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The Student's Argument

By , Palatine, IL
When the topic of school uniforms is brought up, most kids groan at the idea of being forced to wear the same thing as their peers. I admittedly, am one of those people. Teachers and school board members argue that uniforms create a safer and less distracting learning environment, but they fail to consider the fact that uniforms deny kids the chance to express themselves. According to the United States Department of Education, the percentage of public schools that require uniforms has been increasing in the last few years. From 2000- 2008, the number of schools increased from 12%-18%. Also, a majority of private schools have a uniform policy as well. In my opinion, the increasing amount of school uniforms will do more harm than good for students.

Our society nowadays is very individualistic. We emphasize uniqueness and freedom of expression. Why, then, would we be trying to remove freedom of expression when it is most needed? Many children use junior high, high school, and even elementary school to discover who they are and find their own unique style. I want to make it clear that I am not promoting a complete lack of rules or dress code when it comes to teenagers, however. I am merely saying that, within reason, students should be allowed to dress how they want. Forcing everyone to wear the same thing creates a conformist attitude that is unhealthy for a school, especially a high school. According to psychological studies, giving a group the same uniforms increases the sense of anonymity felt by each individual, and causes them to identify more with the group than with themselves. For a student who is already shy, and feels anonymous, uniforms would deny them another opportunity to stand out. There are a lot of shy people who use the way they dress to express their personality, and they would be deprived of that opportunity. It could also increase rebellious feelings among students.
Most high school students would rather have fewer rules than more. Most kids also have a natural tendency to be rebellious. By adding another unnecessary rule to a school that already has a rule book the size of a small dictionary, students will only have a greater desire to rebel. The monotony of seeing the exact same outfits every day could also become boring, and give students the desire to act out or misbehave to escape the dullness of school every day. Teachers also tell students about how our country is free because of the people that fought for it, but by forcing students to wear uniforms, they would be stripping away their freedom of expression.
My dad and I were having an argument about this the other day. He wore uniforms all throughout elementary school and junior high, and thought it was great. He loved not having to think about what he was going to wear when he got up every morning. I, personally, am okay with sacrificing five minutes of my time every morning so I can find an outfit that helps me express myself. I also look forward to seeing the interesting and sometimes entertaining outfits that my fellow students wear to school every day, there is really nothing boring about it.





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