Uniforms Understood This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

     You awake to the rude call of your alarm clock and hit the snooze button. When you finally pull your groggy, sleepy self out of the comfort of your bed, you go to the closet and take out the plaid skirt, white polo shirt and designer ballet flats, your everyday apparel. As you march through the front doors of your school, you are welcomed by a sea of white shirts. It’s another day in a uniformed school.

You look upon your fellow freshmen and see no violence or teasing. You see your classmates socializing, not fearing ridicule. You see the glamorous make-the-most-popular-girl-in-school-jealous shoes your best friend is wearing and the exquisite earrings that dangle from her ears. Students beam with self-confidence and the anticipation of a new day. You walk confidently to homeroom, knowing that you are part of a huge family, knowing that the colors you and your fellow classmates wear give you a sense of belonging.

Many teens across the United States have mixed feelings about attending a school with uniforms. Some think they are a nuisance, but most don’t mind them. “It makes it easier to get dressed in the morning but doesn’t completely stop the competition because we can still wear designer shoes or earrings,” says one student.

Although many teens find uniforms tedious, they actually help schools in many ways. For one, they decrease school-related crimes, like theft, harassment, and hazing. Theft is reduced probably because students do not bring expensive clothing that would be worth stealing. Taunting, harassment, and hazing are reduced because everyone is dressed the same. It eliminates the need to have the latest designer fashions.

There is also a decrease in drug use and weapons. These two dangerous problems are reduced because the usual bagginess of regular pants and sweatshirts, which can hide drugs or weapons, is eliminated. A uniformed school is not a breeding ground for the next gang member.

Uniforms also make social standing less a matter of economics and more a result of moral character. In public schools, students’ popularity hinges on the clothes they wear. At uniformed schools, the social variable of clothing is removed.

Many studies hypothesize that uniforms help students focus better, since they can concentrate on the material rather than what those around them are wearing. Uniforms are also very affordable, which is why many parents support them. Parents also say “yay” to uniforms because in our society, many jobs required some sort of uniform; students are simply in the “business of learning.”

At the close of an academic day, I look back over the sea of white, swirling about in after-school bustle, confident that I will return to the same sea of white for the days and weeks to come.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
yesterday at 5:21 pm
i love this so much!
TwinnBears27 said...
Feb. 4, 2012 at 2:35 pm
I partially agree with your article. At my former private schools, we wore uniforms, and I loved them. You are right about the hassle of dressing being cut down, and uniforms do create a better sense of community. At the same time, I was teased for most of my elementary/middle school life. In high school, uniforms did not stop gossip, but they did create an atmosphere where arguments could be easily solved. I have moved, am in public school, still wear uniforms, and am perfectly happy with that.
irrelevant said...
Feb. 10, 2011 at 2:42 pm
You have a good point. I don't really like wearing uniforms because to me, they're uncomfortable. I feel better in my clothes. Also, having to buy uniforms is basically like duplicating one's wardrobe..very pointless in my mind.
ilovewriting95 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 26, 2010 at 8:23 pm
That was well written and I totally agree with you! Uniforms rock and I love them. I go to a school that has uniforms and it does make the school feel like it's a united group of people that want to be there. My private school is way better than all the public schools I went to before this.
Rosey_Angel replied...
Oct. 23, 2010 at 9:33 pm
Private schools are just genarally better than public schools because not everyone can afford togo to them, like thugs or gangsters.
AgnotTheOdd said...
Aug. 2, 2010 at 5:33 pm
Interesting points.  I mostly agree with the theft part.  However, in a public school, popularity does not hinge on clothes.
penandpaper67 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 12, 2010 at 10:50 pm
That was well-written, but I don't really agree with you. Uniforms do not solve all problems at schools - everything you talked about still occurs, especially teasing. Do you think that people get teased only because of their clothes? Usually there is something else behind it: who they hang out with, their race or religion, their weight. And just because they wear a uniform in school doesn't mean they wear it all the time, so a uniform doesn't do much good if people see each other outside of sch... (more »)
silverbookslayer said...
May 13, 2010 at 8:44 pm
This was well written but...you make it seem as if wearing a uniform solves of the problems of high school.  I go to a uniform school and wearing uniforms definitely does not stop students from acting ignorant.  Also students still get teased about their about what they wear because a uniform is just like a style.  Also everyone wearing uniforms does not make anyone in feel like part of the school.  Wearing uniforms also does not help us to focus better.  If we... (more »)
morginathena replied...
May 31, 2010 at 1:14 pm
I agree with this. Well written article but, as someone who wore a uniform everyday for 4 years, uniforms are not a cure-all and they do not do most of the things you are saying- at least not by themselves.
ThisLitIsBananas This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 13, 2010 at 7:24 pm
I see what you mean, and I agree with you to a point; but I go to a non-uniformed school, and I don't see any problems with it. Mind you, were are an Arts school, and we're weird and a lot more accepting. But clothes help us express ourselves and show who we are, and I enjoy that. But I can definitely see where you're going.
krazykathleen said...
May 13, 2010 at 4:39 pm
Wow. It looks like a lot of people disagree with you! I think you made a lot of good points! I almost wish our school had uniforms. People are saying clothes express themselves- but I think that you can find other ways to express yourselves beside the material on your body! Great writing, I agree wtih you on this issue.
charzard said...
May 13, 2010 at 10:50 am
i will be wearing a uniform at my school next year. while there are many pluses that you have explained, there is one point i disagree with. uniforms are extremely expensive! the shoes my school expects all students to wear are quite expensive and the skirts peak $50. it's a lot to pay, especially with the tuition that parents also pay. don't get me wrong; uniforms are good, they are just WAY overpriced.
scribblesinthecity said...
Feb. 24, 2010 at 10:45 pm
You say uniforms can make social standing less about economics, except (in the examples about your school), u constantly mention that kids still wear designer shoes and earings. last time i checked-designer shoes and earings are expensive. so if there's an unwealthy kid who doesn't have any designer accessories, isn't there a chance they may still be teased? also, couldn't stealing still easily take place, since designer accessories cost lots of $$$ as i said b4, so ppl would... (more »)
spoken said...
Jan. 6, 2010 at 7:24 pm
hi my name is kjhjh
toxic.monkey said...
Dec. 25, 2009 at 1:09 pm
i'm not against or for uniforms but i believe that things like competition and drug use could be reduced if schools paid more attention to the psychological, mental, and emotional growth and maturity of students rather than assigning piles of homework. instead of forcing students to do so, they can give them the option of doing so but knowing that they know the true consequences of their actions...
debbiejwilson replied...
May 13, 2010 at 1:05 am
That is NOT the job of the school. The school's job is to educated. The parents are the ones who should do the majority of that 'psychological and emotional growth'. The founders of our country and of the public education system never intented for schools to do that. If it weren't for the unfortunate breakdown of so many families, the schools would be able to spend their time educating and not dealing with those psychological problems.
ThisLitIsBananas This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
May 13, 2010 at 7:25 pm
Well, true it isn't the school's job to support kids physcologically and emotionally, but many school's, like mine, try, and it really does pay off, plus it helps students succeed in learning, which is, as you put it, the school's job. Sometimes it isn't the family's fault that the kid needs help. And kids sometimes can't succeed in school without that help. 
toxic.monkey replied...
May 15, 2010 at 4:10 am
exactly as you said ThisLitIsBananas. Sometimes the parents are just lost on how to tell their kid something and this is where professionals at the kid's school can help. Also, the founders of the United States lived at a time when education was entirely different as was life. Their idea of education is outdated, even if it was superb in their time.
kindyxkandy said...
Nov. 24, 2009 at 10:53 pm
I feel uniforms take away the right to be your true self. I think some dress code is obviously needed to keep estrogen filled teenage girls fully clothed, and testosterone filled boys to keep their pants at waist level, not at their butts.
But I like what I wear, and I would think wearing something that doesn't describe me is taking away my right to be creative, to live my life as I chose. And it's decreasing the possibilities that students have to learn what really is appropria... (more »)
~EmilyC~ This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
May 13, 2010 at 4:17 pm
I agree with you but that last sentence was kind of uncalled for.
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