Elita M. New Jersey

School Uniforms

There has been much debate concerning whether or not schools should enforce wearing uniforms and establish dress codes, and it should be resolved.

Dear President-elect Trump,

While there are numerous people who believe that school uniforms should not be required, there are other people that support incorporating them into the dress code of every school, mainly for five reasons. As a proponent of this issue and someone who already wears a school uniform, I feel that school uniforms keep students focused on their education, not their clothes. A 2010 University of Houston study found that elementary school girls' language test scores increased by about three percentile points after uniforms were introduced. A bulletin published by the National Association of Secondary School Principals stated that "When all students are wearing the same outfit, they are less concerned about how they look and how they fit in with their peers; thus, they can concentrate on their schoolwork."

If students are all wearing the same type of outfit, it becomes much easier to spot outsiders who may wander onto the campus. In addition, uniforms decrease the number of incidences of students being attacked or beaten for items of clothing such as shoes and jackets. Also, members of gangs frequently have a color or style of clothing used to identify themselves. Unsuspecting students who wear gang colors or gang-related attire might be threatened or intimidated by members of opposing gangs, students wearing expensive or fashionable clothes might become victims of theft, or certain fashion accessories or attire may be used as a means of concealing weapons, or even as weapons. A 2012 peer-reviewed study found that one year after Sparks Middle School in Nevada instituted a uniform policy, school police data showed a 63% drop in police log reports, and decreases were also noted in gang activity, student fights, graffiti, property damage, and battery. After the implementation of the use of school uniforms, several schools have noticed how their campuses and buildings have become safer environments overall.

One of the biggest concerns in schools these days is bullying. Students are harassed physically, verbally, and socially. Often, the cause of bullying stems from people being different for not wearing the “right” clothes. When all students have dressed alike, competition between students over clothing choices and the teasing of those who are dressed in less expensive or less fashionable outfits can be eliminated. 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. If someone looks richer, most people feel like they have a higher social status or more power. To the contrary, uniforms allow children to learn on a more level playing field, with less judgment about clothing choices, brands of clothing, or physical appearance.

A 2002 study of over 1,000 Texas middle school students found that students in uniform "reported significantly more positive perceptions of belonging to their school community than reported by students in the standard dress group." Wearing uniforms enhances school pride, unity, and community spirit. Wearing school colors gives students a feeling of being more connected to their school and classmates. If there is a sense of community and connectedness among the students, the use of foul language, gang behavior, and crimes like vandalism are largely eliminated. Wearing school uniforms can also help people gain more self-confidence because they know they are a part of something bigger. They establish unity rather than conformity.

Along with the mentioned advantages, like more focus on education, reduced bullying, enhanced school pride, and increased school safety, school uniforms can save parents’ money. Parents can reduce their financial burden when their children are limited to wearing one simple outfit every day. A national 2013 survey of 517 US school leaders found that 94% of those surveyed believe "one of the main benefits to parents is that school uniforms are more cost-effective than regular apparel," and 77% estimated the average annual cost of school uniforms per child to be $150 or less. While research on the effectiveness of uniforms is still ongoing, they have been proven to raise test scores, boost self-esteem, reduce violence and crime, save parents’ money, and create a sense of newfound pride in students. As you can see next president, I hope that with your leadership for this country, you will finally put an end to the constant debate about school uniforms, and start fulfilling its use, for the better future of students nationwide.


Elita Moloparambil