Top Pro & Con Arguments
School uniforms deter crime and increase student safety.
In Long Beach, California, after two years of a district-wide K-8 mandatory uniform policy, reports of assault and battery in the district’s schools decreased by 34%, assault with a deadly weapon dropped by 50%, fighting incidents went down by 51%, sex offenses were cut by 74%, robbery dropped by 65%, possession of weapons (or weapon “look-alikes”) decreased by 52%, possession of drugs went down by 69%, and vandalism was lowered by 18%.
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. A peer-reviewed study found that schools with uniform policies had 12% fewer firearm-related incidents and 15% fewer drug-related incidents than schools without uniforms.
School uniforms also prevent students from concealing weapons under baggy clothing, make it easier to keep track of students on field trips, and make intruders on campus more visible. Frank Quatrone, superintendent in the Lodi school district of New Jersey, states, “When you have students dressed alike, you make them safer. If someone were to come into a building, the intruder could easily be recognized.”
Further, school uniforms create a level playing field among students, reducing peer pressure and bullying. When all students are 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. Research by the Schoolwear Association found that 83% of teachers thought “a good school uniform… could prevent bullying based on appearance or economic background.” Arminta Jacobson, Founder and Director of the Center for Parent Education at the University of North Texas, states that uniforms put “all kids on the same playing field in terms of their appearance. I think it probably gives them a sense of belonging and a feeling of being socially accepted.”
And, school uniforms prevent the display of gang colors and insignia, reducing gang activity and pressure to join on school property. The U.S. Department of Education’s Manual on School Uniforms stated that uniform policies can “prevent gang members from wearing gang colors and insignia at school” in order to “encourage a safe environment.” Educators in the Long Beach Unified School District have speculated that the sharp reduction in crime following the introduction of school uniforms was a result of gang conflicts being curbed. Osceola County, Florida School Board member Jay Wheeler reports that the county’s schools had a 46% drop in gang activity after their first full school year with a mandatory K-12 uniform policy. Wheeler explains that “clothing is integral to gang culture… Imagine a U.S. Armed Forces recruiter out of uniform trying to recruit new soldiers; the success rate goes down. The same applies to gang recruitment.”   Read More