Should schools require their students to wear a school uniform?
School Uniforms: Where They Are and Why They Work
A safe and disciplined learning environment is the first requirement of a good school. Young people who are safe and secure, who learn basic American values and the essentials of good citizenship, are better students. In response to growing levels of violence in our schools, many parents, teachers, and school officials have come to see school uniforms as one positive and creative way to reduce discipline problems and increase school safety.
They observed that the adoption of school uniform policies can promote school safety, improve discipline, and enhance the learning environment. The potential benefits of school uniforms include:
- decreasing violence and theft -- even life-threatening situations -- among students over designer clothing or expensive sneakers;
- helping prevent gang members from wearing gang colors and insignia at school;
- instilling students with discipline;
- helping parents and students resist peer pressure;
- helping students concentrate on their school work; and
- helping school officials recognize intruders who come to the school.
As a result, many local communities are deciding to adopt school uniform policies as part of an overall program to improve school safety and discipline. California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia have enacted school uniform regulations. Many large public school systems -- including Baltimore, Cincinnati, Dayton, Detroit, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Miami, Memphis, Milwaukee, Nashville, New Orleans, Phoenix, Seattle and St. Louis -- have schools with either voluntary or mandatory uniform policies, mostly in elementary and middle schools. In addition, many private and parochial schools have required uniforms for a number of years. Still other schools have implemented dress codes to encourage a safe environment by, for example, prohibiting clothes with certain language or gang colors.
Uniform suppresses individualism and treats students en masse rather than encouraging teachers to recognise their different characters and abilities, and students to accept responsibility for aspects of their own lives. Uniform was better suited to an age of rote learning and military-style discipline than to the more exploratory and creative values of modern education – values which are increasingly important to the wider economy. Many schools, indeed many countries, manage to maintain high school standards of discipline, community and academic performance without adopting uniform.
Often it is uniform that is inappropriate, being too cold in winter or too hot in summer, largely because it is badly designed and cheaply-produced in small quantities for a captive market. Girls in particular complain at being forced to wear skirts even in the coldest months, when many would generally wear trousers from choice and some, e.g. Muslims, for cultural reasons. Students will always attempt to subvert any dress code, strict or lenient, requiring staff vigilance in any case.
Read More: http://www2.ed.gov/updates/uniforms.html
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