Twenty-three percent of schools in the state of Oklahoma require students to wear uniforms. Many people question the pros and cons of it. There are several reasons school uniforms are required.
One reason is the comparison of income from each child’s household. Uniforms create a level playing field for all kids, rich or poor. This is often found in private or independent schools. Students attending private school on a scholarship or receiving some financial aid don’t have to feel pressured to compete in terms of how they dress with their more affluent classmates.
A high percentage of public schools that require uniforms are low income and and most students are on free or reduced lunches. Schools in these areas deal with a lot of violence and bullying. According to NoBullying.com, 20 percent of students from grades 9-12 have been a victim to bullying because of what they wear. Uniforms help to decrease the bullying between students because every student is wearing the same outfit. Some people think that the brands of their clothing determines their social status.
Another reason schools prefer uniforms it enhances the students’ work ethic when they’re not worrying about fashion. Mark Twain once wrote, “The clothes make the man,” or in this case “The clothes make the student.” Mandatory uniform policies have made a distinct difference in many schools everywhere. High school students say they are happy to wear them because they can get ready faster and uniforms eliminate the stress of what to wear.
“I love the aspect of school uniform wearing that I will be ready in five minutes but I also feel it restricts us because for some people how you dress is part of how you make a statement,” says Nicole Harrell, a senior at Metro Christian Academy in Tulsa.
Dewey Bledsoe, a sophomore at Bishop Kelley High School, adds, “I like the convenience of school uniforms and waking up and not worrying about what I’m going to wear that day is such a relief.”
Another positive is safety, which is every school’s priority because having every student on campus matching makes it easier for a stranger on campus to be spotted. Studies on ProCon.org has found the pros outweigh the cons and students feel more secure when everyone is dressed alike. School is supposed to be a safe environment and school uniforms assist in that by eliminating bullying and prompting comparisons of income between students.
Although uniforms have a variety benefits on the contrary, there are some negatives. According to the Shorenstein Center at Harvard University, “Mandatory uniforms are controversial because a lot of parents and students don’t like the idea of forcing children to dress alike, which they say suppresses freedom of expression.”
There are other detriments to school uniforms. Deciding what students may wear can limit their creative outlets. Teenagers are in a critical time of their lives and are trying to discover who they are. One way of finding themselves and expressing themselves is through clothing, which can help them stand out from the crowd. If they’re extroverts or if they have more introverted personalities, clothing can help them blend in.