School Uniform Controversy

Essay by kaufeehausekittyCollege, UndergraduateA+, March 2004

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In recent years, school districts have been permitted to establish dress codes. Former President Clinton, in his 1996 State of the Union address, endorsed school uniforms in public schools. There are school districts that have established written dress codes. Other school districts have established dress code policies that include the wearing of school uniforms. Many school districts have opted not to get involved in a dress uniform situation for many reasons. Not everyone is eager about having uniforms in public schools. The question still remains; Are uniforms a good or bad idea?

Uniforms were once the trademarks of private and Catholic schools. But public schools have recently shown an increase in the number of schools that have adopted uniform policies. The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) has reported that 10% of public school principals surveyed reported that their schools has adopted a uniform policy. There were 11% who were strongly considering adopting such a policy.

According to the NAESP survey, principals felt that school uniforms offered many positive benefits to their students. Students are able to stay more focused and disciplined throughout the school day. Principals reported that children often feel less social pressure when everyone in the school dresses the same way. Uniforms act as social equalizers. Students who can not be fashionable, due to limited family finances, are made to feel more comfortable among their peers (2000 NAESP Survey).

The school should be a place where there is a safe, disciplined, learning environment for the students. Violence destroys that kind of environment and negatively affects students' motivation for learning. According to Everett and Price's study, one in five students feel less eager to go to school due to violence, one in seven feel less inclined to pay attention to the teacher, and one in ten...