School uniforms should be implemented at every school. Uniforms were originally applied to set students up for success after high school by preparing them to “dress for success” when they get a job, have an interview, or anything where they may have to follow a strict dress code. Uniforms provide a safe “equal playing field” to reduce bullying, improve the attendance of students, save parents money, as well as enhance school community and pride. Uniforms are the key to improving our education system.
To start with, uniforms provide an easy solution to bullying in a school. Many children are bullied every day because of the way that they dress due to the fact that they may not be able to afford the newest or most stylish clothing. They simply do not have the money to purchase new clothes when styles change so they may revert to stealing to get the clothes or they face bullying from fellow students. A 2013 survey taken by National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) states, “86% of school leaders said uniforms make ‘a significant, positive impact on peer pressure,’ as well 64% said uniforms reduce bullying.” Many students may feel inferior due to the way they dress because of their economical standing in society, which they had no way of choosing where they were born or to whom they were born to. Uniforms are said to “blur class lines” (Virginia B. Draa, Assistant Professor of Human Ecology at Youngstown State University) creating a more comfortable school environment, in which students are more focused on their education, more so than their clothing choices.
Furthermore, many people maintain the mentality that uniforms “promote conformity over individuality and at a time when schools are [supposed to be] encouraging an appreciation of diversity, enforcing standardized dress sends a contradictory message.” (Huffington Post) If all students were to be wearing the same outfit, they are less apprehensive about how they look and how they fit in with their peers, consequently they can concentrate on their schoolwork. As far as expressing ones’ individuality, many uniform codes allow students to wear their own shoes, accessories, do their hair and makeup however they please, as well as backpacks, binders, etc. These are many other ways that the induvial may express their personality, that isn’t in the way they dress.
Additionally, uniforms improve attendance of students. Many female students can take an hour or more to get ready with hair, makeup, outfit, breakfast, etc. Also, buying clothes that ‘fit in’ is difficult if you have little to no money. A study in 2010 (University of Houston) showed a 7% decrease in absences of girls once uniforms at local high schools and middle schools were in use. Attendance rates in grades 6 through 12 increase by 0.3 to 0.4 percentage points after a school embraces uniforms. By simply switching to uniforms it could make students want to go to school more often because they don’t fear bullying.
Similarly, uniforms provide financial ease to families who are less fortunate. As stated previously, families who are in the lower class can’t afford to necessarily buy the newest nicest clothes. Uniforms on average cost about $45 per outfit, whereas a regular outfit costs around $165.79. (NY Daily News) Likewise you only have to purchase 3-4 uniforms for all the years, that the student attends that school, which equates to 4 or more years. However, teens are always trying to keep up with the latest trends so they will buy outfits that are roughly 3x more expensive more often. This plays a tough toll on a family because most parents just want their children to be happy and fit in with their classmates.
Due to the stress, pressure, and other issues that school causes, uniforms are the solution to may issues that CAN be solved by simply having uniforms. They can help make students feel safer and more like they are accepted by their peers.