One of the stupidest and most simply wrong justifications for school uniforms is that, somehow, they will prevent situations like what happened at Columbine High School.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

School uniforms are not going to keep people from being abused for years and years. Would the popular crowd suddenly stop abusing their chosen targets if those targets suddenly started dressing like them? No. Why? Because the abusers want something to abuse like politicians need an issue to rant on. If they can't abuse on the basis of clothing, they'll abuse on some other basis.

This is like saying "violent video games are statistically linked to school violence." Journalists and politicians say that something is "linked" when they want to imply a causal relationship when in fact none exists. For example, with the violent video game issue:

  • The people playing violent video games could simply be predisposed to violence already, for whatever reason, and are venting their frustrations through the game. This is something the "researchers" should rule out, no?

  • The people playing these games could simply be venting primitive aggression. That dosen't mean that they are violent people. This is something they should have ruled out, no?

    They didn't rule out either of those, which makes their study completely worthless. That doesn't stop the politicians, though.

    The same kind of "scientific studies" are done on issues such as requiring all public school students to wear school uniforms. Just because wearing uniforms is "linked" to something doesn't mean that the uniforms actually had anything to do with it.

    It also ignores a greater problem. Why are kids shooting up their schools? The answer in the rash of American school shootings is fairly obvious: The shooters were systematically abused, rejected, and/or ostracised from their fellow public school students, who are supposed to be their "peers".

    But that's too contraversial an issue, and it's stuff that Americans don't want to hear, so they just propose "feel good" things like school uniforms, metal detectors, etc., and turn schools into even worse Public School Prison Camps.

  • My life from fourth grade through 12th (U.S.) would have been a hell of a lot easier had there been mandatory school uniforms. The private school that I attended for five years was considering it, but decided not to use them. Public school in Florida, dismal to begin with in regard to process and implementation, was made considerably worse by hordes of shallow, image-obsessed kids who judged harshly on the basis of what someone pulled from their closet that day. The only change, in the adult and corporate world, is that the judgment is unspoken.

    Uniforms are not an attempt to crush personality or uniqueness. Schools accomplish this via curriculum. Most people do not have personality and uniqueness in spades, anyway, but if they did, it would not be dessicated with uniforms. There are better ways for a child to express themselves when they're in school.

    If they can't abuse on the basis of clothing, they'll abuse on some other basis. The average 12-year-old kid is not going to dog someone mercilessly on the bus ride in, the bus ride out, and any other time in class and the hall, for their opinion on foreign policy. More likely then not, they'd already be abusing someone for other reasons on top of their clothing choices.

    School is for learning (ostensibly); it is not for beating the crap out of someone because they're not wearing something you deem totally goober. I've had my own bad experiences, but have seen truly awful, egregious displays of intolerance based on clothing day in, day out. I don't know how they handled it, mentally - I really don't.

    If we had all been in uniforms, we would have still gotten pushed around or tossed invectives for being smart, or quiet, or weird. A uniform isn't going to mask that. It would have, however, made it easier. It would have made that fear of getting on the school bus or walking down the hall a little less palpable.


    daz eddy: lots of heated arguing about not very much at all. so why did you add a write-up?

    I have to agree with kessenich, for several reasons.

    In my 12 years of lower education, I spent 8 of those in schools that required uniforms and 4 in ones that didn't. In those 4 years where I could dress as I please, two were spent in American schools. Now, I was glad to lose that stupid tie I had to wear for 8 years, but the total lack of a dress code is even worse than a school with a moderately enforced dress code. I've never attended a school that was like the Gestapo with its dress code, so I don't know about that.

    Frankly, this is middle school and high school, and trust me, those kids are incredibly gullible, easily subjected to peer pressure, and would do just about anything to get popular. Very shallow, they are obsessed with inane choices of dress. Gotta wear baggy jeans and tank tops!

    If there was a dress code, it would deal a heavy blow to the popularity contest that is high school today. Dress is possibly one of the most distinguishing factors in the high school hierarchy of idiocy. Girls spend an hour picking their outfits. Guys go the the bathroom between classes to jerk their pants down a couple more inches so more dirt sticks to the bottom. For what? That's right, popularity. This isn't about invididualism or self-expression. This is a pathetic competition between bored and immature children.

    Having spent years in schools with uniforms, I can tell you that people still look different. There are plenty of ways to dress, even with the same white shirt, grey pants and navy blue tie that I wore every day for years.

    Want to express yourself? Talk like an intelligent human being, instead of showing off your latest Tommy shirts!

    If all schools in America had school uniforms, I guarantee you that not only would the grades would go up, the attitude toward learning would as well. Here's some stats for you:

    Countries that predominantly have school uniforms

    Countries that do not have school uniforms Let the American kids spend hours every day deciding how to dress before diving into the popularity cesspool known as high school. Kids in Asia learn more, do better, and unlike what the idiots say, we have lives. Besides, once out of high school, I'd like to see these overdressed morons get a good job. Who's got a good life now?

    School uniforms then, yea they must be bad(tm) or they must be the best thing in the world. Saying that Country A B and C has a good education system because kids wear school uniforms is stupid. They have a good education system because they have good facilities/teachers/social attitudes to education.

    Fact is, school uniforms make one tiny little piece of students life easier. People don't have to worry about image, at least not when it comes to clothes. If you can't afford to by the best jeans, runners, whatever... it doens't matter in school. Sure people will still be harassed and bullied and whatever, but at least the won't be made feel guilty because they're families (somthing which they have no control of) are rich or poor.

    You could even argue that seperating clothing from image creates people with stronger personal identities. In fact you could argue anything you want really...things is, we just don't know what's going on in schools. We talk from our own experience and try to relate that to everyone else without really doing an effective job. So we'll have twisted biased out-dated opinions to change other peoples impressionable minds.

    Ok, my two cents - i see kids walking down the street with mohawks and crazy clothes and colored hair, and i get jealous. 'Cause i work, and i can't have fun with my appearance the same way they can, as the powers that be just wouldn't like it. Sure, they frequently look silly. But for most of them, high school (or its equivalent) is a last chance to be silly like that. It's a chance to make radical statements about their identity and not have it lose them their livelihood. It's a chance to be a little crazy before they have to be a lot crazy (ie. act sane) and look normal. Unfortunately, i didn't really take that opportunity when i had it. Thus the jealousy.

    I didn't have to deal with a uniform until i went to a public school in England for a year. It was a dress code, actually, rather than a uniform per se, meaning that the richer and less fashion-retarded students had better and more stylish clothes. Plus the rest of us felt uncomfortable at all times. Yes, even those who had had to comply with dress code for years. So i personally see a loss in, and very little benefit from, dress codes.

    (this piece was mailed to me today, it's the school's way of justifying taking away yet MORE choices the children have in what they can wear)

    Uniform Program Rationale

    "X" Middle School has implemented a uniform program for the following reasons:

    1. Campus Safety and Security: a uniform helps make the campus safer and more secure by eliminating the wearing of gang clothing which can also be used to intimidate or conceal contraband. Moreover, outsiders or non-students are easily recognized on campus.
    2. Climate for Learning: A uniform helps students focus on learning. It sets the tone for proper work attitude in the classroom, reducing behavior problems and improving performance.
    3. School Unity and Pride: An attractive student uniform promotes school spirit, good self-image, and school unity. Just an an athletic teams' uniforms promote unity and spirit, so can a school uniform.
    4. Label Competition: A uniform eliminates "label competition" and the peer pressure to wear expensive clothing. It allows the student's attention to be directed to learning and growing.
    5. Economics: A uniform is economical. Comparisons show that the uniform costs significantly less than what most parents pay for unregulated school clothing. Durability, reusability, and the year-to-year consistency also cut costs.
    6. Homogeneity and Opportunities for self-expression: A uniform removes the status that clothing labels give to some children and serves to externally equalize all students. This provides impetus for students to find more productive outlets for expressions of individualism such as wit, intelligence, and creativity. Teachers offer many opportunities for self-expression and creativity in the academic realm ranging from creative assignments to after-school clubs.
    7. Modesty Standards Upheld: A uniform meets widely accepted standards of modesty thus eliminating the conflicting interpretations of dress codes and the embarrassment that often is associated with "violations" of dress code.
    8. Dressing Simplified: Parents cite simplification of selection as an important advantage. Even though several selections are available within the uniform, each meets the standards of the school and the approval of the home. Parents of students wearing uniforms report they they have saved hundreds of dollars and eliminated the morning tug-of-war with children over what to wear.

    Our school uniform policy is part of our Safe School's Plan. It is endorsed by our local Sheriff's liaison and DARE officer as a proactive step toward maintaining a safe campus.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    All students will wear the designated school uniform dress clothing items as described below:

    Pants/Capris/skorts/walking shorts/jumper.... Navy or Tan only, no logos.
    Polo shirt/T-shirt(crew neck only)/Turtle Necks....baby blue, navy, white, or gray only, no logos, no patterns, solid color only
    socks, tights, leggings....Navy, white, or gray only.
    Sweatshirt....Navy,white, or gray, no logo
    Jacket...Navy only, no logo or middle school logo


    Maroon and yellow have been slashed from the list of acceptable colors this year, plus socks are now being controlled. Apparently the bright orange socks my child chose to wear to assert her individuality caused too much discomfort. My child was told to remove her yellow hair scarf at the end of the school year this past spring because it apparently marked her as possibly belonging to a gang not because it matched her shirt. It could be why yellow is removed from this year's color selection.

    As a parent and as an individual, I take exception to this policy. I have no problem with dress codes per se. I have a problem with quashing the individuality, the uniqueness of a child. My biggest beef with this plan is the Homogeneity. Sameness is being promoted. The child must fit in, conform, blend in, or he is out. Like it or not, what we wear is a reflection of how we feel about ourselves, how we identify ourselves, whether it be goth, jock, artsy, yuppy, geek or whatever. It is how we outwardly express our uniqueness. Having the right color, the right pattern that flatters can be a remarkable burst of self-esteem to a child. The right cut, the right fit says "Hey, I look good, I like myself". I don't think a child should be forced to wear clothing that makes them feel unattractive. You can tell how a child is feeling by the clothing they choose to wear, a seriously depressed child tends to dress dark/drab to fit his mood. It's a clue that he needs attention. Visual cues are lost with a uniform.

    Points addressed in the rationale above that I would like to touch upon.

    1. Only gang clothing can conceal contraband? They aren't taking into account the huge backpacks the kids have to carry around all day for their school supplies. The pockets in there are pretty big. I'm wondering when they are going to disallow backpacks as well...
    2. The fact is that there are no empirical studies that show that uniforms alone have reduced classroom behavior problems or improved scholastic performance, none.
    3. School spirit is promoted when the child has pride in his school. Belonging to the school and participating in the activities are what promotes spirit. There is still team spirit when an athletic team practices together and are not in uniform. They are working together and taking pride in the group performance. The uniform doesn't make them a team. The uniform merely separates them from the opponent during a game.
    4. Uniforms do not remove peer pressure, doesn't even mask it.
    5. In our neck of the woods, the price of these clothes are jacked up. The retailers know that we have no choice. There is no bargain here. They are no more durable than any other clothes. Kids still grow out of them, so year to year doesn't fly here.
    6. School uniforms do not equalize the students. There is still a sharp division that I have observed. The hispanics still hang out with the hispanics. The whites still group with other whites. The rich hang with the rich, the poor with the poor. The socioeconomic lines have not been blurred. Wealthier students own every accessory, designer jewelry, name brand shoes, designer backpack. The poorer students own the basics. After repeated washings the uniforms look more faded and worn, while the wealthier students get new more often.

      The rationale talks big about expressions of individualism yet ignores the most important way that kids express themselves, how they dress. That conveys the most information about a child's values, feelings, and beliefs.

    7. There will still be modesty issues from girls rolling up their shorts, rolling down their waistbands, rolling up their sleeves, tying knots in their shirts. Boys will still pull those boxers up to be shown, same as before. Uniforms will not change the urge to buck the system.
    8. parents report .... which parents? Please back up your claims. Give me empirical studies. Show me that this outweighs the need for my kids' individuality and maybe I'll adjust my stance.

    Bottom line is I think this whole school uniform policy is a cheap band aid to a larger problem. It's like putting a fresh coat of paint onto an old delapidated building; looks nice, but doesn't really address the deeper problems facing the school system these days. I find that there is something not quite right about promoting uniforms yet not dealing with the more serious issues like overcrowded schools, low teacher pay, less funding for school districts, electives slipping away, understaffing, etc. (This doesn't cost so much so lets do this and look like we're accomplishing something) It would be better to directly address the issues of racism, cultural conflict, violence, and socioeconomic barriers head on rather than cover them over in a weak attempt to force homogeneity. I would prefer to see tolerance of differences taught as opposed to hiding them.

    This policy is teaching the kids, you must be the same. You must blend in. You must. This scares the heck out of me. I think that there is enough "you aren't like me so I don't like you" kind of crap going on without promoting it. The message being sent is...It's not OK to be different. I think that differences should be celebrated not hidden away. Just imagine it...no color, no texture, bland, dull, plain vanilla, the same. No vibrancy... How boring is that?

    It's time to get to the heart of the problem and ditch the quick cosmetic fix ups that I feel may end up doing more harm than good.

    for more info:
    www.education-world.com/a_issues/issues060.shtml
    www.members.tripod.com/rockqu/uniform.htm

    The elimination of gang-related clothing, the capability for students to be identified when representing the school during excursions, and the creation of a dress code which does not require the spending of large amounts of money, are reasons which have been cited for the use of uniforms in Western Australia. Most reasons can be disproved (see above), but it is still the basis of many schools' policy.

    Most schools here in Western Australia have uniforms, (and the public education system here is reasonably good) but a nearby public school which was recently closed, which had no uniform, was among the top schools in the state -- but also a breeding ground for socialism and student activism. Interestingly enough, this school was closed by a conservative government. Perhaps conservative governments view dress codes as a method for keeping students complacent...

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