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A Uniform Issue: How It Can Influence on Education Level

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Dressed to Impress

It is the first day of school, and you are trying to find the perfect outfit to wear. What you choose to wear can have a huge impact on how everyone interprets you as an individual. The more stylish you are, the more popular you seem to be and those who are not dressed up every day can be seen as awkward and uncool. School is becoming like a fashion show to some. Impressing others with clothes is becoming one of the major reasons why students either love to go to school or absolutely hate it. That is where the problem lies. Self body issues, peer pressure, and bullying is a part of high school; what is the major reason behind it? Clothes and the freedom to self-express with them. The solution to this issue is very simple; uniforms. School uniforms not only benefit the students, but the faculty members as well, providing an atmosphere in which the students are able to focus on their education, instead of their fashion choices.

For many students in high school appearance and popularity is very important. Some forget the real reason on why they are sitting in a classroom in the first place. School is a place of learning and should be free from any distraction. Worrying about what the person next to you thinks about an outfit that you are wearing takes it away from that. Uniforms will release some stress the students are feeling when it comes to trying to fit in with their peers. Students tend to form cliques based on their interests, economic backgrounds and fashion sense. Similar to athletic team uniforms, proponents argue that dressing cohesively increases pride, unity, and a renewed commitment to the school (“Public”). Everyone will be wearing similar clothing, thus the distraction of out-shining and/or fitting in will not be present. Plus, how easy is it to wake up in the morning and already know what you are going to wear. No longer is there a need waking up hours before class to get ready and plan an outfit. Saving time in the morning or getting extra sleep will benefit the students in order to have a positive start to their day.

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With education prices so high, uniforms are highly beneficial to cut down on the households spending. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on the latest fashion, parents only need two outfits for the school year. One for warmer weather and another for fall and winter time. Family Action states “many poorer parents will have paid out 40% of their monthly income in August on ‘back-to-school costs’ alone” (School). Those who come from lower income families feel the need to fit in while they are at school, but do not have the money to spend on $70 jeans or a $40 shirt. Those who wear Walmart brand clothing in comparison to higher end Michael Kors can be seen as “uncool” there for not attending school as often in fear of being judged or made of by their classmates. By having uniforms, all of the student body will be able to purchase an outfit for $20 to $30 dollars, making it easier for families to save money throughout the school year. Eduarda Schroeder, mother of two daughters agrees and states: “Uniforms can be a financial burden for poor families because they are an additional expense for parents who pay taxes for a free public education” (“Real”). Not only will the uniforms lower the cost of school, it will also benefit those who cannot afford to keep up with the latest fast fashion trends.

While not evident to some, gangs and bullies are a part of every high school and the only way to stop them is by eliminating a source that they rely on the most. Clothes have always been a way to distinguish sides and areas in which a gang member is from. Uniforms help prevent the display and insignia of a gang. Educators in the Long Beach Unified School District have speculated that the sharp reduction in crime following the introduction of school uniforms was a result of gang conflicts being curbed (“School”). The same can be said about bullies in school. Kids tend to pick on those who look different, dress different and act different. Cultural difference is a great example of this issue. School with high diversities have student bodies of different cultures that have different morals and beliefs, hence making them different from the rest. Those students are the target of the bullies; creating social issues, depression and poor self-confidence. With the help of uniforms, all of the students will dress the same in order to eliminate the distraction of clothes. In a 2013 survey by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and uniform manufacturer Lands’ End, 86% of school leaders said uniforms make “a significant, positive impact on peer pressure,” and 64% said uniforms reduce bullying (“School”). A sense of equality will be present along the students.

That being said, some might argue that school uniforms limit the students freedom of self expression. The US Supreme Court confirmed that students’ constitutional right to free speech “does not relate to regulation of the length of skirts or the type of clothing.” Wearing one’s own choice of shirt or pants is not the “pure speech” protected by the Constitution (“Should”). After school hours students are free to wear whatever they want, to express themselves and their style, but when it comes to discipline and safety of the student body, it is the school board’s right to apply the rule of uniforms if they find it necessary to do so. It is important for all to remember that style is not the only way for students to express themselves in the school’s environment. Extracurricular activities such as clubs, sports and arts are great ways for students to express themselves and their talents, while making positive connections with their peers.

Overall, school should be a place of learning. Any distraction that takes away from that should be eliminated. Students should be able to focus on their school work, instead of their fashion choices and judgements of others. Encouraging school uniforms will not only make a more safer and comfortable environment for learning, but it will also create a union between the student body. Not to mention, the budget friendly uniforms support the lower income families; the pressure of buying the latest trend in order to compete with others will be eliminated. The advantage of school uniforms is far more than the disadvantages, therefore all of the schools who are looking to improve their students education and happiness need to consider enforcing day-to- day uniforms.

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