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The present research is devoted to the topic of uniform policy implementation at public schools. The paper presents an insight into a question concerning school uniform and the benefits that its implementation can bring. After the analysis of the works of modern researchers on the topic, it was found out that many of them believed school uniform policy implementation to be a good way to reduce crime, decrease the gap between students with different social status, and make students feel more responsible for their academic performance. Nevertheless, there are people claiming this policy to be inefficient or even harmful. In their opinion, uniform policy implementation can be regarded as an attempt to deprive students of their freedom of self-expression, causes gender inequality, and is regarded as ineffective. In the end, arguments of the opposing side do not seem strong enough to downplay the real benefits of the policy.
Implementation of school uniform policy belongs to the number of questions that are regarded as quite controversial. In fact, there is a variety of opinions concerning this particular issue, and many people tend to underestimate the positive influence that wearing the uniform produces on students. Nevertheless, there are the authors proving school uniform implementation to be quite an effective way to make students more responsible and conscious when it comes down to studying. Although some researchers are voicing an opinion about uselessness and inefficiency of school uniform implementation policy at public schools, it may definitely have positive consequences such as increasing students’ self-discipline, estranging the gap between social groups and reducing crime.
Why Should Public Schools Adopt Uniform Policy?
At first, school uniform implementation policy can become a tool helping to improve the level of students’ academic performance. Wearing the school uniform on a daily basis is definitely a restriction. Nevertheless, such a restriction seems to be really helpful when it comes down to the cultivation of students’ personalities. There is no doubt that such a measure can help children to realize the difference between formal and informal communication, and learn to behave themselves according to the situation. In general, this measure should be paid more attention to as many people believe it to be helpful. For instance, McDaniel (2013) supposes that uniform policy can appear to be an effective tool helping to decrease the number of students who are late for their classes. According to his research, the necessity to wear school uniform every day makes students spend less time getting ready for school in the morning. As it is clear from the research, the policy is able to maintain discipline in the class.
There is another strong argument for the school uniform policy implementation, according to which this measure is able to significantly decrease bullying that occurs at schools, and create a safer space. This opinion is supported by many researchers; for example, Roman and Tailor (2013) include school uniform into the list of measures helping to withstand bullying throughout the country. As it follows from their research, students who have to wear the uniform are deprived of an opportunity to make conclusions about their classmates’ financial situations based on their appearance. To continue, decreasing the crime rates and providing the students with a safer environment for studying are the goals that can be achieved with the help of school uniform policy implementation.
To continue, it is very important to implement school uniform policy as it can help to decrease the gap between students from wealthy families and their peers from low-income families. Solving the problem with the gap remains a primary task as the issues that it involves have terrible consequences. Achinstein (2015) claims that wearing the uniform distracts students’ attention from the class positions of their peers. As it is clear from this article, school uniform can be regarded as a useful tool helping to withstand social inequality. Consequently, wearing the uniform every day, the students seem to be put on equal footing; they all look the same way, and this is why they cannot be classified as rich or poor according to their appearance.
Can It Turn out to be Ineffective?
In contrast to positive opinions about school uniform, there are certain authors who believe uniform policy implementation at schools to be ineffective. For example, McCarthy and Moreno (2014) claim that their research shows that uniform policy implementation has nothing to do with the performance level of the students. According to the survey conducted within the frame of their research, only a few students believe that wearing a uniform can positively influence their attitudes toward learning. In spite of that, this argument cannot be regarded as sound because students’ negative opinions may be caused by their unwillingness to lose an opportunity to wear whatever they want. Due to that, this opinion can hardly present a strong argument against school uniform policy.
What is more, there are the researchers who do not support the idea of uniform policy at schools as they believe it to be violence against children and their freedom of will. To them, the necessity to wear the uniform does not seem to be just a rule; instead, they see it as a measure presenting the threat to children’s individuality. Park (2013) conducted a research to find out if uniform policy implementation denied students’ individuality. According to the conclusion that he came to, uniform policy definitely troubled students’ self-expression. As it is clear from Park’s opinion, he is likely to proclaim almost unlimited freedom for the children. Nevertheless, this position cannot be regarded as helpful for society. People often forget that school has to prepare students for real life, and this is why it is essential for students to follow the rules. Wearing the uniform, the students do not lose any part of their identities. In spite of that, it should be explained to them that self-expression is something more than wearing whatever they want at school.
Finally, there is an opinion that school uniform policy should not be implemented as students themselves do not see its positive consequences. Supporting this point of view, Dico (2013) tells the readers about her work as a teacher at school that adopted this policy. In the work, the author focuses on the negative emotions of the girls who had to wear the uniform and the gender inequality that it caused. In her opinion, the uniform is one of the sources of gender inequality at schools. There is no doubt that this problem is urgent for society but it can be overcome if girls will not be urged to wear only skirts. If girls are allowed to choose between a skirt and trousers, school uniform will not become a reason for such discontent again.
In conclusion, it is necessary to say that school uniform policy is a very useful measure that prepares students for future life and makes them more responsible. Besides, it appears to be helpful at reducing crime at schools and preventing students from forming groups according to their families’ positions in society. Although there are certain opinions against uniform policy implementation, they do not seem to be reasonable enough to cast doubt on numerous benefits that it involves.
Achinstein, B. (2015). (Re) labeling social status: Promises and tensions in developing a college-going culture for Latina youth in an urban high school. American Journal of Education, 121(3), 311-345.
Dico, N. (2013). The gender politics of the school uniform. Was It Something I Wore, 1(1), 208-224.
McCarthy, T. M. & Moreno, J. (2014). School uniform policies: Students’ views of effectiveness. Jsl, 11(6), 536.
McDaniel, T. R. (2013). Making the school uniform decision: Is it right for your school? Kappa Delta Pi Record, 49(4), 162-167.
Park, J. (2013). Do school uniforms lead to uniform minds? School uniforms and appearance restrictions in Korean middle schools and high schools. Fashion Theory, 17(2), 159-177.
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Roman, C. G. & Taylor, C. J. (2013). A multilevel assessment of school climate, bullying victimization, and physical activity. Journal of school health, 83(6), 400-407.