A group of small boys and girls all warring the same colored uniforms assembled in front of a catholic school is what I imagine when thinking about school uniforms. This is probably what most people imagine. They have been attached to students of European and private schools. Such pictures of students dressing in school uniforms have led to stereotyping and a negative attitude towards schools enforcing a uniform policy. Displayed as robots without the ability to express them selves in a society that says you must express yourself and be an individual at all cost. The problem is that the cost to express yourself and be an individual is high in some cases, in Detroit, a 15-year-old boy was killed for his $86 basketball shoes (Tweeters 1997). I believe that cost is to high, it would be better to be laughed at and teased about warring a nerdy uniform, than to be shot by some gang member that did not like the color of the pants I'm warring.
School uniforms have been the cause of many jokes and harassment to those who wore them. In the past, public schools considered uniforms old and out dated trends, though recently many public schools are starting to implement and enforce a uniform policy. The implementation of a school uniform policy is important if we are still striving to improve our students. The arguments against them are fading while the positive reasons are promoting school uniforms and gaining ground. Some of the possible benefits are safety, cost, uniformity and competition in academics instead of fashions. The main argument against them is the need for students to express their individual selves; this argument is losing ground compared to the benefits of the uniform policy. Today many public schools are mandating and enforcing school uniforms for their students. San Antonio School district requires all 60,000 of its students to wear uniforms; over 60% of Fort Worth's elementary schools require their students to ware uniforms (Radcliffe 1999). In 1995, the Texas legislature gave public school districts the authority to require uniforms under Texas State Law 11.162 of the Texas Education Code. (Appendix A). The law however is a voluntary law; schools are not required to have a uniform policy. A Dallas attorney Domingo Garcia has filed a proposed legislation that would make it mandatory to wear uniforms in Grades k-12 in Texas (Ramos 1997). The first fundamental issue that school board officials and law makers should look at before they make new policies and laws concerning school uniforms is, will these new laws and policies have a positive impact on students overall performance. This would not be limited to academic performances only but should also include other socially learned behavior that will enhance the students ability to conform to the social norms needed to be successful in today's society. People for uniforms say that the academic performance has been and will increase by having the students ware them (Caruso 1996). A lessened degree of attention and concern with fashion will enable a better condition for serious study, as well as lesson the cultural and economic challenges of students and parents. (Cohn 1996, Paliokos 1996) Nathan Minster, a seventh grader at Country Day of Arlington said, " Uniforms provide a better educational atmosphere, and symbolize school spirit. If all students dress alike, their attention will not focus on Johnny's new Tommy Hilfiger outfit." (Teeters 1996). Any situation that does not promote the improvement of students in school should be looked at and studied to find ways to change the situation. There are no positive aspects to worrying about not having the money to buy the coolest and newest fashions. Would it not be better to strive and worry about who can get the best grade or do the best science project. Is the reduction of crime going to help improve our students? We must agree that there is no part of our student's lives that can be improved by the atmosphere of crime....
Bibliography: Resources Bell, Becky. "LISD group focuses on school uniforms" Longview News Journal 22 March 2000; Local "California Leads nation in Public School Uniform Use." California School News 31 March 1997: 4 Caruso, Peter. "Individuality vs. Conformity: The Issue Behind School Uniforms." NASSP Bulletin 8,581 September 1996: 83-88. Chon, Carl A. "Mandatory School Uniforms." The School Administrator 53, 2 February 1996: 22-25 Grantham, Kimberly. "Restricting Student Dress in Public Schools." School Law Bulletin 25, Winter 1994: 1-10 Long Beach Crime Report Summary. http://www.lbusd.k12.ca.us/ Paliokas, Kathleen L. "Trying Uniforms On for Size." The American School Board Journal 183, 5 May 1996: 32-35 Proverbs. The Bible. The Living Bible. 3; 3-5 Radcliffe, Jennifer. "Irving joins movement supporting required attire." Star Telegram 25 March 1999 http://netarrant.net/news/doc/1047/1:NEA/1:NEA032599.html Ramos, Cindy. "Capitol moves" San Antonio Express-News 1 April 1997 Metro- Education Express: 4B Richardson, Ginger. "Student uniforms in vogue at schools in Fort Worth Officials report success of voluntary clothing programs." Fort Worth Star Telegram, 16 August 1995; Metro Teeters, Amy. "Growing up in uniform style." Fort Worth Star-Telegram 18 February 1997: Class Acts: 9 Texas State Law 11.162 of the Texas Education Code. http://www.tea.state.tx.us
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