A Careful Look at Pro-Uniform Arguments

We hear a lot of arguments in favor of school uniforms.
Let's see if they make sense.

"Uniforms help kids concentrate on their school work."

Comfortable clothes that fit and function well DO help kids concentrate on their schoolwork. However, while some kids are comfortable in certain styles, others prefer different styles. For example, some kids are comfortable in sweats, others in jeans. Some kids are hard to fit, and certain brands or styles may fit better than others. This is especially true for shoes and pants. Restricting choice in this area will make some kids MORE uncomfortable and therefore MORE likely to be distracted. Uniforms will limit parent's ability to find comfortable, inexpensive clothing for their children.

"Children spend a lot of time looking at other kids clothes and feeling envious. Uniforms would eliminate this."

Are we really saying that many children are so obsessed with their looks that their grades are being affected? In this age of eating disorders this should be seen as a sign of future serious problems. Parents whose children are in this position need to give their children counseling and support, not different clothes.

"Children come to school wearing inappropriate clothing"

The current dress code, well-enforced, is sensible. It encourages children to wear sensible clothes, and gives the administration the power to address problems. Parents also have the power to set their own standards for what their children wear to school. Parents differ in their rules for their children, and their decisions in this matter will reflect their unique family values.

"Uniforms help eliminate gang activity by eliminating the wearing of gang colors."

Penn-Delco does not face this problem.

"Uniforms help children's self-esteem."

Ever see a fat girl in a school uniform? Not exactly a self-esteem-building outfit.

"Uniforms would eliminate differences between richer and poorer students."

There will still be Walmart uniforms and Gap uniforms, hand-me-down uniforms and new uniforms. There will still be differences in so many ways. These differences do not need to be disguised, they need to be recognized and respected. In addition, not every wealthy family chooses to spend their money on clothing. In fact, it is part of each family's unique set of values to make decisions on what importance they place on clothing.

"Children will have to wear uniforms at work. Better get used to it now."

In fact, most workplaces are moving towards "business casual."

"Children will not be teased because of their clothing."

Children should not be teased, period. Dressing everyone alike does not eliminate teasing. In fact, it sends the message that we should all strive to be the same, rather than recognizing, respecting, and celebrating differences.

"Uniforms will save parents money."

Beware when someone tells you that you will save money by buying something. Those parents who currently spend a lot of money on clothing may spend less with a uniform policy. However, those parents who use hand-me-downs and second-hand clothing (typically poorer parents) will have to pay much more.

"Uniforms will reduce discipline problems."

In fact, they will create a whole new category of discipline problems. Children would get in trouble for what they're wearing. In schools that have adopted uniform policies, detentions and suspensions have gone up. This does not help our children learn. It also takes valuable time from teachers and administrators.

School Uniforms are not the right choice for Penn-Delco.
We already have a sensible dress code in place.


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This Web Page by Pauline Harding for Art Nurk
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