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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

Comments

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    • profile image

      Daniel 10 days ago

      I think school uniform makes you look smart

    • profile image

      Neo 2 months ago

      I think school uniforms is a great thing.

    • profile image

      hi 2 months ago

      hi i like the cons

    • profile image

      Sarah Wong 2 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) 5 months 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 6 months ago

      I think uniforms are very uncomfortable and bad.

    • profile image

      none of your beeswax 6 months ago

      school uniforms don't allow children to express their self

    • profile image

      k.p 6 months ago

      kids shouldn't wear school uniforms

    • profile image

      Wolvesandcats 7 months 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 7 months ago

      school uniforms have terrible reasoning dress codes are way better.

    • Al Greenbaum profile image

      Al Greenbaum 7 months 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 7 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Humaira 7 months ago

      Abolished, definitely!

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

    • profile image

      Yay-For-School-Uniforms 7 months ago

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

    • profile image

      bailey 8 months ago

      people should be able to express there own style!

    • profile image

      plz aprove 8 months 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 8 months ago

      ew no just stop

    • profile image

      ew unirforms puke 8 months ago

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

    • profile image

      8 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Ganaya Carter 8 months 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 8 months ago

      i hate school uniforms because they are stupid

    • profile image

      booboo 8 months ago

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

    • profile image

      i hate school uniforms 8 months 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 8 months ago

      very helpful

    • profile image

      nene 8 months ago

      I think your very right about the pros good point

    • profile image

      poophole 10 months ago

      i agree

    • profile image

      Bibby 10 months 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 12 months 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 13 months 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 19 months 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 2 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 2 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 2 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 2 years ago

      me too

    • profile image

      hello 2 years ago

      i AGREE

    • profile image

      hi 2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      greeneyedblondie 2 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 3 years ago

      Nnnnnnnnnnnnooo

    • profile image

      ftrtrt 3 years ago

      i like school uniforms.

    • profile image

      gabi 3 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Sandra 3 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 3 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 3 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.