Last Updated on March 14, 2021 by Filip Poutintsev
School Uniforms have been customary in many schools throughout many countries. Schools prefer to have all the students to have the same custom-school themed uniform throughout their primary, middle and high school years. This even prolongs to some Undergrad schools in some institutions.
Some schools even make this effective to the students residing in school. These uniforms have come a long way to be fit as per school rules and regulations; some being gender biased: separate uniforms for males and females or gender neutral: same uniforms for both males and females.
Each institution tends to make their own uniform unique as to distinguish their students amongst other schools. From private schools to government issued schools, uniforms have been in use for a really long time, dating as far as to the 16th century.
History of School Uniforms
Uniforms were noted to be first recorded in history in 1552 AD. The institution named “Christ Hospital School” in London was the first school to use a school uniform. Thematically, the uniform consisted of a long blue coat and yellow, knee-high socks. The same theme is very close to the current uniform of the students attending the school today.
However, the United States of America issued a thought on school uniforms only in 1996 after Bill Clinton, 42nd president of the states admissioned it. He believed, “ If it means that teenagers will stop killing each other over designer jackets, then our public schools should be able to require their students to wear uniforms”. By 1998, 25% of all U.S. public elementary, middle and junior high schools had adopted a uniform policy or were considering it as a policy.
Now, many schools are implementing school uniforms to maintain their integrity and individuality amongst other schools.
Pros and Cons of School Uniforms
These customs to assign uniforms to the students have had no effect on academics results so far in any study but it does have affected many psychological behavior in students. Here are some Pros and Cons relating to why School Uniforms can be effective or just a hoax.
Advantages of School Uniforms
1. Sense of Uniformity
School uniforms are designed so that no students maintain difference in each other. Every individual in the same uniform shares the same dignity and has the same place for each other. This creates a sense of unity among the students and creates no distortion with fashion and the competitiveness one may feel.
2. Enforces Discipline
School Uniforms tend to discipline students to stick with the crowd. Something very crucial to the modern day society. Of course this may raise conflict as to one’s individualism but, these uniforms are strongly ironic to that rules and regulations are the same for all the students and no one is inferior or superior.
3. Reduces Distractions
When customary uniforms are installed in any schools, it becomes compulsory to wear it. Hence, students do not have to worry about their appearance on a daily basis. There is no sense of competition as to who has to look the best or the most fashionable. So now, students can solely focus on their academic, social or athletic skills rather than having a fear of being left out.
4. Feeling of belonging
Students from a very young age seek the feeling of belonging. Whether it’s with parents, the neighborhood or schools or even clubs within school. Having a uniform creates a sense of belonging and enforces positive mental attitude within or outside school premises and with or without school uniforms.
On a sidetrack, studies have shown schools with uniforms have their students well behaved in a manner proving less bullying, absence records, vandalism and inner-school conflict. Though the data are varied with a very small number difference, this still counts as progress.
5. Distinguishing Students
Schools use uniforms to create uniformity as well give individual identity. There can be a common uniform for all an in addition, separate uniform for athletes or club members.
This makes students within the school feel more confident and respectful to other fields than they are currently involved with. Some schools have a variation on dresses distinguishing different grades. This also promotes self identification and self individualism.
Cons of School Uniform
Disadvantages of School Uniform
1. Threat to Individualism
Although uniforms create a mass individualism influence, students might feel conflicted and threatened to prove themselves. One might feel getting lost in a huge crowd and hard to distinguish themselves. This might have a huge effect on students as they might feel the massive burden of fierce competition.
To stand out, alteration in dress code such as rolling sleeves up, pants or skirts being of alternative measurements, or even dresses being too revealing is very common. This can be very distracting for some students when uniforms were originally designed to solve this problem.
2. Freedom of Expression
Fashion caught trends because we believed that what we wear can help us explain better. It defines us, helps people understand us and ourselves understand ourselves. To take this away from students at a very young age might be revolting and they might feel rebellious. This may cause further distress to dress better or desperately trying to find themselves and show themselves.
3. Not Significant for the Performance of the Students
Some schools make the dress an absolute necessity and treat students like it is the end of the world if they don’t respect their uniforms. This is a very wrong approach as though school uniforms might boost students’ confidence, it certainly does not boost their learning capabilities and skills. It’s more about self realisation than to be shoved down to the young ones.
4. Self Marketing
Schools treat school uniforms to establish dominance outside of schools. The fact that uniforms represent a certain school has been overused to self market themselves. Schools advertising their success and bragging their abilities to improve students are taken to the next level through school uniforms.
This creates a weird disturbing peer pressure to both children and parents feeling competitive to get into the best schools. This also includes harming their economic plans with huge fees.
5. Uniforms in Sexuality
As taboo as it sounds, uniforms do play a role in creating a difference in sexualism both positively and negatively. Some schools enforce gender neutral uniforms or different uniforms for different genders.
This might promote girls to be more girly or men to be more manly. Since there are not many options available anyway, the current scenario promotes rebellion to find their place or assert dominance. This creates a weird conflict as to personal recognition and what student really want for themselves
School uniforms are effective either way. They were introduced for recognition and the feeling of standing together united. School uniforms were not meant to cause any harm to students or the society but exceptions to individual mental attitude can always be made.
If anything, any culture or any followings is enforced on a mass of people, such as schools, it creates a different effect on different students. Some might feel confident and self sustaining while there are chances of some feeling discomfort. There can never be an ideal situation at all.
There’s a reason why some schools feel uniforms are necessary where some don’t. The effectiveness of uniforms will be a subject of continuing research as more schools look for solutions to socio-economic problems of attendance, discipline, bullying, student motivation, family engagement, or economic need. And while a school uniform may be only a small part of the solution for all of these ills, they do solve one major issue, the dress code violation.