can be identified by the attire they adorn.
Adorning school uniforms helps the students appreciate the fact that they are equal. All students feel that they are at the same level when dressed in school uniforms. The uniforms help them focus their attention on school work and compete fairly knowing that they have equal opportunities. The uniform serves as a constant reminder to the students that they should be serious in academics.
Studies comparing the level of discipline and school uniform by Brunsma showed that students in school uniform were keen to abide by school regulations when being outside of the school compound than students without uniform (77). Students in school uniforms are unique and conspicuous and thus it is easy to identify them. Students’ indiscipline is one of the challenges that many public schools are grappling with all over the world. Students’ indiscipline manifests in small mistakes, such as skiving school to serious crimes, for instance, numerous school shootings that have recently hit headlines in the US (Klein 300).
Allowing students to wear cloth, which they prefer, minimizes the sense of authority since the teachers have no authority on student’s choice of dressing. This can result in students regarding a teacher as a master that results to indiscipline among teens. Additionally, this poses a threat, in which social classes can easily build up based on the kind of attire students wear to school. Students from poor families may not be able to afford trendy and fashionable attire imposing an inferiority complex on them, an attribute that can adversely affect their performance in school.
The main purpose of students in school is to study and excel in their school work. It is also in school where students are trained to be responsible citizens. Concentration is a significant pillar to any success (Coles 43). Non-school uniform outfits contribute to poor concentration in school among students. As a result of the sense of competition and desire to be recognized among schooling children, most students will be tempted to analyze what their classmates have put on rather than analyze what their teachers have been teaching. School uniforms are ideal in dealing with this derailment of thoughts and misplaced priorities.
School uniform makes students feel equal and proud of themselves and their school. They feel that they are in the right place. No one feels as if they are on top of the others. The school uniform makes students respectful to their teachers, listen to them attentively, and grasp what they are being taught. A research study by Koegh (99) indicated that students who wore school uniforms tended to perform better in academics and in extra-curricular activities as compared to those who did not put on school uniforms. In addition, a different study by professors at Harvard University has shown that good leaders, both political and professional ones, wore school uniform to their respective schools (Keogh 99). Psychologists argue that mentorship programs cannot succeed in an environment where the mentor and mentee are on the same level of status. The uniform sets the teacher a bar above the student.
The debate on school uniforms will be put to rest the moment the objective discussion will be done by all stakeholders. Students should not view wearing school uniform as a punishment or unfashionable treatment. Instead, they should view it as a way of dealing with a myriad of issues that arise from not wearing the uniforms. Parents should also understand that their children are going to school to better their future not to show off their backgrounds. In this regard, the school wearing policy should receive full backing from the parents. After all, the policy would see them save on the attire budget and also ensure that their children are safe. The teachers should also objectively communicate to their students on the importance of putting school uniform. A report released by homeland security in regard to the recent school shooting in Virginia recommended wearing of school uniform as a possible remedy to such gross violations of the law (Keogh 112).
In conclusion, it is fair to state that wearing school uniforms would help school authorities distinguish between students and intruders. Schools should be a place where students interact freely regardless of their backgrounds. Adorning school uniforms helps in equalizing all students regardless of their socioeconomic background. Undue competition and rivalries that often emerge among students in casual outfits would be reduced by the uniforms. Students’ discipline and security will also be enhanced because the school administration will be able to distinguish between genuine students and intruders. This would help the school management in ensuring that the students are kept safe while being in school. Therefore, it can be argued that school uniforms are critical determinants of any student’s academic success and, as thus, it should be introduced in American public schools.
Brunsma, David L. The School Uniform Movement and What It Tells Us About American Education: A Symbolic Crusade. Lanham, Md: ScarecrowEducation, 2004. Print
Clarkson, Mary C. The Dress Code Debate and School Uniform Movement: A Selected Bibliography. Denver, Colo: Education Commission of the States, 1998. Print.
Coles, Robert. Privileged Ones: The Well-Off and the Rich in America. Boston: Little, Brown, 2007. Print.
Keogh, Jayne. The Role of Texts and Talk in Mediating Relations between Schools and Homes. ,Harvard: University Press. 2009. Print.
Klein, Jessie. The Bully Society: School Shootings and the Crisis of Bullying in America’s Schools. New York: New York University Press, 2012. Print.