School Uniforms

Danielle - Cottonwood Heights, Utah
Entered on July 30, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

When thinking about what a school uniform might look like; a group of girls and boys all wearing the same colored uniforms assembled in front of the catholic private school down the block is another picture that comes to my mind. Such images, of students dressing in school uniforms, have led to stereotyping and a negative attitude towards schools enforcing a uniform policy. Children are presented as robots without the ability to express themselves in a society that promotes self-expression and individuality. The problem is that the cost of expressing oneself and being an individual can be astronomical. Students are competing for fashion instead of academics in the school system. In recent history public schools have considered uniforms to be an ancient and somewhat draconian trend, though recently the provincial government has attempted to implement and enforce a uniform policy in our public school system. The implementation of a school uniform policy is important and necessary to improve the success of the students. Some of the key benefits are safety, cost, and uniformity. The whole concept and appeal of brand name clothing is so ingrained into our simplistic minds, that it is uncommon to see any student not wearing or carrying at least one piece of such merchandise. Issuing a school backpack, shoes and a hat would eliminate the students need to wear brand name clothing or accessories of any kind. However, by doing this, we come across the problem of individuality, which is just as important to a student’s success in life as their study habits. By offering a broader selection of school colors and styles, it is possible to feed the need for individuality while at the same time affording them the opportunity to conform to the rules of the school. The cost of implementing a uniform policy must also be looked at closely. The social norm that all families have different degrees of economic status requires us to address this matter. A destitute family should not be forced to spend all their money on uniforms so their children could go to school. There is a simple solution to this financial problem. Giving out uniforms for free or at a subsidized rate would alleviate the financial burden from the homes of the less fortunate, giving them the chance to succeed in life. In doing so, the doors will be open to those who could not afford to buy a school uniform, and thus not attend school. It is possible to educate a whole new social class who can become successful in life. The development of a better system for basic education holds the utmost importance to every individual. A student receiving a better education will have a greater chance to be a contributing member of society. The responsibility of the schools and lawmakers is to improve conditions present in a school environment to make it as nurturing to mental growth as possible. It is irrefutable that if changes are not made to our current system, a system that oppresses the financially challenged, one that forces competitiveness in fashion rather than intellect, then the repercussions could be very perturbing and irreversible.