Do uniforms make schools better?
For the past decade, schools, parents and students have clashed over the issue of regulating student attire. Over the last few years, cases involving an anti-Bush T-shirt in Vermont made their way through the courts, causing many to wonder whether this debate will ever be resolved. Most researchers’ state that uniforms do not help with academic performance however, improvements in attendance rates and graduation rates have been observed. School districts across the country are battling over this issue with the help of parents.
While private and parochial schools have long required students to follow a dress code or wear uniforms, public schools have usually allowed students to wear what they (and their parents) like. Pro-uniform parents say that only worked because schools used to be safer. Now that kids are getting mugged for their designer clothes and expensive sneakers, school uniforms seem a safer alternative to many. Furthermore, uniforms prevent gang members from wearing gang colors and insignia to school, and make it easier for security guards to spot intruders. Others also state that school uniforms encourage discipline, help students resist peer pressure to buy trendy clothes, improve attendance, and most importantly diminish economic and social barriers between students.
Those on the other side are not so thrilled to hear that uniforms might have a chance of ending up in public schools. They argue that school uniforms violate a student’s right to freedom of expression, make students a target for bullies from other schools, are a financial burden for poor families, are an unfair additional expense for parents who pay taxes for a free public education, and are difficult to enforce in public schools. Some opponents believe uniforms squash creativity and free expression and worry that they could prevent students from expressing their religious or political beliefs. Now you can choose what side you want to support....
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