School uniforms and why students wear them has been a topic of concern and debate for as long as these clothes have been around. Though people who argue that wearing uniforms in educational institutions make people appear all equal, give a sense of community, and teach discipline, I believe there are more disadvantages to wearing uniforms than advantages. Namely, demanding students to adorn uniforms takes away freedom, they are often uncomfortable, they are a waste of money, they promote conformity over individuality, and children’s self-image is damaged more when they wear uniforms at school.
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The Legal Argument: How School Uniforms Conflict with Freedom of Expression
Most developed countries, like the United States of America, believe in one’s right to freedom of expression. Making it mandatory for students to give up their right to express themselves through clothing is wrong. According to ProCon.org, “The First Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees that all individuals have the right to express themselves freely. The US Supreme Court stated in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (7-2, 1969) that “it can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” In the 1970 case Richards v. Thurston (3-0), which revolved around a boy refusing to have his hair cut shorter, the US First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that “compelled conformity to conventional standards of appearance” does not “seem a justifiable part of the educational process”’ (“School Uniforms – ProCon.org”). So, not only is the demand to wear uniforms in a sense unconstitutional, it also goes against rulings by the Supreme Court. In this way, it can be said that making uniforms in schools mandatory is un-American.
Practical, Financial, and Social Concerns: The Downside of Implementing School Uniforms
On the side of practicality, uniforms are often seen as less comfortable than normal clothes. They can be tight and not adjustable to different weather conditions. The temperatures in winter and summer can be unbearable in a standard school uniform. Many students have expressed through surveys that they do not feel comfortable in their uniforms, and that this type of clothing does not adjust well to varying weather conditions (“Research on School Uniforms – It’s Clear, They Disadvantage Girls”).
Another practical concern is that paying for uniforms wastes the money of parents, when their children can simply wear the clothes they have. Also, schools could be selling uniforms for more than necessary. In the United Kingdom, for instance, the Guardian reports that, “Parents could be spending millions of pounds more than they need to on school uniforms because of exclusive deals between schools and suppliers, the government’s competition watchdog has warned. Headteachers and school governing bodies were told by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on Thursday that they must let parents “shop around” for affordable uniforms for their children, using supermarkets if they wish rather than be forced to buy more expensive items in exclusive arrangements with suppliers” (Smithers, Rebecca). This means that not only do parents have to spend extra money on an outfit, but also the uniforms schools are selling are overpriced.
Leaning more into the abstract, uniforms promote conformity instead of individuality. A sense of individuality is key in democratic societies. It should be nurtured when young. According to ProCon.org, “At a time when schools are encouraging an appreciation of diversity, enforcing standardized dress sends a contradictory message. In schools where uniforms are specifically gendered (girls must wear skirts and boys must wear pants), transgendered, gender-fluid, and gender-nonconforming students can feel ostracized” (“School Uniforms – ProCon.org”). So, in order for each person to not feel the pressure of societal conformity, it is important that schools keep a sense of diversity.
Lastly, many students feel they do not look their best in uniforms. That’s due to the fact that uniforms fit the mold of certain body types, and curvier or plus-size individuals often feel out of place and uncomfortable in uniforms. Wearing uniforms lends itself to more comparison, and children who do not fit the mold of a “normal” student in terms of body type are commonly ridiculed by classmates (Flam, Lisa).
Though there are some benefits to wearing uniforms in school, I believe there are more disadvantages than advantages to using them. This is because they strip away freedom, they are uncomfortable, it is a waste of money to buy them, they celebrate conformity over individuality, and the self-image of children is damaged more when they wear uniforms. Let us keep our schools constitutional by allowing students to wear what they deem expresses their unique personality, within the limits of appropriateness.
Of course, the question of school uniform is still open to discussions. Such questions are hugely popular topics for persuasive essays. If you need more help and inspiration, or additional examples of works, you can look through top essay writing service reviews to find them.
“School Uniforms – ProCon.org.” ProConorg Headlines, school-uniforms.procon.org/.
“Research on School Uniforms – It’s Clear, They Disadvantage Girls.” Girls’ Uniform Agenda, 27 July 2017, girlsuniformagenda.org/2017/06/14/research-girls-school-uniforms-clear-discriminate/.
Smithers, Rebecca. “Parents Pay Millions More than Needed for School Uniforms, Says Watchdog.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 15 Oct. 2015, www.theguardian.com/money/2015/oct/15/school-uniforms-cost-parents-pay-millions-more-than-needed.
Flam, Lisa. “Are School Uniforms Helping or Hindering?” Today.com, Aug. 19, 2013.
What impact do uniforms have on students’ individuality and self-expression?
School uniforms may impact students’ individuality and self-expression. Uniforms create a level of conformity among learners, which some argue limits their ability to express their unique identities. The standard attire may restrict the pupils’ ability to demonstrate their creativity, personal style, and individuality, which is a key part of their identity. However, some students might find other ways to express their self-assurance and individuality while wearing a uniform, such as through accessories or unique hairstyles.
Do school uniforms create a distraction-free learning environment?
The argument for uniforms often asserts that they minimize distractions in the educational environment by creating a sense of unity and removing the pressure to dress in certain ways. However, it’s important to note that uniforms alone may not eliminate all sources of disruption and tension among pupils. For instance, issues like bullying may persist regardless of what students are wearing.
How do uniforms affect students’ confidence and self-esteem?
The impact of uniforms on students’ self-assurance and poise can be twofold. On one hand, uniforms may enhance confidence by removing social pressure to dress in fashionable or expensive clothes. On the other hand, compulsory outfits can negatively impact self-esteem if students feel uncomfortable or unattractive in the standard attire, especially if it doesn’t fit their body type or personal style.
What are the guidelines for implementing a school uniform policy?
Implementing a school uniform policy involves clear guidelines and regulations. These rules should be communicated effectively to all learners and their parents. They need to cover all aspects, such as the exact dress code, the occasions when the uniform should be worn, the consequences of not adhering to the policy, and any possible exceptions or adjustments. The responsibility for enforcing these policies usually lies with school administration and educators.
Do school uniforms add stress and financial burden to students’ families?
School uniforms could potentially add stress and financial pressure to families. Purchasing the required attire, especially if it’s overpriced due to exclusive arrangements between schools and suppliers, could impose a financial burden. Furthermore, the obligation to follow the uniform guidelines and keep the clothing in good condition can also contribute to household stress.
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