School Uniforms

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Hayden Leach
Ms. Layton
American Literature
February 25, 2010
School Uniforms
Many students in America are forced to wear a uniform to school every day, and it violates some of their basic rights. School uniforms should not be mandatory in public schools, as they cause more problems than they solve, are expensive for students and schools, and suppress individuality. School uniforms are in some cases, extremely expensive and quite pointless, seeing as how they do not accomplish what they say they can. Furthermore, they are suppressive, unproductive, and in some cases can have exactly the opposite effect on the students of a school, creating a gang mentality or further dividing the student body (“Dress Codes”). School uniforms have a rather long history, dating back to the 16th century in England, and have continued until the present day. These are only a few of the negative side effects uniforms can have, and there are several others.

Uniforms were first introduced in 16th century England at the charity schools offered for poor and in many cases homeless children. It was not until the 19th century that the many of the more esteemed English public schools began establishing uniforms and in the years to follow they were widely accepted at most all state schools, this was especially true at state elementary schools. In 1993, Will Rogers Middle School, located in California’s Long Beach County School District, began contemplating the idea of a school-wide uniform policy. That year, Will Rogers became the very first school in Long Beach County to have a mandatory school uniform policy (Dress Codes). Other schools in that district soon followed, which drew national attention, as well as a personal visit from then President Clinton. President Clinton encouraged other school districts to make the transition to uniforms in his 1996 State of the Union Address, primarily owing to the rising amount of school shootings (Dress Codes). In some countries, such as China,...
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