The School Uniform Debate: Pros and Cons of School Uniforms

Updated on May 23, 2014
via Wikimedia Commons
via Wikimedia Commons | Source

CONS OF SCHOOL UNIFORMS

1. School Uniforms Stifle Creativity and Individuality

There are many school uniforms pros and cons -- one major argument against school uniforms often posed by students in the school uniforms debate is that school uniforms stifle creativity and freedom of expression.

Students may say they have a right to their individual identity and that school uniforms prevent them from expressing who they are. School is a time when students are just working out who they are -- it is unfair and unwise to stop students from expressing who they are at this vital stage by stifling their options in their choice of clothing. This sends a contradictory message to students when, on one hand, they're taught to be who they are and not pretend to be someone else while they are simultaneously being forced to dress exactly the same and to conform to strict unified standards.

2. School Uniforms Are Too Expensive

Another argument commonly raised by parents in the school uniform debate is how costly they are. Parents may argue that having to buy expensive school uniforms on top of regular after school and weekend clothes can become a financial burden on families, especially those with multiple school-aged children.

School is already expensive enough, with parents having to pay for school excursions, books, stationary and transport. Adding the cost of often expensive school uniforms can make balancing the budget very difficult for many families, especially those from low socioeconomic backgrounds. School uniforms could be made cheaper, but doing so may affect the quality and comfort of the clothing. Ultimately, however, the greatest reason school uniforms are expensive is because they force parents to buy two separate sets of clothes -- this is an inherent problem for school uniforms in that whenever school uniforms are required, two sets of wardrobes (doubling the cost) are required.

In conclusion, while many parents acknowledge that there are pros and cons to having school uniforms, the cost is still just too much for many families.


Girls lining up for class via Wikimedia Commons
Girls lining up for class via Wikimedia Commons | Source

3. School Uniforms Infringe On Religious Freedom

School uniforms, as argued by religious organizations, may often lead to religious discrimination. These organizations may claim that, in turn, school uniforms infringe on a student's religious freedom. Because many faiths have quite specific dress standards which must be followed, school uniforms mean that many students aren't able to meet the dress standards of their particular faith. Often, due to the two codes of dress being contradictory, a student is forced to choose between following the school's rules and the rules of their faith.

While it may be possible for there to be exceptions to the uniform rules, this can often create more problems. In fact, these exceptions may be even less equalizing -- for example, Islamic students' school uniforms mean that they are the only ones wearing something different and this can lead to isolation, bullying and cultural intolerance.

4. School Uniforms Are Uncomfortable and Impractical

School uniforms are uncomfortable to wear and impractical for learning. This is an argument raised in the debate against school uniforms by students having to wear them because the uniform may be made out of uncomfortable material. Students will claim also that they're better off wearing their own clothes.

School uniforms, for whatever reason, are often made of uncomfortable materials which students often despise. Therefore, it is reasonable to argue that if school children were allowed to pick their own clothes, then they would learn better because they feel more comfortable. The problem seems to be an inherent one -- school uniforms need to be uncomfortable to keep costs down and achieve the desired look. Therefore, making a comfortable school uniform simply would not be possible.

When considering school uniform pros and cons, it is vital that the purpose of school uniforms is discussed. If uniforms don't meet the purpose they were intended for, then they should be abolished.

5. Dress Codes Are a Practical Alternative to School Uniforms

A practical alternative to school uniforms is instilling dress codes. This means that the school can continue to enforce dress standards without forcing all students to wear the exact same thing. This way, the school uniforms debate can be side-stepped completely. While it is reasonable to want students to meet some minimum standards of dress, having a compulsory uniform is not necessary to achieve this. By having an enforceable dress code, it's possible to have the best of both worlds. All of the arguments against school uniforms simply fall away when you replace it with a dress code instead.


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PROS OF SCHOOL UNIFORMS

1. School Uniforms Create a Sense of Unity and Identity

School uniforms create a sense of identity and unity in a school. By having students dress the same way, you promote the idea that they are all part of something bigger than themselves individually. What's often overlooked in the school uniform debate is that uniforms often transform a school, from simply a place that students attend to something they are part of. Uniforms allow students give schools a visible identity -- something physical and real which students can look to and be proud of. Uniforms create a definitive idea of 'us' as opposed to them (them being students from other schools).

Even though many students may outwardly hate wearing their uniform, they often take pride in it secretly, especially when confronted by students from other schools. Even those school uniforms that are particularly bad can create a sense of common suffering among students. A student's education at the end of the day is a journey. Uniforms let them know that they are going through that journey with a cohort of their peers and that they aren't alone. This ultimately is a lesson and experience worth learning not only during one's schooling years, but for the entirety of their life.

via Wikimedia Commons
via Wikimedia Commons | Source

2. School Uniforms Ensure Children are Wearing Practical Clothes

School uniforms ensure that all students attending a school wear practical clothes that are appropriate for both learn and play. School uniforms are specially designed to allow students to take part in a range of educational and sporting activities. It should also be considered that if children (maybe even some parents) were allowed ultimate control of their dress, there's a likely chance that they would choose fashionable clothes over practical clothes. In turn, this would hamper a child's ability to learn.

3. School Uniforms Prevent Bullying

School uniforms may act as a leveler between students from different socioeconomic backgrounds, ranging from rich to poor. Uniforms ensure that all students wear the same thing no matter what their financial situation is.

If students wore their everyday clothes, there may be a visibly obvious gap between what rich students wore and what poor students wore. One's clothing may very likely become an indicator of how well off a child's parents are. Children may inevitably be bullied if they weren't able to keep up with the latest and often more expensive fashion trends. At school, all students should be seen as equal amongst their peers. Ensuring that children all wear the same uniform is one way to reach this goal. Students will find enough reasons to bully each other on their own -- we don't need to give them any more reasons. Of all the pros and cons of school uniforms in the school uniforms debate, this argument is probably the strongest.

via Wikimedia Commons
via Wikimedia Commons | Source

4. School Uniforms are Necessary for Safety

School uniforms are vital for school safety in the 21st century -- this needs to be remembered in any school uniforms debate. School uniforms allow teachers and staff to quickly distinguish between students and strangers. These days, schools have to be especially vigilant about predators and those who want to invade the schoolyard to take advantage of vulnerable students. School uniforms make it easy to tell when there's a strange, non-uniformed, and possibly unwanted stranger in the schoolyard. This is easily spotted in time for staff to take appropriate action to protect the children. Additionally, uniforms can also help teachers keep track of students on excursions and allow them to spot their students even in large crowds of people.

5. School Uniforms Improve Behavior and Discipline

Another argument which should be raised in the school uniforms debate is that students learn respect for themselves and others by wearing uniforms. Uniforms teach students that what they wear and how they look matters and that it's not just all about their own personal preferences. Ultimately, wearing a uniform can be seen as something that students do for others because they want to show respect for others by presenting themselves nicely. Wearing a school uniform also teaches students respect for authority because it's something they do because they are told to and because it distinguishes them from the teachers -- those whose authority they are under.

via Wikimedia Commons
via Wikimedia Commons | Source

6. School Uniforms Allow for Other Forms of Expression

School uniforms don't necessarily need to stifle a student's way of expressing their individualism. There are other ways for students to express themselves outside of just their apparel.

While schools should be about letting students express themselves and discover who they are, this process goes far beyond just one's clothing. Expression is often more internal than it is external. Therefore, what should be raised in school uniform debates is that clothing can work to stifle a student's individualism by letting them rely on their outward appearance too heavily. Having a uniform can be viewed positively in the case for self-expression in that students can then express themselves in other ways. Not needing to worry about what to wear everyday and in turn this could result in avoiding pointless fashion trends which are often more conformist rather than individualistic.

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School Uniforms Pros and Cons; Summary Table

FOR
AGAINST
School uniforms prevent bullying
School uniforms are too expensive
School uniforms are impractical
School uniforms are the best way to ensure childrens clothes are practical
Students can express themselves in other ways
Limiting dress choices limits self expression
School uniforms allow students to take pride in their school
School uniforms are uncomfortable
School uniforms are needed for safety reasons
School uniforms infringe on a student's religious liberty
School uniforms increase discipline
 
A quick summary of the arguments in the school uniforms debate

Questions & Answers

    Comments

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      • profile image

        johnny 

        3 days ago

        useless

      • profile image

        Dr pepito 

        3 weeks ago

        Cons Good pros Bad they need medicine

      • profile image

        HI 

        5 weeks ago

        WORST

      • profile image

        bob 

        5 weeks ago

        i hate them

      • profile image

        .. 

        5 weeks ago

        i think it are not really good because it do not prevent bulling it just have increasing

      • profile image

        Sofia 

        2 months ago

        School uniforms gives pupils an identity

      • profile image

        Yeoumji 

        3 months ago

        This ariticle helped me

      • profile image

        my opnion about school uniforms.. 

        3 months ago

        school uniforms don't give a chance for kids to feel creative or to express themselves.

      • profile image

        Whats up people 

        4 months ago

        hi people whats up my pepes

      • profile image

        gmex 

        4 months ago

        who is this

      • profile image

        Crazy1655 

        4 months ago

        This is soooo fake

      • profile image

        somerandomkid 

        4 months ago

        i'm in class and fyi i don't like school uniforms.

      • profile image

        Martin Luther King JR 

        4 months ago

        I agree

      • profile image

        Chikin nuggetz 

        4 months ago

        I love chicken nuggets

      • profile image

        chicken nuggets 

        4 months ago

        i like chicken nuggets

      • profile image

        Aliyah 

        5 months ago

        Uniforms be costing way to much money and some people cant afford it

      • profile image

        Donald J. Trump 

        5 months ago

        I Really Agree With Wearing School Uniforms.

      • profile image

        ryan 

        5 months ago

        i agree

      • profile image

        abby 

        5 months ago

        i have a very considerate question

      • profile image

        Adolf. H 

        5 months ago

        I have a burning question about school uniforms

      • profile image

        Shay 

        5 months ago

        School uniform does not prevent bulling. In fact in 1999 a study showed that school uniform increased bullying by 12%. I’m sorry but you got that fact wrong!

      • profile image

        neil 

        6 months ago

        l love school and school uniform and it create a Sense of unity

      • profile image

        Snega 

        7 months ago

        It was very helpful for our school debate competition . And i support and vote for the school uniforms.

      • profile image

        oof 

        7 months ago

        ithink school uniform is uncomfortable

      • profile image

        :p it's Dakota :b 

        12 months ago

        I want to were my own clothes and it is not hard for me at all to find some clothes in the morning, I have tons of clothes and also I think uniforms are dumb too you dont really need them and that video that said if I get lost I can look for kids wereing red uniforms like mine how bout you just listen for a bunch of anoying kids.

      • profile image

        some one 

        12 months ago

        I think school uniforms help students learn

      • profile image

        Emily 

        12 months ago

        I'm against them. I think that school uniforms are dull and boring

      • profile image

        Fairah 

        12 months ago

        i think school uniforms are dumb

      • profile image

        itz FAIRAH boi!!!!!!!!!!! 

        12 months ago

        i am against because uniforms interfere with students self confidence and most kid express themselves through their clothing! i mean how can you be you when you are forced to wear uniforms!!!

      • profile image

        Hey 

        12 months ago

        Research shows that school uniforms attracts more bullies

      • profile image

        MY NAME IS JEFF 

        12 months ago

        i hate school uniforms

      • profile image

        Sophia Hohol 

        12 months ago

        to booh: i know that you are right. i hate having to wear uniforms.

        this is a cool site!!!

      • profile image

        booh 

        13 months ago

        nooooooooooooooooooooo school uniforms

      • profile image

        Sophia 

        13 months ago

        i think that we should take a stand, & tell the teachers we dont want to wear uniforms

      • profile image

        Sophia Hohol 

        13 months ago

        I think that we should not have to wear uniforms because they will get you bullyed

      • profile image

        Sophia Hohol 

        13 months ago

        hi people's. I hope you like this because it's so cool!!!

      • profile image

        Gabe 

        13 months ago

        You parents tell us to stay a kid for as long as we can but how can we do that if we’re forced to were uniforms. If I can’t express my self then how can I be me? How could you be you?

      • profile image

        Maria Mcguire 

        13 months ago

        i agree my daughters went through almost the same thing. we lost every thing and my daughters would get referrals for forgetting their uniforms. i want you to know Kelly Haulsey, that i am here for you we all are me,my girls, and my husband Mark Mcguire, and we love what you said. thank you!

      • profile image

        Kelly Haulsey 

        13 months ago

        comment #6 is wrong people express them selves through their clothing and they should not have to suffer like that. As a police officer and having two little girls Violet and Chloe who had too wear those was terrible for me to watch because my girls would come home crying because people would make fun of how they looked wearing those ridiculous uniforms.i think that i made the right choice taking them out of that school because they don't come home crying and it was way to much for me and it went over my budget. Sometimes we wouldn't eat most nights, but now that i took them out the i can pay for food, my house has been much cleaner so i can pay the made, and i have a boyfriend named Lucas Halsey, who i am having a baby with, who actually wants to help me and my kids because we are not running low on money any more. I parents if you are reading this you need to be aware that your child has to suffer from hiding who they really are with some dumb school outfit. Life has been much easier for me and my babies, and the school that they went to was Sue Buel Elementary and my daughters would come home with marks on their arms, legs, and face of hand prints and i called and the teachers were beating them, so i ask you do you want your kids to go through all of this for UNIFORMS!!!

      • profile image

        not important 

        13 months ago

        does anyone know when this article was made

      • profile image

        The Sorn Primary Unicorn 

        14 months ago

        School uniforms can be quite ugly sometimes and uncomfortable. They also make everyone look the same so nobody can recognise their stuff.

        :(

      • profile image

        Trinity 

        14 months ago

        School uniforms do not prevent bullying. Yes, bullying can be caused by appearance, but it can also be caused by personality or looks. Just because people wear a uniform, doesn't mean bullying will stop in schools.

      • profile image

        HaileyA 

        15 months ago

        In allowing loop hole accessories it makes the whole point of uniforms is pointless , if five people are wearing the same color collared shirt, while one out of the five is wearing a different brand all five are not wearing the same shirt, meaning it is not a uniform!!!

        Loop hole accessories still come with a price tag and some might even argue the fact that loop hole accessories meant to be small and not as noticeable would stand out more put on someone in a uniform, so if you do not give us the same clothes and the same brand down to the shoe, the point is well pointless, it's still class segregation, if I had a $200 watch and you had a $20 watch we could argue the fact that you could place me in a higher class demographic, which would fuel another point of segregation...

        point being if it's not the same color and the same brand it's not the same so, it's pointless!

        Give us back our choices and let us get made fun of or not get made fun of!

      • profile image

        shs 

        15 months ago

        School Uniforms do not prevent bullying

      • profile image

        No body important 

        15 months ago

        I don't want uniforms I express myself through my cloths. how are we going to express ourselves if its all boring non colorful clothing. : (

      • profile image

        Student 

        16 months ago

        Haha most of the against uniform comments here have terrible spelling /grammar mistakes - that's why you should listen in school more and maybe you will find that the uniform really don't matter lol

      • profile image

        Andrew 

        17 months ago

        kids should be able to wear whatever they want

      • profile image

        dsagusadui 

        18 months ago

        you go to school to learn not to have a fashion show

      • profile image

        Gaige Bunn 

        18 months ago

        I don't like them their stupid

      • profile image

        my name is jeff 

        18 months ago

        school uniforms are wierd and ugly im glad i dont have to were them

      • profile image

        Scorpion 

        18 months ago

        School uniforms are not a good I DEA because you can put on what you want instead of using school uniforms you will look much cooler than the school outfits

      • profile image

        master of bating animals 

        18 months ago

        pretty cooll

      • profile image

        Daniel 

        19 months ago

        I think school uniform makes you look smart

      • profile image

        Neo 

        21 months ago

        I think school uniforms is a great thing.

      • profile image

        hi 

        22 months ago

        hi i like the cons

      • profile image

        Sarah Wong 

        22 months ago

        Great website you got here, awesome explanation, as a grade four student, I salute you.

      • profile image

        Madhusudan Patel (D.A.V. school jaddupur Bhabua Kaimur Bihar) 

        2 years ago

        In my opinion ,there is obsolutely no need for uniforms in schools.Wearing a uniform does not show how disciplined a students.Students wear uniform simply because it is code of conduct.They are ridiculed if they do not wear uniform.If students were able to wear fashion clothes, the creativity of then can be shown Each student has different style and the styles define who they are.THEREFORE I feel uniforms are necessary.

      • profile image

        John Cena 

        2 years ago

        I think uniforms are very uncomfortable and bad.

      • profile image

        none of your beeswax 

        2 years ago

        school uniforms don't allow children to express their self

      • profile image

        k.p 

        2 years ago

        kids shouldn't wear school uniforms

      • profile image

        Wolvesandcats 

        2 years ago

        I would hate school uniforms. People are usually comfortable with what they like to wear. Besides, there is a lot of judgement in what students look like body wise because they are wearing the exact same thing. Some people get hotter or colder in places so uniforms would make certain students(like me) freezing cold and others burning up. Being the same can also be too strict for some students who like certain types of clothes they wear. Hairbands, bracelets, and necklaces can only do so much and students can't take after or during school classes if they have work and homework. At my school, no one cares what you wear as long as it is within the dress code. My friend used to go to a school with uniforms and said it was horrible and when you didn't have your uniform, they would make you change into a random uniform that might not be your size OR washed.

      • profile image

        Cool beast89 

        2 years ago

        school uniforms have terrible reasoning dress codes are way better.

      • Al Greenbaum profile image

        Al Greenbaum 

        2 years ago from Europe

        I am for school uniform. Ties, blazers, shoes not trainers - the whole thing. Student body needs to look immaculate. Plenty of time out of school to wear trendy tee shirts etc.

        Very nice hub. Congrats.

      • profile image

        fed 

        2 years ago

        they should be able to pick their own clothes it a free country people

      • profile image

        Humaira 

        2 years ago

        Abolished, definitely!

        Who on earth, would want to wear out of style clothes?

      • profile image

        Yay-For-School-Uniforms 

        2 years ago

        This was so helpful for my argumentative essays in school. Yay for school uniforms!!!!

      • profile image

        bailey 

        2 years ago

        people should be able to express there own style!

      • profile image

        plz aprove 

        2 years ago

        thx. anyway i think school unicorns are awesome because people are always trying to fit in, so with school unicorns, everyone wull be the sam.

      • profile image

        tuby helmets 

        2 years ago

        ew no just stop

      • profile image

        ew unirforms puke 

        2 years ago

        i think that scholl unifroms are reely stoopid. they need to go jump off a brige.

      • profile image

        2 years ago

        I have a speech about school uniforms and I am against it

      • profile image

        Ganaya Carter 

        2 years ago

        I believe that school uniforms take away students way of expression. Dress code helps cover the important parts of the body but letting them choose what to wear is giving them freedom and I feel like taking away that is basically taking away their freedom.

        Speaking on the religion most cases some kids have to follow a rule and that going against their religion

      • profile image

        bella 

        2 years ago

        i hate school uniforms because they are stupid

      • profile image

        booboo 

        2 years ago

        nooooo uniform because we might have to were the same thing over in over

      • profile image

        i hate school uniforms 

        2 years ago

        alot of people like uniforms and alot don't but i do not like school uniforms because you can not even be yourself and you wouldn't fell like yourself because you would have to wear what everyone else has to wear everyday and i think that if you were to have a uniform then at least ask for a day every week to wear what you want to wear . if you like school uniforms then go for it if you don't then do not go for it i mean i think it would be uncomfortable i mean private schools should have uniforms not public schools

      • profile image

        bekfest 

        2 years ago

        very helpful

      • profile image

        nene 

        2 years ago

        I think your very right about the pros good point

      • profile image

        poophole 

        2 years ago

        i agree

      • profile image

        Bibby 

        2 years ago

        school uniforms are not cheep they are very expensive for people to buy. If you go on websites most clothes can be givin for less then a penny. No uniforms shows self expression and how u are if u are being bullied you need to tell an adult right away.

      • Todd Ewbank profile image

        Todd Ewbank 

        2 years ago

        I agree with school uniforms, they create a sense of comrade, belonging and discipline. They also keep expense for families to a minimum, as only a couple to three uniforms need to be purchased, for school year. Not speaking of gym (shorts and socks) or sports uniforms, which should be afforded and provided by the school district. They only other thing that I suggest is that scout uniform wearing for scouts on scout meeting days, ROTC uniforms be worn by ROTC members on designated days and functions and a free dress day once a week should be permitted by the students, so long as the dress is appropriate for the student, form fitting slacks/jeans with belt, shirts and or polo's tucked into the jeans or pants/slacks, dresses, socks or pantyhose/tights or both.

      • Jackie Burnham profile image

        Jackie Burnham 

        2 years ago

        I am kind of in the middle with this one. I agree with the fact that school uniforms limit creativity in choosing which outfit the child wants to wear, however, on the other hand, uniforms promote unity and limit bullying.

      • profile image

        Zahraa 

        3 years ago

        Schools uniforms are not comfortable to wear because the skirts can be very tight and people things is not suitable for them

      • profile image

        Mansuri 

        3 years ago

        Detailed analysis of school uniforms which is really nice but i think,

        School uniforms are not always uncomfortable if it is of good quality and stuff .There is just a need to get the good supplier for it. http://bit.ly/1MjevIE

      • profile image

        n.k 

        3 years ago

        School uniform...... its boring to wear same dress through out a year ...The school should change this after evry year but it's too xpnsive at all ......so I agree with its CONS

      • profile image

        Autumn 

        3 years ago

        If your fellow students aren't bullying you for your shabby dress, they'll bully you for you body type or acne instead. The safety argument, however is better for when the school is on a field trip and does need a good way to keep track of students.

      • profile image

        SUP 

        4 years ago

        me too

      • profile image

        hello 

        4 years ago

        i AGREE

      • profile image

        hi 

        4 years ago

        students may not get bullied from their school but they might get bullied from someone from another school

      • profile image

        greeneyedblondie 

        4 years ago

        " School Uniforms Are Too Expensive" um, not as expensive as going back to school clothes shopping every single year and having to get a whole new out fit. If anything, it's cheaper to have uniforms.

      • profile image

        Gus 

        5 years ago

        Nnnnnnnnnnnnooo

      • profile image

        ftrtrt 

        5 years ago

        i like school uniforms.

      • profile image

        gabi 

        5 years ago

        dress code is good for some reasons but the can be less stricted

      • profile image

        Sandra 

        5 years ago

        I agree with the pros of school uniforms. As for curbing a student's creativity, there are other ways in which a child can express themselves c;

      • profile image

        D. Bernard 

        5 years ago

        I agree with the pros of school uniforms. As for curbing a student's creativity, there are other ways in which a child can express themselves, in the arts for example, as for cost, once a student has grown into a new uniform then they could get one from someone else if it is in good shape, and the right size, my aunt wore a uniform for high school, she got one that another girl didn't need anymore and happened to be her size. The school I attended didn't require uniforms, but if they did I would have had no problem with it.

      • FullOfLoveSites profile image

        FullOfLoveSites 

        5 years ago from United States

        In fairness to me, a uniform is okay. At least it saves you from deciding long on what to wear for a school day. And if it's costly, at least you could wear it for the rest of the school year -- it even saves you from further cost on spending more clothes. Another, it wouldn't lead others (especially girls) to wear type of clothes that catch the wrong attention.

        So I'd say wearing a uniform is practical. Individuality transcends beyond the clothes you wear, it's your personality that counts the most.

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      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
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      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)