10 Reasons School Uniforms Are a Bad Idea and School Uniforms Should Be Banned
In the past few years, more and more schools have been requiring their students to wear uniforms. As many as one in eight American public schools have been implementing this policy. While there are many advocates for the continuous usage of school uniforms, there is another side that rallies against it. Why? You’ll find out in the list below.
First, a Brief History of Uniforms
Although the uniform requirement has just been recently imposed, uniforms have been in existence for several centuries now. The first documented usage of a ‘standard’ garment in education was in 1222, where students were required to wear a “cappa clausa” or a robe-like outfit.
Fast forward to 16th century England, students of the Christ Hospital Boarding School became the fathers of the ‘modern school uniform.’ These children wore blue cassocks and yellow stockings, to mirror the look of the clergymen who looked after them. Up to now, this uniform is still in use, making it the ‘oldest uniform in history.’
School Uniforms in the United States
While the English have long been using uniforms, the United States was quite loose with the uniform system. Only the students of private and parochial schools were first required to wear uniforms – at least until 1987. Maryland and Washington DC were the first states to implement uniforms in public schools. Later on, other states followed suit.
Despite such changes, all states are not compelled to require uniforms. However, more and more school districts are going against this ruling. If your school directors are thinking of doing so, then make sure to let them read these top 10 reasons why school uniforms are a bad idea.
10. Uniforms Only Fuel Commercial Interests
Sad as it might seem, uniforms are only stimulating commercial interests. They are not solving the concerns that they are geared for. In fact, numerous companies treat the uniform system as a major source of revenue. After all, Americans shell out a whopping $1 billion dollars every year!
Because of the limitless profits that go with uniforms, it comes as no surprise why more and more corporations are lobbying for the requirement of these homogenized outfits. Institutions such as Lands’ End are funding marketing efforts specifically targeted towards public schools. Similar institutions are also subsidizing studies that advocate the effectiveness of uniforms. So if you read an article that says uniforms are beneficial, there is a huge probability that it is biased.
With that being said, it’s fair to say that such institutions are supporting studies on uniforms not because of concern, but because of the impact it has on their businesses. It can be said that they are selling their uniforms not because the students need it, but because they can earn lots from it. Why rally behind a cause that will not really benefit you or your child, for that matter?
While revenues that come from uniforms stimulate the American economy, they don’t support it the right way. Consumers – sadly, the low-income ones – suffer a lot because of these commercial interests. You wouldn’t want the poor to get the poorer, and the rich to get richer – especially if it’s the wrong, selfish way. Although it isn’t obvious, uniforms do fuel wicked commercial interests, and they should be stopped before more hard-wasted money is lost.
9. Uniforms can be Detrimental to Adult Development
The path to adult development is honed throughout the duration of early schooling. However, your transition towards adulthood can be hindered with uniforms. Since it is mandatory, you are not given the chance to decide for yourself, which is one of the hallmarks of adulthood.
You know you are an adult when you are given the freedom to choose – whether you like this or that. When you were young, you know you are not an adult yet because your parents (aka the ‘adults’) made the decision for you.
However, when you are restricted to wearing uniforms in school, you are denied the opportunity to make decisions for yourself. After all, you do not have a choice because the others have already made it for you.
Although this issue might be seen as a simple one, it can have a huge toll in a child’s transition to adulthood. Because he was not able to make choices when he was young, he will most likely be unprepared for the rigors of the adult world.
This dilemma is rightly reflected in Erik Erikson’s stages of psycho-social development. The stage of adolescence is seen as a crucial one, for in this phase the person asks who he is and what he can be. Most importantly, he can either develop identity or role confusion.
Clothing is considered as one of the means of building an identity, and without the freedom to choose, the development of such – as well as his transition to adulthood – can be severely dampened.
8. Uniforms can affect one’s Self-Image
Uniforms aim to give everybody a homogeneous look, right? Instead of improving a student’s self-image because he looks just like the others, it actually does the opposite. Students have different weights, body types and heights. Whenever one looks at himself in the mirror, he depreciates his self-image because he feels like he doesn’t look his best.
Unfortunately, this case is often seen in girls, who feel ‘embarrassed’ when they go to school in uniforms. According to development psychologists, ladies have the huge tendency to compare how they look in uniforms. This is especially the case when the student sees herself to have a curvy or plus-size body. This also happens to girls who deem themselves very short or very tall.
I can go on and on about how uniforms affect self-image, but the most concrete evidence proves to be the results of a study conducted by researchers from the Arizona State University. The paper, entitled “Public School Uniforms: Effect on Perceptions of Gang Presence, School Climate, and Student Self-Perceptions,” shows that students who are not required to wear school uniforms demonstrated higher self-perception scores. That means these students have better views of self-image, compared to those who have to suffer the pains of wearing uniforms to school.
7. Uniforms Actually Attract Bullies
If you thought that requiring all students to wear uniforms can lessen the chances of bullying, you are dead wrong! In fact, it can actually increase the incidence of bullying, especially in school districts where violence rates are soaring.
A 1999 study conducted by experts from Texas Southern University showed that bullying incidents increased by as much as 12%, after the implementation of mandatory uniform wearing.
Echoing this sentiment is a 2007 study published in the Southwest Journal of Criminal Justice. According to the research, assaults increased by as much as 14 incidences yearly, right after the introduction of school uniforms.
A similar finding was discovered by the Office of Education, Evaluation, and Management of the Miami-Dade County. Violence, especially in the middle schools, increased by a hundred fold after the students were required to wear uniforms.
Simply put, research shows that uniforms do not actually stop bullying. People think that these can stop the violence, but they actually don’t. Even when everybody’s wearing the same thing, a student’s distinct personality will still stand out.
Although clothes serve as a primary basis for violence and bullying, bullies eventually find another way to show their status – that they are still better than their contemporaries.
According to academician Tony Volk, an expert on bullying, “There is no evidence in bullying literature that supports a reduction in violence due to school uniforms.” Even minus the uniform, he adds that bullies can come up with other reasons that can justify violence and aggression towards their fellow students.
6. Uniforms are Boring!
Whatever way you look at it, homogeneity is definitely boring. Seeing the same thing over and over again can be a ghastly sight for most. The fact that uniforms are boring is a definite reason why requiring it in schools is a bad idea.
There are many reasons why uniforms boring, and I could go on and on. But I’m not writing a novel, so I’ll make my reasons short and sweet.
First, uniforms are boring because of their colors. More often than not, uniforms come in the most tedious of colors. It’s always navy blue, green, khaki, black and other dull colors. Pro-uniforms say these clothes help prepare the children for their future occupations. The last I checked I was allowed to wear lively clothes at work (as long as they are respectable-looking, of course.)
Another reason why uniforms suck is the patterns. It’s always checkered or plaid, if you are lucky enough that your uniform does not come in a single block color.
And to further add insult to injury, you have to wear the same, boring day every freaking school day. Could I get an amen on this?
School can be boring at times – so why require students to wear uniforms that are just as (if not more than) boring? If we want our kids to enjoy school – no matter how hard the lessons might be – a great start would be to let them wear clothes that they’ll be happy in.