Uniforms in Public Schools
The issue of use of uniforms in public schools has produced a lot of discussion in the recent years. A high number of key stakeholders in the educational sector think that uniforms may reduce negative conduct that is connected to student dress such as school violence, absenteeism, teasing and gang related activities. The main argument that opponents are advancing is that uniforms get in the way of students right to choose dress, violating their right to speech. While public schools have always had policies on dress code, there is a need to evaluate whether uniforms in public schools have any significance.
Uniform in public schools continues to prevail in the United States as parents and other educational stakeholders make efforts to maintain schools as a safe environment. According to various schools administrations, criminal tendencies among the student have been on the downward trend upon introduction of uniforms in public schools. At Ruffner Middle School, There was a 42% decrease in the number of discipline case referrals once uniforms were introduced. Such statistics have been the source of clamor for uniforms in public schools across many regions; however, an equivalent number of people who believe that uniforms are of any benefit. Are school uniforms beneficial to the students?
Uniforms are responsible for a better learning environment in school. This is based on the fact students spend less time looking at their mode of dressing, thus focusing more school work, as opposed to a new fashion trend. As a matter of fact, uniforms tend to close the socioeconomic gap that exists between students as it makes them students equal. Uniform also instill a sense of pride amongst the students as they relate in a professional manner they take their school work seriously. Uniforms make the students easily identifiable; thus, any strange or outsider is easily recognized. This causes a reduction in cases of violence, in schools hence making schools a safe place for study. Cases of fights over theft of designer clothes and shoes also reduce, as uniforms are not easy target for theft. Despite the above advantages, school uniforms have also some perceived disadvantages.
First of all, uniforms deny students the right of self expression. There is a need to encourage independence among the students, and uniforms disallow them that self- expression. Some of the opponents of uniform argue that, forcing students to wear uniforms can make them unruly as they may turn to unsuitable mode of dressing. Uniforms hamper a smooth transition of students from childhood to adulthood as their socialization is practically controlled. Uniforms may also be a probable source of uneasiness for students considering that; they need to make maximum use of their time in schools.
The subject of uniforms in public schools can not be decided on a pro- and- cons approach. There is a need to evaluate some of the moral grounds before coming to a proper conclusion on this issue. The decision of whether uniforms are right for a student is solely dependent on the individual situation.