While statistics show that mandatory school uniforms are becoming more widespread in the US, they have been common across the UK for decades. Yet arguments have surfaced recently about the legitimacy of such mandatory uniforms.
1. Mandatory uniforms give educational establishments a sense of order and discipline. Having worked in a failing school, one of the differences between a good school and a bad school is the uniform. It’s one of the things which indicates whether a school is on the way up or the way down. A mandatory school uniform ensures that students are smart, ready to learn and in the right frame of mind.
2. Mandatory uniforms give students a sense of pride. They offer a sense of belonging and community which not all individuals have in the modern world and in doing so can make the school community safer.
3. Mandatory uniforms promote equality. They prevent students turning up for classes in designer clothes and arguing about who has the best label; or conversely, about who is excluded because ‘they aren’t up to standard’.
4. In this respect, mandatory uniforms can ease financial burdens on parents by preventing the rush for the latest fashion label. Uniforms should be affordable to all sections of the community and cheap enough to replace, thereby improving the equality argument.
1. Arguments have sounded that mandatory uniforms create too much uniformity and so stifle creativity. By allowing students to wear their own choice of clothes, authorities would develop a sense of independence and originality into young minds.
2. Some mandatory uniforms are oppressive to wear and encourage bullying. Teachers have experienced instances where ties have been used to choke students or whip them. Parts of school uniforms have been coloured in by students who have little respect for the school. Banning the use of mandatory school uniforms could go some way to ending this and making the school yard safer.
3. Many students are now beginning to feel that traditional school uniforms are out of date in the twenty-first century. In the technological, designer label age, young people don’t want to be told to wear, particularly if it’s something like a blazer or, more traditionally, a bonnet. They want the independence of making choices; and part of this is coming in the UK with school encouraging children to choose their uniform.
The arguments in favour of mandatory school uniforms seem to far outweigh the arguments against them, yet the trend in many places of work is moving towards a more relaxed approach with less of an emphasis on mandatory uniforms or a rigid working practice. Yet uniforms bring so much more than simply create a divide between teachers and pupils – they are part of the preparation for a life in which discipline is important, rules are to be observed and pride in oneself is important for success.