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Are Uniforms Better for School?

Should students have to wear school uniforms or is a dress code enough?

This is not just a question, but a topic of burning debate. This debate is still in flames and seems to stay ablaze for long. Many experts are in favor of school uniforms, while a few straightly deny of its significance or use.

For decade, a large section of population has clashed over this issue. Schools, students and parents showed interest in regulation of school uniform. In 2007, these cases caught fire and turn people against the Government. People came on streets wearing anti-Bush T-shirt (Vermont), anti-gay T-shirt (San Diego) and Tigger socks (Napa, California), made court their next stop. This incidence was so quaking that made people wonder the verdict of this turbulent issue.

Meanwhile, researchers were busy in gauging the impact of the dress policies. They wanted to make sure if there is any such thing and if it does, how is it impacting the study culture. A book released in 2004 gave form to the case; as per the book, school uniforms were neither helpful in improving academic discipline or school safety. On the counter, a report of 2005 study exhibits the improved attendance rates and graduation in some Ohio high schools, however no progress in academic performance was reported.

Why public schools stress on school uniforms?
School uniform is public schools is the result of old customs and tradition. In the 1980s, catholic schools unfavorably dominated public schools. Not looking to any huge benefit and just to match up the standards, public schools decided to adopt the school uniform policy.

The reform was support by President Clinton. Soon the movement gained momentum, especially when President spoke in favor in his Union speech (1996). According to the president, school uniform will bring uniformity among students and eradicate the thick line of status difference.

Advantages and disadvantages of school uniforms

    What supports say about school-uniforms?
  • Prevent and reduce the probability of forming gangs on campus
  • Add discipline to school ambience
  • Prevent students from getting indulged in buying trendy clothes
  • Help to differ students from intruders
  • Diminish all the prevailing social and economic among students
  • Elevates the sense of working in unity for school's pride and welfare
  • Enhances the rate of attendance
    What Opponents say about school uniforms?
  • Confines the right or freedom of expression
  • It is like a Band-aid Solution to the entire matter of school violence
  • Students are more likely to get bullied by students of other schools
  • Weakens financial structure of the poor families
  • Acts as an additional expenditure for parents, who seek free public education for their kids along with paying taxes
  • Public schools should not look like military camps

Dress Codes vs. Uniforms

When it comes to adhere the concept of uniformity the parameters followed by districts and schools vary widely.

School Dress code - What is it?
In general, dress codes do not have any precise restrictions as uniform policies do. But in some places, dress codes do come with strict restrictions, like that of a middle school of California (Napa). This particular school follows a dress code that makes students wear solid plain colors. Images or logos on clothes are strictly banned.

The school confronted a case, on sending a student to detention because of her wearing socks embellished with an image of Tigger (Winnie-the-Pooh's character). This incident disturbed the girl's family, for which they sued the school for violating the freedom of speech. Later in August, 2007, relaxation in dress code was announced by the school district, but only for a time being and allowed fabrics and images. While offering relaxation in dress code that has raised concerns of religious and political bodies, the district superintendent, made evident his intention to adopt the uniforms policy for the district.

Dress codes seem to come with strict regulations, which make uniforms a way easier option to follow and implement. Evaluate the cases where students are challenging policies associated with dress codes in the courts.

You may also evaluate the conditions with your school to gauge the differences and see whether the policies are fair or not. For example, in Oklahoma (Tulsa), the dress code includes following restrictions:

  • Any type of body ornamentation or decorations, such as symbols, words, mottoes, acronyms conveying vulgar, crude, profane, gang related, violent, suggestive or sexually explicit messages.
  • Baggy or very lose clothes (this prohibition is basically meant to prevent students from unnecessary "sagging")
  • Tattered clothes and clothes with holes
  • Bandanas, scarves, curlers, or sweatbands are restricted inside the school buildings (only valid for religious attire)
  • Strapless garments
  • Visible undergarments
  • Bare midriffs, bare-back dresses and deep low-cut necklines are restricted
  • Wearing tights, bike shorts, leggings, pajamas or swim suits as outerwear
  • Piercings (only ear piercing is acceptable)
  • Dog collars, studs, tongue rings, large hair picks, wallet chains, or chains are prohibited, especially those that are worn on body.

What's a School Uniform?
Uniform is often visualized as white shirts with ties for male students, pleated skirts for female students and school logo adorned blazers for all. Another form of school uniform may simply require wearing collared shirts.

In Ohio, Toledo, students studying in elementary school can access limited palette of colors to wear, which includes light blue, white, yellow and dark blue or dark blue, Khaki, navy or tan palette.

Toledo girls can access a fair range of dress items, including blouses, turtlenecks, skirts, collared polo shirts, slacks, jumpers, and knee-length skirts and shorts. Boys do have some of the common choices like dress shirts, button-down shirts, polos, turtlenecks, knee-length shorts or shorts.

It is very evident that this debate over public school uniforms covers many huge issues than just what children should wear. It is more about freedom of expression, school improvement, and the "culture wars." It is quite understandable why debate over dress code is not looking to cool off.