An Argument Against School Uniforms | Teen Ink

An Argument Against School Uniforms

November 12, 2008
By Joel Mork, Hinckley, UT

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.









References

School Uniforms: Pros and Cons. Ann Svensen. http://School.familyeduction.com/eductional-philosophy/individually/38676.html

A Mixed Bag of Uniform Research. American associations of School Administrator. http://aasa.org/publicactions/content.cfm?

Scientific School Uniform Research. http:/www.gate.net/rwms/UniformsBrunRock.html/


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This article has 129 comments.


on Nov. 12 2010 at 11:42 pm
ReadingFanatic SILVER, St. Louis, Missouri
6 articles 0 photos 14 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Nobody important? Blimey, that’s amazing. Do you know, in nine hundred years of time and space I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t important before.”

I've been wearing uniforms for 8 years, and I'm fine with them. It's less of a hassle, I still express myself through jewlery, and nailpolish. Also, my school has dress-down days around once a month when we wea regular clothes. (Usually our Class is more wilder on those days) I think Uniforms help us spend less time on our appearence, and more on schoolwork.

Melloves92 said...
on Oct. 15 2010 at 2:13 pm
Don't even get me started on school uniforms.  As someones whos been wearing one for the past 6 years, I'm totally against them.  Not only is everything bland and dull, the creativity is dead.  Kids should be allowed to wear what they please, and the more the schools try to oppress kids, the more they will rebel.

on Sep. 29 2010 at 4:25 pm
Hippiechick10 SILVER, One Stoplight Town, Connecticut
7 articles 0 photos 83 comments

Favorite Quote:
Those who deny freedom to others , deserve it not for themselves. (Abe Lincoln)

Great piece of work! I have an opinion for both sides of this debate. While wearing a uniform may take away someone's individuality and sense of style, it may reduce teasing, rude name calling, bullying, etc. On the flipside, kids need to learn how to stand up for themselves and accept who they are, which might start by wearing the clothes that express themselves.

on Sep. 20 2010 at 4:18 pm
babygirlinthetardis BRONZE, Snaith, Other
1 article 1 photo 14 comments
Uniforms seem to be a lot more common here in the UK and whilst there are valid points it only works to a certain extent. At my school there are so many rules about our uniform that it actually has a detrimental effect on learning because teachers are spending so much time telling us to sort our uniform out and get nine stripes on our tie. We don't have any of the freedom to express ourselves that we want but it does stop the faff of deciding what to wear each day and whether the cool kids will find it acceptable - for that reason I actually hate non - uniform days. Uniform in my school is actually the biggest problem for behaviour solely because of the amount of rules, so I suppose it depends really. Maybe to an extent they do help - but going as far as my school has just creates new problems for the school to deal with.

on Aug. 16 2010 at 4:22 pm
AnonymousPoster, N/A, Other
0 articles 0 photos 4 comments
While you do have a good point you have to relise that they have their reasons, and while I can't speak from personal experience (having never being forced to wear a uniform) I do have a certain level of understanding on how you may feel.
Uniforms are often introduced for safety reasons, and you have to understand that they have your best intrests in mind; also by wearing uniforms students are often less targets of torments for being "goth", "poor", "gangster", etc.
Also, there is other creative outlets; I mean, just look at what site we're on. Here they can get positive reviews and helpful critism, see other's art and writing, etc.
Instead of thinking it as a cripple on your creativity, think of it as a boost sort of; this way, people judge you on your personality, rather than your apperence.

on May. 6 2010 at 8:26 pm

that is not a comment on the article

 


hi998 said...
on May. 6 2010 at 8:24 pm
uniforms will be a great idea 4 school. you don't know that b/c you've never worn one!!!!!!!!!.

on Jan. 29 2010 at 9:03 am
I think too much emphasis is being made on how children feel and how they must be able to express themselves. I was raised from 8th grade and through highschool wearing uniforms in the Catholic schools I attended. Though initially I did not like it...it taught me that I had to adhere to rules. Too many of our young people do not even know what a rule is. In my opinion their parents are their friends instead of their role models for how a productive adult comports him/herself. Uniforms take the emphasis off "me and how I look" and allow the focus to be on learning, sharing and looking beyond appearances. There will be plenty of time in life for personal self expression via wardrobe once the foundation of knowledge and the second experience of community is lived through and integrated.

RinaChan101 said...
on Feb. 25 2009 at 6:09 pm
I believe that this is a great article.