Pro & Con Quotes: Should Students Have to Wear School Uniforms?
Nord Anglia International School in Manila, Philippines, states:
“School uniforms are a key way of developing a sense of togetherness among students and staff, but the topic is still one of the most widely debated outside of schools….
When students all wear the same clothing every day at school, it levels out the playing field. Any expectations on what to wear are removed and children develop a greater sense of equality.
Children of all socioeconomic backgrounds begin from the same starting point. Without uniforms, children from poorer backgrounds could feel isolated if their parents are unable to afford the latest styles of clothing.
Creating a standard promotes the idea that we are all the same. Children come together from different backgrounds and can immediately identify a fellow member of their team from the clothes that they wear, breeding a sense of cohesion and commonality that is lost when school uniforms are removed.”-
Nord Anglia International School, “Why Students Should Wear Uniforms,” nordangliaeducation.com, Apr. 24, 2023
Janice Mook, a student at Diocesan Girls’ School in Hong Kong, states:
“School uniforms should be replaced with dress codes which can better cater to student needs. A dress code is a set of guidelines for what students should wear, unlike school uniforms which restrict students to a handful of outfits, whether or not they fit the day’s weather or activities. Dress codes enable students to choose clothes that help them feel comfort without overstepping what the school deems as appropriate attire….
Uniforms also represent a student’s school, along with whatever reputation it may have, so uniforms might label students with any negative stereotypes associated with their schools. Dress codes, however, can prevent students from constantly being tied to their school’s reputation, and possibly being bullied for it.
Since dress codes can clearly define the appropriate clothing that students should wear at school, they should replace uniforms.”-
Janice Mook and Hannah Wu, “Face Off: Should School Uniforms Be Replaced with Dress Codes?,” scmp.com, June 2, 2021
American Preparatory Academy in Utah states:
“Debates continue about whether students should wear uniforms in schools; however, when you read about schools around the world, a high percentage of those surveyed support school uniforms. Many schools agree that uniforms help remove economic barriers, build feelings of community, and reduce instances of bullying.
Our APA Dress Code is founded on similar beliefs that uniforms decrease distractions, simplify the morning routine, increase respect for each student, and prepare students for success by teaching professional dress….
The student dress code at American Preparatory Academy is one that helps create an environment of respect and dignity. Student dress exemplifies students’ respect for themselves, their classmates, and learning. When everyone is wearing the same thing, students can focus on essential issues like academics and character.”-
American Preparatory Academy, “Why School Uniforms?,” blog.americanprep.org, Feb. 10, 2020
Bill O’Chee, Australian politician, states:
“[D]itching school uniforms would not only cost parents more money, and would be a bad idea all around. In fact, school uniforms are as important as student laptops in the education experience…
Interestingly, what most excites children going to school for the first time is usually their uniform. Every five-year-old can appreciate wearing a school uniform is a powerful rite of passage, and an equally powerful statement of belonging.
This is no less true of high school students. Quite frankly, we spend far too much time pandering to a generation for whom individuality is a temper tantrum and a Facebook post short of an overblown sense of entitlement.
We need to spend more time emphasising the value of community, and how communities can only function if everyone gives up some of their own entitlement for the good of others.”-
Bill O’Chee, “Why School Uniforms Are as Important as Student Laptops,” theage.com.au, Jan. 10, 2017
Keith Metcalfe, Deputy Head Master Elect at Harrow School in the United Kingdom, states:
“Harrow’s distinctive uniform is not simply an exercise in conformity, but a connection to the rich history of the school and a symbol of its distinguished community… These elements make boys feel that they belong to something bigger than themselves. The simple act of putting on a uniform makes every day an occasion, and indicates a readiness for the day ahead…
But boys at Harrow do not wear uniform simply for the sake of tradition, to feel they belong, or even to prepare them mentally to study.
Like so many things at Harrow, our uniform is a great leveller. No two Harrovians are the same: some live in London, others much further afield in the UK or overseas; a number come from established Harrow families, others have no experience of public schooling; many excel in sport or the arts, while others are incredibly strong academically.
Whatever they bring to the Hill, they all come together on equal footing, to be identified and judged by their character and contribution alone.”-
Keith Metcalfe, “Should We Get Rid of School Uniform?,” telegraph.co.uk, Mar. 9, 2016
French Toast Official School Wear, a school uniform supplier, stated in its article titled “Why School Uniforms?,” available at FrenchToast.com (accessed Aug. 29, 2014):
“Student attention needs to return to learning in the classroom, rather than how they look when they are in that classroom. Mandated uniforms can serve to shift the emphasis from competition back to academic performance and personal achievement….
Uniforms create a feeling of oneness and belonging. Everyone can be on the same team. As on athletic teams, uniforms are worn for immediate identification and to inspire a feeling of ‘oneness.’ Put on your team uniform and you suddenly belong. A sense of loyalty emerges from inside, as does an extra effort to perform at the student’s best….
Uniforms add measures of safety in identical dress. Gang identification is obscured. Group violence and theft are dissipated…. Children are no longer identified by their ‘colors.’ Uniform dress alleviated the feelings of imminent danger for students who were afraid they might inadvertently dress in gang colors….
Uniforms also raise students’ expectations of themselves. When dressed neatly and seriously, students tend to behave seriously. Often teachers find calmer, more polite, more attentive students. Students seem to feel more confident in the way they look, and so they have more confidence in themselves.”-
French Toast Official School Wear, “Why School Uniforms?,” frenchtoast.com (accessed Aug. 29, 2014):
Alun Jones, President of the Girls’ School Association and Principal of St Gabriel’s Independent Day School in the United Kingdom, states:
“We have a styling of uniforms for girls that’s more comfortable, practical and more suited for a girl’s shape. There is a move in schools for girls’ skirts to be kept at a decent level. Some schools are moving to mid-calf-length skirts to reflect the workplace and the type of dress these girls will be required to wear in adult life.
Fashion and image are very important. These are highly emotional subjects for girls. And as far as girls are concerned it is very important that they don’t have to give in to these sort of pressures so they actually welcome [wearing a uniform].
They like to look smart – which is one of the huge benefits of a uniform – and that also means that they don’t have to rise to stereotypical images and behaviours and therefore can be themselves.”-
Alun Jones, “Skirts at Top Private Girls’ School Become Longer as Teachers Try to Combat Bullying,” telegraph.co.uk, Nov. 22, 2015
Belinda Luscombe, Editor-at-Large at TIME magazine, states:
“A uniform is not the same thing as a dress code… No endless back and forth between child, parents and school. Moreover, when a kid’s in uniform, he or she sticks out like a sore thumb. The local community knows where that kid belongs. It’s harder for kids to skip school or get into trouble outside school. They’re too easily spotted…
What do bridesmaids, military personnel and emergency service workers have in common? They all have to wear what they’re given without whining, no matter how puffy the sleeves or hideous the shoes. Oh yeah, and they also are there to serve somebody else. Nothing says ‘this is not just about you,’ more than an ugly uniform. And where else could we learn a lesson in sacrifice and serving the common good with so little actual sacrifice?”-
Belinda Luscombe, “How Ugly School Uniforms Will Save Education,” time.com, Mar. 25, 2014
Arya Ansari, Michael Shepard, and Michael A. Gottfried, of The Ohio State University and University of Pennsylvania, state:
“Whether or not schoolchildren exhibit better behavior in the context of wearing uniforms has been a longstanding area of debate in education…. In general, students in schools that required school uniforms did not demonstrate better social skills, internalizing and externalizing behavior, or school attendance as compared with students in schools without school uniforms. These associations were true across both public and private schools.”-
Arya Ansari, Michael Shepard, and Michael A. Gottfried, “School Uniforms and Student Behavior: Is There a Link?,” sciencedirect.com, Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 2022
Hannah Wu, a student at Island School in Hong Kong, states:
“We’ve all experienced standing in front of our wardrobes, struggling to find the right thing to wear for every occasion. As a student, I’m grateful for the convenience that my uniform bring me. Every weekday morning, all I have to do is throw it on after washing up and eating breakfast, and then I sprint out the door. Wearing a uniform saves me so much time, especially when I oversleep or spend too much time eating breakfast.
Dress codes don’t give students the same benefits that school uniforms give. For example, when everyone dresses differently, students will feel little to no school pride on their way in to class. What’s more, strict dress codes can cause headaches for students who need to buy specific clothes to fit the guidelines, while lax ones leave it to individual teachers to decide what they think is appropriate for students to wear, leaving much uncertainty.”-
Janice Mook and Hannah Wu, “Face Off: Should School Uniforms Be Replaced with Dress Codes?,” scmp.com, June 2, 2021
Lamya Hairston, a student in Salisbury, North Carolina, states:
“I feel like the schools that have to wear uniform shouldn’t. I feel like wearing uniforms is unnecessary. Why should we go out and pay extra money for clothes we’re only going to wear on school days and only for one year, unless you don’t grow out of them. We could easily buy clothes that we could wear to school and in public. It’s a waste of money and I know I’m not the only one who thinks we shouldn’t wear uniforms. On top of not wanting to wear the uniforms, we have to buy them and they’re expensive. Wearing whatever you want is a good way to show off your own style. Again, my biggest issue about wearing uniforms is the fact that most people don’t enjoy them and they aren’t cheap. What happens if you grow out of them? What happens if you accidentally stain them? You have to go and buy a new pair. One pair of my uniform pants that i won’t be wearing anyway else is $20. To me that is a big waste of money. That is why I feel we shouldn’t have to wear uniforms.”-
Lamya Hairston, Letter to the Editor, salisburypost.com, Mar. 11, 2020
Will Galloway, Chairman of the South Carolina Teenage Republicans, states:
“Rather than promote an orderly and disciplined student environment, mandatory uniforms would cause massive student disobedience and take away valuable instruction time. If one or two students wear something inappropriate, administration will handle it. The student in question will change, be disciplined, and return to class without disrupting the school day. [South Carolina] Rep. McKnight’s [mandatory uniform] policy would trigger massive backlash from students, and would cost countless hours of classroom instruction. Public schools already have dress codes which ban provocative, revealing, gang-affiliated, and hateful clothing, which addresses Rep. McKnight’s concerns in introducing the bill.
Second, the bill would not mask income disparities, it would showcase them. The bill says that it would provide funding for at least five uniforms for a student who cannot afford one, depending on the availability of funding.
What happens when this funding is not available anymore? And why would this be the best use of money on the school system? Wouldn’t it be better to fix the crippling inequality of schools along the I-95 corridor? Or invest in vocational training for our students? Rather than attempting to disguise poverty, shouldn’t we attempt to solve it and help these students and their families rise out of poverty?”-
Will Galloway, “Will Galloway: Just Say No to School Uniforms,” fitsnews.com, Jan. 5, 2017
Rob O’Donnell, President of the Irish Second-Level Students’ Union, states:
“When we ask student councils about the issues of concern to them, this often comes up. It’s even more of a concern in mixed schools where, every day, girls see their male classmates come to school in trousers… Some girls really, really hate – absolutely hate – to wear skirts. It is a dated system. In any other walk of life, we wouldn’t dream of telling girls that they have to wear a skirt. So why is it acceptable to inflict it on them at school?
…We’ve seen situations in coeducational schools whereby the girls are allowed to dye their hair a natural colour, but the boys are not allowed at all. How a young person appears makes no difference whatsoever to their education… Schools should be encouraging free thought and self-expression, not suppressing it.”-
Peter McGuire, “No Skirting the School Uniform Debate,” irishtimes.com, Feb. 8, 2016
Alistair Browlow, Co-Principal of Rochester Independent School in the United Kingdom, states:
“Some English schools (and politicians) see uniform as a quick fix for a range of problems. However, serious discipline and academic issues are unlikely to be solved by nostalgically resurrecting the blazer or draconian decrees issued from the headmaster’s study regarding skirt length.
Students flourish when they’re treated as free-range individuals, rather than battery-hen units that must conform. Examples from around the world show that high standards of discipline, team spirit and attainment are not synonymous with school uniform.
Importantly, the lack of uniform is widely debated among our students – they’re aware of the danger of defining individuality in terms of clothing, and of issues such as body image and self esteem. As media savvy individuals they are suspicious of attempts by some schools to use uniform as part of their corporate identity and brand.”-
Alistair Browlow, “Should We Get Rid of School Uniform?,” telegraph.co.uk, Mar. 9, 2016
Nancy E. Bailey, education author and activist, states:
“Students should learn to make informed decisions about the clothes they wear…
Bullying occurs whether students wear uniforms or not. The root cause of bullying should be addressed. Teens should be able to develop self-expression and their personal identity. Instead, they might resort to unconventional piercings and tattoos… [S]chool uniforms encourage followers not leaders. The practice discourages independent thinkers. This follower mentality could extend into adulthood…
[T]he push for students to wear uniforms to improve behavior lacks validity and seems ill-advised for a democratic public school system. Today’s school uniforms seem more a punitive measure meant to deny students their right to freedom of expression and individuality. Public schools can still have dress codes without resorting to mandatory uniforms. There are much better goals to address safety and overall school climate.”-
Nancy E. Bailey, Misguided Education Reform: Debating the Impact on Students, 2013
Linne Hoofnagle, former staff writer for Tiger Hi-Line, states:
“[T]he most obvious point against uniforms is that they restrict self-expression. We live in a dynamic society, full of unique characters that make our world a spontaneous one. Cutting that off at a young age only stifles creativity and encourages conformity. We want to encourage our children to be expressive and to think outside the box. Forcing them to wear ugly gray sweater vests and starched white shirts is not the way to do that.
The gender-specific uniform guidelines often reinforce the gender binary in the school environment. The separation between females and males will only increase. If uniforms were all-encompassing and non-gender specific, this problem would not exist. However, uniforms are not all-encompassing. There are limited choices for males and limited choices for females. Though females can wear uniform pants, men are not allowed to wear uniform jumpers. Conflict would arise if a male attempted to wear the specified ‘female’ attire. This poses problems to LGBT progress in school environments…
[W]here did we get the idea that bullying and stereotypes would magically disappear if we implemented a strict uniform? People will not stop bullying each other based on appearance, which manifests itself in ways besides clothing. If we convince ourselves that placing limits on clothing choices will eliminate school bullying, we are kidding ourselves.”-
Linne Hoofnagle, “Uniforms Limit Number of Outlets for Creativity and Self-Expression,” Tiger Hi-Line Dec. 4, 2012
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