Why School Uniforms Are a Good Idea?

The debate around school uniforms will be renewed with every new generation of school children and their parents. There are very few practical reasons against the compulsory wearing of uniforms, and many more in favor, and this fact in itself should mark the end of the perennial debate – so why does it still rage on?

To summarize the main reasons for the wearing of uniforms very briefly, as they have been well documented many times:
* Uniforms introduce the wearer to the concept of discipline, so essential for the smooth operation of a school;
* Wearing the same clothes reduces (though rarely eliminates) the competitive element between school children, providing fewer incentives for teasing and resultant fighting brought on by differences in quality and style of clothing;
* Uniforms instil (or are supposed to instil) a sense of pride in belonging to a group, and consequently a pride in the school and the desire to perform well for the school’s reputation;
* Uniforms are usually simple, durable and practical in manufacture, and unlikely to succumb to everyday rough treatment;
* If a child’s eyes are not constantly distracted by a classmate’s unusual or unexpected clothing, they are more likely to be concentrating on the task in hand;
* Finally, the cost of uniforms is the same for all, and reduces the pressure on poorer families to equip their children to the same degree as those from more affluent backgrounds.

The ‘anti-uniform’ voice usually claims that uniforms suppress individuality, but this is a weak counterpoint to the overwhelming evidence in support of uniforms.

The root of the controversy may lie with the parents more than the children, and the age of the children is significant in this respect. Primary school children, unless they are extremely precocious, are unlikely to care too much about the label or the price of the clothes they are wearing. Their parents, on the other hand, may view the child’s clothing as an extension of their own, and therefore the cost, quality and style will be important to them. Uniforms are not a fashion statement, and seeing their hitherto special, unique and wonderful son or daughter looking just the same as everyone else might lead some proud parents to speak out loudly against the need for uniforms. The fact is that all the good reasons for wearing them are as true for very young children as for their older counterparts, whatever the parents might think. A ‘crocodile’ or ‘walking bus’ of six-year-olds all dressed alike is a pleasant thing to see, and even more pleasant to be a part of.

In older children, in whom the media and the emergence of their own sense of style combine to make them resent the discipline of a uniform, the story is different. These parents may well approve of the wearing of uniforms more than their children do, as it does away with the need, and attendant expense, for helping their fashion-conscious progeny keep up with constantly-changing trends. The loudest protests against uniforms in secondary schools will undoubtedly come from the youngsters themselves, and so will the many and varied attempts to personalize, individualize, and embellish the standard uniform until it is far from deserving of its name. The wearing of jewelry and make-up will also become more of an issue in this age group, and can infringe particular health and safety rules as well as falling under the general uniform policy. This is where the discipline of the school which has been taught to and observed by the younger child, and adhered to without question in those early years, will have to be more robustly upheld and enforced as the child enters its teenage years. In many ways, the lesson is even more important now, as every child has a built-in ‘laxity detector’ and older children can and will seize a perceived opportunity to profit by a relaxation of school rules. Nor can a harassed teacher expect to appeal successfully to a parent, who will usually be pre-disposed – and quite naturally so – to show their child more indulgence than the school rules will.

One great benefit of a uniform, specific to the school, and representative of the school as a whole, is that its use immediately falls under the jurisdiction of that school. If discipline has been established and is respected – and this depends so much on the way the school is operated – then any variation from the standard uniform can justifiably be corrected by the school, and parental opinion does not have a voice. The transgressions that qualify for correction may be trivial or extreme in nature – again dependent upon the level of discipline exacted by the school. However this may apply, a line can be drawn in this as in other aspects of school life. In this way, to give an example, while colorful or designer-branded school bags might be allowed as the sole way a child can express its own personality, the very idea of shortening a skirt to excess or dispensing with a tie might be rigidly opposed and punished. Another school might allow flexibility in the choice of shoes, or top coats, as long as they conform to a universal color requirement. Each school will have its own way of drawing that line – and as all parents know, ‘the line’ is the single most effective way of clarifying the relationship between child and adult, both inside and outside the home, to the mutual benefit of both sides.

Peer pressure and media pressure are a much greater influence on young teenagers now than they were a generation ago. Taken to excess, the sense that a child is inferior in status to its peers can lead to anxiety and even depression down many more routes than existed before we had Facebook, Twitter, Google and the like. This does not mean that the social media explosion is a bad thing – far from it, if it encourages interaction and a sense of community. At the same time, any small counter-measure that can make a child feel he or she is among equals, and at peace with that for several hours a day whilst preparing for the world beyond the classroom, can only be a valuable tool. Among other measures, the school uniform fulfills this requirement, and for this reason alone its continued use is justified and necessary.

Copyright Protection

Opinion And Related Sites Worth Seeing …