Ivy Tech Community College
April 15, 2012
School Uniforms: The Answer to Help Improve Safety and Create a Better Learning Environment for Public Schools in America
Public schools across America are searching for ways to improve safety, the sense of equality and to also help parents save money. One way to improve all these issues would be to adopt a school uniform policy. The adoption of the uniform policies will help improve public schools in America.
School uniforms are defined as a set of standardized clothes worn primarily for an educational institute, usually in a primary or secondary school system. Male uniforms usually consist of dark short or long pants, and a light-colored shirt, and in some schools, ties must be worn. Female uniforms usually vary, but mainly consist of a dress or blouse worn either with a skirt or pants. This type of uniforms seems to be pretty strict and unfair to the students but the actual uniforms worn at most public schools consist of a polo shirt with pants, shorts, or skirts. In 1987, Cherry Hill Elementary School in Baltimore, Maryland, became the first school to adopt a uniform policy (Education Bug, 2010). After this school district successfully implemented a uniform policy, there was a dramatic increase in the use of school uniforms in the United States, which was inspired by former President Bill Clinton. President Clinton proposed a challenge to all of our schools to teach character education, along with good values and good citizenship. If it means that our teenagers will stop killing each other over designer labels, then schools should require students to wear a uniform everyday to school (Brunsma, 2006). His speech was just the beginning of the very controversial uniform debate, and people on both sides of the arguments have tried hard to make sure that their case is heard.
The main reason uniforms should be implemented is because uniforms can improve safety in schools in many ways. According to Stephen Daniels (2001), who is the director of research for the North Carolina Family Policy Council, dress codes and uniforms reduce conflict associated with name brand and gang related clothing, decrease the gap between the poorer and richer students, and encourage a sense of equality that helps with the overall order and discipline. Daniel’s gives statistics to show the effectiveness of school uniforms according to principals that have a uniform policy in their schools: 79 percent believe uniforms have positive effects on classroom discipline; 67 percent saw an improvement in student concentration; 62 percent noticed a positive effect on school safety; and 75 percent indicated a positive effect on peer pressure among students (2001). Uniforms take some of the judgments away from labels some students acquire because of the clothing they wear. The positive effects from this can reduce the current problem of bullying in schools, which is a major issue in the United States today. Uniforms can also help with school safety by reducing ways in which gang members can identify themselves, decreasing the number of conflicts stemming from socioeconomic status, such as comments and personal attacks about who has better clothes, and helping school faculty to easily identify non student trespassers, and other visitors in the hallways who would stand out in a crowd. Safety in schools today is essential, and creating an environment that reduces incidents of intimidation and violence is essential for students to learn. Evidence of the effects of a uniform policy can be seen after Californians Long Beach school district adopted a uniform policy. Since they began the policy, crime in the district has dropped 91 percent, vandalism dropped 69 percent, and sex offenses have dropped 96 percent. It should be noted that these...