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An Argument Against School Uniforms

There is an ongoing discussion in this nation about school uniforms, whether or not they help with behavior problems, and increase test scores. As an eighth grade student at Delta Middle School, I do not want school uniforms. In this paper I will present the argument against wearing school uniforms. I will include, personal opinion and will also site research.

Kade A., a sixth grade student, when asked about school uniforms said, “No, I don’t like them, because they are uncomfortable, and make you feel like you are in your church clothes all the time.” Daycen J., another student said, “I don’t like school uniforms because they take away student’s individuality.”

Dr. Alan Hilfer, senior psychologist in Brooklyn’s Children’s and Adolescent Unit at Maimonides Medical Center states:

"Clothes are a source of expression for children, and as kids get older, they become increasingly resentful of uniforms….By instituting a uniform policy, schools are taking away kids’ individuality--- schools need to decide if that sacrifice is worth making.”

Dr. Hilfer is talking about whether taking away student’s individuality is worth the payoff of decreased behavior problems, and increased test scores. A study done by David L. Brunsma , University of Alabama and Kerry A. Rockquemore of Notre Dame, entitled Effects of Student Uniforms on Attendance, Behavior Problems, Substance Abuse, and Academic Achievement, showed that uniforms did not lead to an improvement in these areas. Their conclusion was:

“Student uniform use was not significantly correlated with any of the school commitment variables such as absenteeism, behavior, or substance use (drugs). In addition, students wearing uniforms did not appear to have any significantly different academic preparedness, proschool attitudes, or peer group structures with proschool attitudes than other students.”

One area that might be of concern is the lessening of gang related problems, and fashion wars. A study published in 1995, by Lillian O. Holloman, a clothing and textiles professor at Virginia Polytechic Institute and State University, entitled Violence and Other Antisocial Behaviors in Public Schools: Can Dress Codes Help Solve the Problem? explores the problems the students can get into because of the way they dress. The study says:
“Gang colors and insignias, whether worn intentionally or unintentionally, can get a student jumped or worse. Status clothes, such as team jackets of professional sports teams, leather coats and designer sneakers, have led to thefts, sometimes by knife or at gunpoint.”
This may be true in some areas of the country, such as low-income, inner city areas, but I do not believe this to be true in the Millard County School District. I cannot recall any accounts of violence against students caused by a student’s clothing selection. I believe that before you put into action a school uniform policy based on such fears, you need to take into account the area the school is in, the economic level of the population, the number of people involved in gangs and the amount of gang related activity in the community.

Most of the articles that I have read about whether wearing school uniforms changes behavior and increases test scores, are inconclusive. Most of the time other rules are put into place along with the school uniforms, which may lead to a desired behavior. However, the uniform itself cannot be entirely responsible for the change.

Middle School/ Junior High is a time of maturing, physically, mentally, academically, and emotionally. Schools need to create an environment that encourages students individuality and motivate them to challenge themselves and inspire self confidence. I feel that school uniforms diminish creativity and self expression.


School Uniforms: Pros and Cons. Ann Svensen.

A Mixed Bag of Uniform Research. American associations of School Administrator.

Scientific School Uniform Research. http:/

Join the Discussion

This article has 103 comments. Post your own now!

uniform101 said...
Apr. 17, 2013 at 5:41 pm
Uniforms cannot possibly benefit a child academically. The students in specialized high schools do not wear uniforms and they are excelling. Townsend Harris one of the top public high school's does not have a uniform policy in place and their students are doing outstanding. It is the TEACHER we should blame for students who are failing classes. However, parents also have their faults. Parents should be more involved in their child's life to figure out what is going on with them in school... (more »)
anomonus replied...
Jan. 28, 2014 at 1:14 pm
i agree  
rady von drac said...
Apr. 11, 2013 at 11:54 am
I think school uniforms are good and bad at the same time. Yes it don't really lets u express yourself but think about bullying. If you don't have the matching shoes to go with ur outfit students make sure that u feel some sort of shame! You don't know if that students' parents can afford new clothes when a new trend is out! :)
scarscar replied...
Apr. 17, 2013 at 11:47 am
That is true, but you can still get judged by the shoes you wear and by your hairstyle and if you wear glasses etc. I mean I'm diagnosed with paranoia now from so much bullying that has happened, uniforms don't make much of a difference
kylismili said...
Mar. 20, 2013 at 3:33 pm
i agree unforms take away individuality
amnashine said...
Jan. 23, 2013 at 8:34 am
people should have the right to choose what they want but uniforms dont allow this,
Volleyball girl said...
Jan. 18, 2013 at 4:26 pm
When was this article originally posted?
ESPBOI said...
Jan. 7, 2013 at 12:05 pm
SCHOOL UNIForm is  a waste of time bump school  
O hai der said...
Dec. 12, 2012 at 3:39 pm
Against uniforms
Dana said...
Nov. 24, 2012 at 3:33 pm
I had to wear uniforms from K-8th grade. Bullying still happened, so that reason is out. In middle school, girls were late to school because they were curling or straightening their hair. We would get unnecessary demerits because of not following the unifom (we hated tucking our shirts in.) We were allowed only 9 demerits a year, so that was a big waste. Uniforms do not cut down on behavior and bullying  and rule-following problems; it makes them worse. I would also like to point out that... (more »)
LalaXForever replied...
Sept. 21, 2013 at 2:12 pm
Well my mother works for the school and well your takling about basic problems but in her school because students wanted to express themselves they got half their stuff stolen or they got in fights because someone was making fun of them and some of them even came to school dressed like hookers and pimps now most of you are probably parents and you know you dont want your child walking out of the house like this...but because you think it takes away their individuality which now today the symbol ... (more »)
alepinklover said...
Oct. 11, 2012 at 2:21 pm
I agree that uniforms don't let you express yourself and about the gangs i dont believe its going to help because either way i think your are going to have problems so why not let students wear whatever they want.
Julietta Marie <3 said...
Sept. 16, 2012 at 5:43 pm
So true . I have to wear uniform at my schoool . Blehh . And it take my individuality away from me because i absolutely love colorful stuff and i have to wear uniforms instead .
coololder said...
May 21, 2012 at 12:34 pm
I didn't like wearing my uniform at the time. I had to wear it untill I was 16. Socks not pantyhose. Hated it. But it kept me in a school frame of mind. I can't imagin wearin clothes that I wore at the club to school. I would still be in the club frame of mind. It does take the pressure off of thinking about what to wear everyday. You can't take away a childs expression of individualism by wearing a uniform. It allso helps to remind  them that they are not adults yet. Just like one of ... (more »)
Lola2145 said...
Apr. 2, 2012 at 7:22 pm
Hey Joel, this is for my Journalism essay on School Uniforms in Mr. R's class.  (I'm also Dana's friend Christi) and found this really helpful!  It made it easier for me to find out what I'm supposed to do.  Especially when it's due tomorrow.  Thanks!
mrkiwi2345 said...
Mar. 20, 2012 at 11:49 am
i hate school uniforms. they are worn every day, and that sounds yucky.
Thomas Brown said...
Mar. 12, 2012 at 8:22 pm
In my own opinion, uniforms are good in some manners not just in school but also at work. When I was working under a school they order at this site where the uniforms are being embroidered. The reason of the school is that it carries the name of the school and they can easily distinguish if the students from other school. I don't know about students but some of the opinion of my friends say that the ugliness of uniforms would depend on how to person wearing it would c... (more »)
thomas brown replied...
May 21, 2012 at 5:50 pm

we got a same last name but i dont have an opinion:)lolz


MY NAME IS COOLER replied...
Nov. 18, 2013 at 8:31 pm
NighttimeVesper said...
Feb. 27, 2012 at 7:42 pm
My high school has uniforms. I don't particulary like them, but they do take away the stress of worrying about what to wear each day. We teens (girls especially) get so stressed about the way people think of the way we dress. Plus, some families (my family included) cannot afford to buy new fashionable clothing each year. Nope, that money is going towards my college education...Don't get me wrong, uniforms are a pain, but I believe they eliminate some amount of stress for teens, and they ... (more »)
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