School Uniforms

School uniforms have been debated for a while now, and perhaps the origin of the argument could be traced to President Clinton when he mentioned them in his 1996 Sate of the Union Address, “I challenge all our schools to teach character education, to teach good values and good citizenship. And if it means that teenagers will stop killing each other over designer jackets, then our public schools should be able to require their students to wear school uniforms. Since then, the implementation of school uniforms has become a trend to teachers and school districts throughout the US.

It has been argued that school uniforms will decrease violence and put a stop to gang membership, as well as help identify intruders and give students a sense of belonging through conformity of dress. Other factors such as dress codes and discipline are reasons for school uniforms as well although some may say that school systems are incompetent in implementing policies. One can be sure that school districts and superintendents realize that regardless of dress there will always be the school bully. And if a student truly is motivated toward violence he will carry out those means regardless of enforced rules. It seems that the so-called bigger-ups have an agenda to push, and that is egalitarianism. This agenda is being inculcated at such an early age in elementary schools in some parts of the nation, the need for authority and equality. Despite this apparent crusade for sameness and the attitude of doing what one is told, stratification will always win out. There will always be the jocks, the nerds, the outcasts, and the preps, and each group won’t accept every student into their clique.

 In the push for school uniformity it has become clear that some of these pushers manipulate the circumstances of student trends. They make the claim that because of the desire of new styles in fashion, students wearing old-fashioned clothes will be picked on and so the uniform will negate these distractions. Mansi Chitranshi of states,

In our contemporary world, children have become much more conscious of their clothes and appearance. This basically echoes our contemporary ideals and the concentration of adults in garments. Kids can, nonetheless, without some of the reasonable influences that come with age and understanding, become much more fanatical with clothes and latest fashion trends. Children who come to school in old-fashioned attire can be mocked at, becoming a laughing stock or even tormented. The expense of those clothing and clashes connected with them leads many schools and parents to review the school uniform.

What these people fail to realize is that in this new age students are concerned with a lot more than just clothing. This is the new age of technology. Students have far more distractions in classes from their iPhones and Blackberries.

 Clothes have nothing to do with education at least academically. But they have many things to do with social etiquette. Alongside education, high school is a time for refining social skills and judgment. At this time if a girl wears a lot of revealing clothing she may be the center for negative comments and unwelcome attraction. The same is true for boys, being bullied for a style of dress. It would seem that school uniforms would interfere in this time of “shaping,” where attributes that carryover into adulthood are made such as judgment, discrimination, and core beliefs. Although in the argument against school uniforms, too much emphasis is placed on self-expression. Individuality is indeed a key to the Self but there are other greater factors to reckon with besides expression. One of those includes the abusing of power. School boards become dictators in their empires of mediocrity and some smack of fascism through their enforcing of degenerate rules and guidelines. Self-identity should not be limited to clothing, but rather the whole perspective of who one is. Knowing one’s self is dangerous.

The heated debate of school uniforms gets even more heated. Long Beach, California, was the first district to implement mandatory school uniform policies. The district reported that crime dropped by sixty-seven percent, vandalism by eighty-two percent, and robbery by thirty-five percent. During a telephone interview in April 1996, Dick Van Der Laan, Long Beach Unified School District spokesperson, stated that the only change that had occurred in the district, before the results, was the implementation of the uniform policy. However, in a study conducted by Drs. David L. Brunsma and Kerry A. Rockquemore from the University of Notre Dame, a closer look at the Long Beach case showed that several other reforms were put into action at the same time or shortly prior to the implementation of the uniform policy. So, while uniforms were the most visible change, the improvements were more likely attributable to other programs. We can conclude based on this research that student uniforms had no direct effect on behavioral problems. Could this be a display of the abusing of power by school boards, where they become dictators in their empire of mediocrity?

In some personal experiences some schools are becoming too power hungry, as demonstrated above. Teachers, principals, and school boards obtain a little bit of power and exploit it every chance they get by reminding students and parents that they are over them, a power trip. School officials are becoming totalitarians creating an illusion of egalitarianism. The inculcation of young generations to accept whatever authority has been placed upon them without question. Do what one is told is the new curriculum.