General Question

sarapnsc's avatar

Do you think school uniforms should be mandatory in schools, both private and public?

Asked by sarapnsc (1439points) September 21st, 2008

Do you think children would benefit more without the competition of who dresses better or who has the latest designer shoes, outfits. Tired of seeing baggy pants down to the knees, mini skirts, low cut tops, etc? Do you think children would put more emphasis on their studies than the next brand name? Would there be one less peer pressure?

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26 Answers

AstroChuck's avatar

My wife (a teacher) and I don’t see eye to eye on this. She likes school uniforms as she claims it helps with school discipline. Although I believe that that is important, I feel that by forcing students to wear the same drab outfits as everyone else you remove individuality. I don’t approve of the conformist nature that school uniforms, I believe, encourage. Furthmore, I think you can address issues of discipline and inappropriate dress by having strict guidelines as to what dress is acceptable and what isn’t.
I am thankful that the school my third grader attends does not have uniforms.

MrMeltedCrayon's avatar

I had to wear a uniform during my sixth, seventh and eighth grades years in middle school. From a students perspective, I never really understood how wearing a white shirt and blue slacks everyday made us act any different. Kids still skipped class, they still talked back to the teachers and they still made fun of other kids for what they were wearing. I think that if better discipline is what the education system is after, clothing is a horrible thing to use as a foundation.

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

Having worn a uniform from first grade through senior year in high school I can assure you that uniforms do not stop the competitive nature of dressing. Handbags. Socks. Shoes. Head bands. Jewelery. Even, yes, panties. (Wanna go deeper? Vibes and condoms. And cigarette lighters. And cars. I can go on. And on. And on). Those who have will always have and will always want to show it off. Uniforms are nothing but a marketing tool for parochial schools.

All of the above said, I bet Astro Chuck would have a cute ass in catholic blue pants.

AstroChuck's avatar

@MrMC- I feel that I must defend my wife’s views on the correlation of discipline and uniforms. She was a substitute teacher for 18+ years (now has her own class) and insists that there is a definite difference in discipline between schools that have uniforms and those that do not. Her teacher friends insist as well. Who am I (some slobby postman) to disagree with them. Now, this was in elementary school, not middle school or Jr. High. Perhaps by the time kids reach that level it makes no difference. Who knows?
That being said, I still very much oppose school uniforms, especially in public school.

@ST- You’d lose that bet.

justin5824's avatar

I cant stand people with ugly clothing like pants at their knee’s!

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

@Chuck: You mean your butt wouldn’t be cute now in catholic pants or it wasn’t cute then in catholic pants?

superroach's avatar

I would say that I agree that uniforms should be mandatory – main reason is yeah – to make people conform. At a level where they want to nonconform and be “individual” at the cost of their own learning, enforcement of at least this is one way to help them focus a bit more.

Of course, a valid counterpoint is that some groups cannot afford even uniforms, but things such as deferred payment may help with that.

AstroChuck's avatar

Never wore “catholic pant” as I’m not Catholic. But I looked pretty damn fine in my Angel Flights!

JackAdams's avatar

Forcing children to wear uniforms, makes the children believe that they aren’t individuals, and that they only have any kind of “worth,” if they are part of a team.

It also stifles creativity.

Uniforms are indeed fine for certain occupations, such as nurses, military personnel, and various law enforcement professions.

asmonet's avatar

@JackAdams: There are not enough words to explain how much I disagree. How does wearing khakis and a polo have any effect on your psychology? I really don’t think children think like that at all. That’s more of an adult view imposed on a child imho. Children don’t give a damn, especially the younger ones. It’s just another part of their morning, they know it as ‘the outfit for school’ just like wearing nice clothes for church is considered appropriate and wearing shorts and a t shirt is good for exercise. It simply isn’t that big a deal when it’s applied. As for stifling creativity… There are an amazing variety of ways to personalize uniforms. You’d be surprised how many kids get creative when given a small amount to work with. Probably more than they normally would.
I’d love to see some research behind those statements, as they seem entirely subjective to me while being written to seem like fact.

I supported them, even when I was in school. Then again, I was obsessed with Sailor Moon. It had less to do with the fashion aspect and competition than it did with how much easier it seemed in the morning. In my experience it actually lead to more well-rounded individual children. If you automatically think of those ‘damn preppy kids’ wearing the Abercrombie clothes and shudder…. Why would you strike up a conversation if under normal circumstances you’re the goth kid listening to Lacrimosa in the quad? I think when you get rid of the visual ways you can be prejudiced towards a person you open yourself up to a more fulfilling and rich social life.

The creativity argument boggles my mind. It’s as if everyone has forgotten the nature of children. They’re like little magicians, you tell em to sit quietly in a room and they’ll find a way to hang form the ceiling. I simply don’t think plain clothes have that big of an effect on a normal balanced child. Now….designer clothes on an impressionable young mind… I have entirely different opinions about THAT.

shadling21's avatar

I miss the days when I could just put on my uniform and go to school. So simple. It really did allow me to focus on school. Wearing kilts in chilly classrooms was not so fun, though. And if your chair is made of metal? I shudder to remember.

The transition to university was strange for me, having spent nine years in various private schools. Now too much of my time is spent thinking about what to wear, what to buy, etc. It’s fun to develop a sense of style (something I hadn’t done up until recently) but I find it distracts me from school.

On the flip side, it has brought me closer to my peers and opened up a whole other world of possibilities. I never used to go shopping with my friends, but now I do. I appreciate (and understand) fashion now.

I was also one of those kids who didn’t have cool clothes to begin with, so I definitely would have been teased.

Hobbes's avatar

I definitely fall into the “No Uniforms” camp. I wore uniforms in 8th grade when I went to school in England, and I can definitely say that it had no effect whatsoever on behavior. Kids still talked back to teachers, and they always found ways to show off. In fact, I’m pretty sure the uniforms made kids more rebellious. Kids constantly tested the limits of the dress code, unbuttoning shirts, loosening ties and generally messing with “the rules”. Attempts to require uniforms are not only misguided but also ineffectual.

galileogirl's avatar

Chuck: Loss of individuality is not a problem. If you stood outside a middle or high school that required uniforms you would see an astonishing array of ways to individualize the uniform, especially by girls. (Well maybe you shouldn’t be hanging around watching teenage girls,just take my word on this) And when schools made rules about crude messages on shirts, the FCUK logo became very popular. At our school most of the kids wear “uniforms” voluntarily, jeans and dark sweat shirts. They are naturally cunformists unless they think the rules are just to control them. We do have a successful dress code but it is gender nonspecific like no underwear showing.

On game days the players have to travel dressed up and they do it because the pros do it.

I do like the idea of uniforms for elementary students for economic reasons.

Judi's avatar

I don’t really have an opinion about public schools, but by the very nature of a school being private I would say that MANDATING uniforms would be totally up to the school administration and nobody else’s business. Public schools could be open for debate.

JackAdams's avatar

I agree completely, with the talking stuffed tiger.

He’s totally correct.

asmonet's avatar

@JackAdams: You say uniforms stifle creativity, rebellion seems creative to me and you’re agreeing with the ‘talking stuffed tiger’. I’m a bit confused. Care to elaborate?

asmonet's avatar

@JackAdams: Just checkin’.

the word confused might not have been accurate. :)

marinelife's avatar

Actually, I agree with asmonet about the impact uniforms have on children, but I think she makes the case for not going the uniform route. I think the reason that parents and communities want to impose uniforms on public schools does not make sense, because doing so will not have the impact they think it will.

I think that better discipline and a stronger desire to learn can be instilled in more positive and more effective ways than making uniforms madatory.

asmonet's avatar

@Marina: It’s interesting that you took my points in that manner. Variety is the spice of life. Different people different views. I love the internet. Thanks for adding that, it made me review my own words and think from another point of view. I still stand by my opinion though. :)

I don’t think uniforms are negative, that’s what I got from that last point. I don’t think that was your intention. Justa sidenote.

shadling21's avatar

I don’t believe that uniforms stifle creativity – rather, they allowed me to direct my creativity away from the everyday problem of dressing myself. There were even students at my school whose interest in fashion was not deterred by the uniform – they read fashion mags and dreamed about a future in which they could afford Armani or D&G, and worked hard at their studies to get there.

I’m torn on this. I don’t believe uniforms belong in public schools, but I also value my own experiences with them.

Judi's avatar

Didn’t Einstein have several of the same outfit so he wouldn’t have to think about what to wear. or is that just an urban legend?

jballou's avatar

I had to wear a uniform to school for 9 years, and the benefits were definitely measurable. But- I also went to private school and I don’t think uniforms should be forced upon public schools. Going to private school, you essentially sign away your rights because it’s akin to joining a private organization. They are free to determine their own morality. If you don’t agree, you simple opt out of the organization. Public schools don’t have that same structure. You can’t opt out. They are not private organizations. They cannot set their own morality. And uniforms have no place, in my opinion, at public schools. I think the idea that homoginized outfits will somehow placate the student community at large and make them docile and accepting of any and all discipline is ludicrous.

If you think classism and brand-whoring will disappear just because their clothes are the same, then you underestimate the creativity of kids and their ability to belittle and ostrosize each other. School uniforms to address discipline issues is akin to administering Nyquil to someone dying of pneumonia.

Raggedy_Ann's avatar

I wore a uniform for school when I lived in Seattle. Now granted that was a number of years ago but I have to belive that even with uniforms there is still going to be peer pressure. Peer pressure knows no bounds.

mb511649's avatar

this is so true except the part about school uniforim is a good thing. i think that school uniform in school suck.

mb511649's avatar

im in school right now and school uniform stinks

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