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By killerwhaleee Jan 11, 2013 1063 Words
s. There are so many strong opinions about what direction parents, students, and administrators want to go in. It has been argued that school uniforms have the potential to make a school safer, that uniforms reduce bullying or self-image issues, and that uniforms return the focus to the students' education. I disagree. I actually think that school uniforms do not help make our schools a safer place, I think that they do not return the focus to student's education - they just shift where the focus was before, and that they will not help cut down on bullying or self-issues in school. It has been argued that school uniforms would promote safety in our schools. After all, if everyone is wearing the same thing, it would be easier to pick out who on the campus is not a student or faculty member. It is also argued that school uniforms discourage thefts among students, since the competition (designer clothes-wise), would no longer be there. According to PHS commentator Melissa Nitsch, "when everyone looks alike, there is less risk of being caught in gang fights for wearing the wrong color. With uniforms, no one is killed over a pair of Nikes or a Starter jacket." However, most public schools already have policies in place stating that certain colors should not be worn to school, in areas where this would be an issue - so what has a uniform really solved? If the students aren't wearing those colors to begin with, then why do we feel the need to impose uniforms? "Recently, the A.C.L.U. represented twenty-six families in a school uniform lawsuit against the Long Beach Unified School District. Although the case resulted in an out-of-court settlement, and both sides tentatively agreed to certain provisions, this case raised important issues concerning our legal rights. Barbara Bernstein, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, reaffirmed the opinion of the A.C.L.U. when she stated that requiring school uniforms is not only illegal, it is not the solution to the school system's problems." I actually think that when these statements are truly analyzed, we find that neither is a satisfactory argument for uniforms making our schools safer. If everyone on the campus wears the same thing, would it not stand to reason that anyone who wanted to blend in, simply had to buy the same colors/uniform that all the students or the faculty are wearing? A quick drive by of the school would show an outsider exactly what to wear if they wanted to go unnoticed on the campus. As far as theft of personal property - I do not see how uniforms could lessen that. If you take away a student's opportunity to express themselves in their clothing, they will express it some other way - accessories, shoes and book bags would be a start. All that would be accomplished would be the shifting of the focus, of what one student has and another does not, from clothing to other items. This would mean that personal property would just as likely be stolen if they child had a uniform or if they did not. Uniforms do not mean equality for students - they just mean that everyone has the same colored shirts and pants. There will always be issues with some students having more than others, and there is no way to take that out of the school system - or the real world for that matter. Other people reason that with school uniforms, the focus in schools will not center so much on competition and individualism - but on the school work and education. I couldn't agree less. I think that schools have a responsibility to teach children what they need to know in order to succeed in the real world - and in the real world, we do not all dress exactly the same. Individualism is a very important tool to all of us, and should not be completely stamped out in young people. Teachers do not expect every single essay to be identical word for word, from their students - why would we expect the same type of conformity from their dress code? I think that focusing on education in the school system is extremely important, but uniforms should not be seen as a tool to maintain/acquire that focus. If children are focusing more on their clothes and what items they or other students do/do not have - the school needs to re-evaluate the strength of their curriculum. What children are wearing in the classroom should have no bearing on what is expected of them as students. Also, uniforms do not reinforce the basic principles of education - being taught what is needed to be successful in the 'real world', once the child is no longer in the school system. While some jobs require uniforms, most just require a basic dress code. Shouldn't our schools reflect this? If a child has been taught to wake up every day without thought of what to wear, how will they adjust to the same routine when they have a job with a dress code of business casual? How will they relate to their peers? As Dr. Alan Hilfer, a senior child and adolescent psychologist said: "Clothes are an expression for children, and as children get older, they become increasingly resentful of uniforms". Uniforms are not the answer to the problems we are facing in our schools today - they may seem like a good idea, but when looked at deeper, all uniforms do is cover up the focus of the real issues that need to be worked out. If safety is a concern, we shouldn't be looking to a uniform to correct the issue - if the concern is children not focusing on school work, or getting poor grades, again, uniforms should not be seen as a 'solution'. We have a responsibility to teach our children as much as we can in a safe environment, and those are serious issues that can not be solved by putting all children in the same outfit. If all the children are wearing the same thing, you still have an issue with safety and poor education - and now you have a student body that is being taught not to express their individualism. Uniforms in some cases, add to a school's issues, they do not solve them.

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