The years that we as individuals are in primary school is a testing-ground for the development of our personalities and values. A common occurrence during this phase is individuals vying to look original—to appear different than the ‘crowd.’ Our appearance, clothes, and style is one of the most efficient ways to express our uniqueness. These facets of expression aid others in reaching an understanding of who we are, and why. However, there has been an ongoing debate on whether school uniforms should be abolished in schools, both private and public, or if uniforms should become a compulsory addition to all middle-level educational institutions in the United States (Gregory, Pull House). Despite the friction between the pros and cons, I personally gravitate towards the idea that school uniforms should be introduced in primary public and private schools ubiquitously. Wearing school uniforms does not promote unfair comparisons between students’ incomes in terms of clothing, they aid students in developing their inner qualities instead of focusing on the outer aspects of themselves in the crucial earlier years of their lives, and provides a platform for practicing discipline.
Wearing uniforms is a prudent way to diminish the chance of humiliation in a school environment. While most private schools already have established a particular uniform to be worn within the institution at all times by students, public schools mostly remain more liberal and only have a more-or-less strict dress code. Nevertheless, it is essential to acknowledge that public schools tend to have a more diverse student population from different cultural backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses (Populus, Generation W). Some students have parents with high incomes who can afford to buy fashionable and costly clothes for their children. But there are also those teens who are forced to buy low-cost outfits at discount retail stores. From this viewpoint, if all students wear identical clothes, a reduction in humiliation will occur in comparison.
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Another point to consider is the way varied clothing detracts teenagers from gaining inner knowledge. Teens tend towards wearing fancy, strange, or colorful clothes (Pep, Style Teen). Some individuals at the age of 16 already have piercings or tattoos. If from an early age, children become conditioned to paying too much attention to the way people dress, instead of looking to enriching their inner being, acquiring new skills and knowledge, we should expect a materialistic and a emotionally-restrained society in the nearest future and even in the present. Wearing a uniform would aid in having students pay more attention to their personalities rather than looks. The main concept behind enforcing a law that would require a nationwide school uniform implementation is that it would aid children in understanding that they should develop their inner beauty and not get involved with unsavory company and fake friends.
Another benefit of school uniforms is that it teaches children discipline and conformity—qualities that they need to imbibe so that later in life they can abide by complex governmental laws and a plethora of social norms. Though self-expression is undoubtedly important in a democratically-regulated education system, there are also democratic policies that citizens need to follow in order to be respected citizens. Wearing uniforms is a form of conformity that allows students to understand the importance of complying to rules that are a foundation to existing in a nation (Hannah, Where Our Rules Come From).
Having a nationwide implementation of school uniforms is a solution to the turmoil that many students face when being ridiculed for their looks instead of how bright their personality is. Primary students wearing the same clothes as classmates can help them feel more involved in their educational community and encourage the integration of groups of children of the same age. In addition, the practice of wearing school uniforms demonstrates to students that certain rules must be followed in order to fulfill a normalization of one’s identity in accordance to policies.
1. Gregory, George. Pull House. 2004. Adams Press, San Francisco.
2. Populus, Veronica. Generation W. 1996. Goddard Publishing, New Jersey.
3. Pep, Andrew. Style Teen. 2012. Sequin House, London.
4. Hannah, Liam. Where Our Rules Come From. 2013. Book Esquire, New York.