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Mandatory School Uniforms Rule in L.A. Schools Introduction


Whether to make school uniform mandatory for schools particularly in Los Angeles has been a matter of debate in the recent years. The introduction of uniform as mandatory attire has attracted heated debate with both the pro and anti-compulsory school uniform activists taking strong positions and validating their points as a justification for their argument. Consequently, both the advantages and limitation of autonomy in choice of school wear relative to unified attires have been cited. While pro-introduction of mandatory school uniform cites the advantages as the justification for their argument, those opposed to the move greatly clings to the limitations of the same, leading to the differences among the groups. In effect, the proposal to introduction of school uniforms as a mandatory school wear particularly in Los Angeles schools has been received with mixed reactions; the latter of which is represented in the diversity among the affected (parents, school administrators, and the students themselves) while conceptualizing the pros and cons of school uniforms and their potential role in children’s education and development. This paper therefore discusses the pros and cons of school uniform based on a personal opinion as to whether uniform should be made mandatory school attire with a bias to Los Angeles schools.

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Arguments for school uniforms

As a matter of facts, some states in the United States have already started enforcing compulsory uniform policy in schools particularly in the elementary schools and junior high schools mainly California that had started enforcing the rule as early as 1994 (Larkin 2). According to Knowles (7) the public schools in the New Yolk City particularly the elementary schools started implementing the mandatory uniform policy as early as 1999. As at 1999, Knowles indicates that well over six hundred and seventy such elementary schools were already implementing the policy hoping that all other parts of the United States would follow suit. To date however, such a move has failed to kick off in Los Angeles steady despite proposals by stakeholders. Presently, the introduction of mandatory school policy is a matter that has attracted a heated debate with factions raking sides. Ideally, proponents of the school uniforms argues that introduction of the school uniforms would reduce the diversity in terms of looks thus to a greater extent help to create an equal environment for students learning. In circumstances where the school uniform is mandatory attire for all, students appear similar in outfits thus a level ground for learning is created (Anonymous 3). The student body in whatever school in the world is rather diverse particularly in terms of family backgrounds, upbringing styles, and personality characteristics. As such, the differences are likely to negatively affect the student’s education, concentration, and interpersonal relationships in the school environment if not well managed.

According to Agarwar (7) therefore, freedom in the choices of the attires (that the students or the children will wear to school) is likely to exhibit out points of differences among students and can only escalate the problem of diversity rather that managing it for positive results. For instance, students from the poor backgrounds and whose parents cannot afford to buy them stylish and lavish clothing are likely to develop low self esteem, face alienation by the counterparts hence negatively affecting their concentration and worse still engage in malpractices such as drugs due to the ensuing stress (Anonymous 4). On the other hand, the upper class students are more likely to forming dangerous gangs/ cliques that separate them from the seemingly poor colleagues. According to Anonymous (3) therefore, introduction of mandatory school uniforms would cover up the differences among students/pupils in a classroom thus avoiding students being judged by others merely by their looks, thus creating level environment for learning.

While justifying his argument for introduction of the school uniform as the compulsory school wear, Larkin (11) argued that compulsory school anthem would culminate into massive savings for parents and families. The latter asserted that uniforms were way ward cheaper than freestyle dress code. Under the latter, parents are forced to purchase expensive, diversified, and highly stylish garments to be used by their children for school. More often that not free style in school dressings has seen children even from less well up family background pressurizing their parents to buy them very expensive clothing particularly for conformity purposes (Anonymous 6). This is purely because the child does not want to feel the odd one out and with a clear knowledge of the repercussion that would ensue as a result of failure to do so; the parents are forced to buy such clothes even under tight budgets. According to anonymous (Para 3) therefore, introduction of compulsory uniform policy In LA School would greatly save the parents and family the pressure and stress of having to buy such expensive clothes beyond their ability to autonomously afford.

In a research published by the US today and cited in Knowles (4) it was revealed that there was a likelihood of parents spending more in purchase of non school uniform and designers attires for their school going children that when uniform attires were purchased. The research results revealed that in 1998 for instance, parents spent $185 on average per child while buying non school uniform attires $ 81 or 77% more than when school uniform was purchased on average. This discovery has the implication that the parents and family would save a lot of money for other educational programs if compulsory uniforms were introduced.

According to Larkin (11), in his justification for compulsory school uniforms as a means of enhancing security in the learning of school, he put forth an argument that compulsory school argument offered an ideal model for identification of those who are genuinely students and the intruders/outsider thus ensuring high levels of security and safety for students/ pupils. According to Education Week in the results of empirical study published in Knowles (6), it was reveled that the assault rate in long beach unified school district in California had significantly reduced in fact by 85% since the implementation of the district – wide compulsory school uniform rule in 1994.

Furthermore, Larkin (11) argued that school uniform offered a point of identity, pride, and a continuous reminder on the part of the child that he/ she was a school bound child; the latter of which works psychologically in maintaining the child’s focus on education rather that worldly matters. In addition, school uniform and the ensuing sense of identity greatly induces the public and responsible adults other than the child’s own parents’ sense of responsibility and care for the school going children the latter of which acts as checks and control of students’ behavior.

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Arguments against school uniforms

More often that not, the critics have faulted the argument for school uniform as posed by the pro introduction of compulsory uniform among schools in Los Angeles as mere escapists who are looking for temporary and unsustainable solutions for problems that requires comprehensive solutions (Anonymous 1). According to the author while responding to the argument for compulsory school uniform, he argued that the introduction of mandatory school uniforms would not serve as a solution to differences that are inherent among the students since conventional dressing is just but one of the visible differences that exists among them. In effect therefore, whether in uniform or not, anti-uniform policy activists argues that other points of distinctions will be their inclusion but not limited to hairstyles and colors, height, weight, habits in socializations, accessories, and artifacts among others (Anonymous 1).

Instead, Anonymous (9) argues that such a move would curtail creativity on the part of the students and prevent emergence of uniqueness that is presented in the diversity that is inherent in people’s lives. Furthermore, such a move would instill a notion in the young scholars that conformity is the means to an end which is in fact a wrong ideology.

Alternatively, the opportunity should be used to teach the children that diversity is part and parcel of life thus they should learn to appreciate and live with others irrespective of how different they may appear. The later argues that irrespective of the dressing styles among the students, formation of clique particularly based on classes and lines of socialization cannot be alleviated. According to Agarwar (13), school uniform may not be cheaper than freestyle clothing’s after all. On the same note, such kids will not be fully at school hence they will still ask for expensive designers clothes as part of their out of school clothing if they have to. After all, critics cited in Agarwar (14) argues that school uniform was not the most ideal approach to locking intruders and outsiders from the schools but a comprehensive strategy for students security and safety should be adopted.


Irrespective of the fact that both the pro -introduction of a compulsory school uniform rule in the LA schools as well as the critics of the move have duly justified their argument, evidence reveals that school uniform rule has been effective in providing immediate solutions that face schools particularly in its trial in California and New Yolk. Typically, the successful implementation of compulsory school uniform rule among the Californian states elementary schools has yielded result in relieving the parents’ costs, enhancing students and pupils security and safety to a greater extent and has presented a level ground for learning in schools thus avoiding bias in perception of students based on dressing styles, grooming, background, and classes. While the critics have a point the problems that affect schools and students needs immediate solutions and one can bet on mandatory school uniform to present such. The critics’ justifications are just but long-term solutions to a problem that requires haste and immediate attention. Therefore, a compulsory school uniform policy would do for Los Angeles.

Works cited

Agarwar Abhishek. “Pros and Cons of School Uniforms.” Articlesbase. 2005. Web.

Anonymous. “Uniforms in LA Schools Considered: The Homeroom”, Los Angeles Times. 2008. Web.

Anonymous. “Argument against Uniforms in Schools:” Angefire, 2005. Web.

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Knowles, Bryan. “Should School Uniforms be Mandatory?” 2005. Web.

Larkin, Cheryl, “School Uniforms: A Good Thing:” AC Associated Content. 2006. Web.

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