Dear Mr. or Mrs. President,
My name is Rachael, and I am in 8th grade at a school in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. I believe that the United States needs to decrease the amount of schools with mandatory uniforms. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, as of the 2007-2008 school year, 16.5% of all the public schools in the United States required students to wear uniforms. In addition, 54% enforce a strict dress code(infoplease.com). Uniforms may delay the transition into adulthood, do not stop bullying, and may increase violent attacks. They also do not improve attendance, academic preparedness, or exam results, and emphasize the socio-economic divisions they are supposed to eliminate. They are also opposed by students, promote conformity over individuality, and may have a detrimental effect on a student’s self-image.
Uniforms could delay an adolescent's transition into adulthood. A quote states that “Adults make their own clothing choices and have the freedom to express themselves through their appearance. Denying children and teenagers the opportunity to make those choices may make them ill-prepared for the adult world”(procon.org). Uniforms do not stop bullying and may increase violent attacks. Professor Tony Volk PhD at Brock University stated, “Overall, there is no evidence in bullying literature that supports a reduction in violence due to school uniforms.” "A 2007 peer-reviewed study found that "school uniforms increased the average number of assaults by about 14 [per year] in the most violent schools." A 1999 Texas Southern University study found that school discipline incidents rose by about 12% after the introduction of uniforms.”(procon.org). The Miami-Dade Public Schools office found that within one year of uniforms being introduced, fights in middle school almost doubled. School uniforms also emphasize the socio economic divisions they are supposed to eliminate. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2003, 47% of schools in high-poverty public schools required uniforms, while only 6% of low-poverty public schools required uniforms. David L. Brunsma, PhD states that “more affluent families buy more uniforms per child. The less affluent... they have one... It's more likely to be tattered, torn and faded. It only takes two months for socioeconomic differences to show up again."(procon.org). Some parents are unorganized. “This one is personal; as a rather unorganized mom, I admit that sometimes it's hard to know exactly what uniform parts need to be washed, dried and ironed the night before. I have spent many a morning scrambling to find a tie or a blazer that was required for an event.”(kidsfashion.about.com). Lastly, uniforms do not improve attendance, academic preparedness, or exam results. David L. Brunsma analyzed a national sample of 10th graders and there were no effects of uniforms on absenteeism and behavior problems. Uniforms also had no effect on “pro-school attitudes, academic preparedness, and peer attitudes towards school”. Uniforms also had a negative effect on exam results.
Uniforms are opposed by students. “A 2012 peer-reviewed study by researchers at the University of Nevada at Reno found that 90% of seventh and eighth grade public school students did not like wearing uniforms. A 2007 survey of Harford County, MD public school students found that 87.9% of the students were opposed to uniforms. In the year following the introduction of mandatory school uniforms to the Long Beach (CA) Unified School District, 81% of middle school students said uniforms did not reduce fights, 76% said they did not help them fit in at school, 69% said they did not make them feel more connected with the school community, and 71% said they felt no safer traveling to and from school.”(procon.org). Uniforms promote conformity over individuality. Some schools encourage and appreciate diversity, but uniform send the opposite message. Junior high school student Kyler Sumter states that they learn about historical figures who expressed themselves and conquered, but they can’t express themselves in the hallways. “In schools where uniforms are specifically gendered (girls must wear skirts and boys must wear pants), transgendered, gender-fluid, and gender-nonconforming students can feel ostracized. “Seamus, a 16-year-old transgendered boy, stated, "sitting in a blouse and skirt all day made me feel insanely anxious. I wasn't taken seriously. This is atrocious and damaging to a young person's mental health; that uniform nearly destroyed me."(procon.org). When students wear a uniform that does not suit their body type, they can feel like they never look their best. Some students, especially girls, will compare how they look to how others look in the same uniform. For those who have a plus-size body, a very tall body, a very short body, or a curvier body, girls with those bodies often feel like they do not look their best.
I am interested in this topic because my school requires uniforms, and I would love it if they didn’t. I can relate to a majority of the cons listed procon.org because I like things such as Black Veil Brides and bands like that. Uniforms restrict my self-expression. I would be very grateful if you could write a letter or give a speech to all the schools that require uniforms and tell them about all the cons of uniforms. Thank you for reading my letter.