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Allison Ward
Professor Adam Padgett
English 102
5 April 2016
The Negative Effects of School Uniforms.
Primarily, in the United States, school uniforms are associated with private schools more
so than public schools, however, there is an ongoing debate in determining whether or not
uniforms should be implemented in public schools as well. Although it has become a new debate
in America, it is not new to countries around the world. School uniforms have been worn for
centuries, the most historical information comes predominately from England. Uniforms were
used to give schools a sense of unity and character. Also, it was to discourage the distinguishing
of class among students, which provided equality in schools, regardless of wealth. The United
States began using uniforms in early 1900s in parochial and private schools, later, in the 1980s
some public schools began issuing school uniforms on a voluntary basis. As time has passed
school uniforms have evolved, the traditional blazer and tie have been replaced with a plain
collared shirt and khakis. Although the original intent of uniforms was pure, is has since been
altered. There are many debates regarding uniforms in public schools, one being that it teaches
students that being different is a cause for alarm or danger. Another issue that has developed is
the loss of self expression which can be difficult when children are still forming their identities.
Although some claim that a uniform will put a stop to things such as gang affiliation in schools
and bullying, the solution is not to change what a student wears but to attack the problem itself,
not cover it up with a sea of sameness. If school uniforms are implemented, then students rights
will be obstructed and the effects could become more harmful.

Like many, Samantha Deane opposes the idea of school uniforms in public schools. In
her article, Dressing Diversity: Politics of Difference and The Cases of School Uniforms, she
shapes her argument against school uniforms in three sections. She begins by discussing the
injustices that uniforms present. Deane writes, the history of asking students to appear one
way or another is a story of mingled concerns about academic achievement, juvenile
delinquency, gender appropriateness, race relations, and gang affiliation (Deane 113). Through
the previous quote, she uses words such as story and mingled to throw humor into her
argument. Wearing a uniform to solve problems in schools is nothing but a misconception and
the evidence to prove its effectiveness is not as clear as some portray it to be. Deane states,
these policies tell students that when and where appearances differ, danger lurks (Deane 113).
Requiring a uniform teaches students that things that are different are not acceptable. Safety
inside of school buildings is important, however, technology is so advanced that uniforms dont
make schools any safer, so, declaring that danger is in the person who stands out is no longer
appropriate. Her second sections states that schools ought to be places where children are
confronted with the humanity of others (Deane 112). She argues that it doesnt leave children to
deal with difference and humiliation of their own, but to grow and learn as an individual through
a diverse environment. In closing, Deane, outlines what it would mean to resituate the schools.
Deane explains, schools in this vision are not apolitical sanctuaries where children develop into
perfect rational subjects; rather, schools are messy, vibrant, lively, worlds where children both
constitute and come to know the diverse world and public(s) that surround them (Deane 112).
By this, she implies that students should not be restrained from expressing who they are as an
individual, because you learn about the world through the people with in your environment.

Deane believes that students who are able to surround themselves with all different types of
people will thrive as an individual.
Finding sources with an unbiased view is relatively difficult, however, procon.org is a
useful tool when searching for both sides of an argument. The central idea is to expose both an
opposing view and supporting view of school uniforms, by using views from other writers. An
author opposed to the idea of school uniforms, Nancy E. Bailey, writes, 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 (Bailey). Bailey suggests that
students right to individualism should not be taken away, but the problem it self should be
solved. Students are bullied for a variety of different reasons, it could be because of how they
dress, how they act, their size, their abilities, or their wealth, and requiring uniforms wont put an
end to these problems, it will only mask them. Another author in disagreement with uniforms
suggests that it will only further separate male and female students (Hoofnagle). He argues that
school uniforms conflict with LGBT progress in schools. Although females have a few options,
males are very limited in what they are allowed to wear. This also could cause problems if a
student who identifies as a different gender than they are known to be attempt to wear their
identified genders uniform. In spite of the reasons to argue against uniforms, 42nd president, Bill
Clinton says, I believe we should give strong support to school districts that decide to require
young students to wear school uniforms. We've all seen the tragic headlines screaming of the
death of a teenager who was killed for a pair of sneakers or jewelry or a designer jacket
(Clinton). His claim is that uniforms will remove violence because it will eliminate violent
situations involving students being attacked for expensive clothing, jewelry or shoes. Because

there are so many components involving the utilization of school uniforms, many people have
different opinions.
Many people agree that uniforms should be mandatory, list land uses acquired
information to compile a list of the top ten reasons uniforms should be brought into play in
public schools. Time could be spent more effectively if principals and teachers did not have to
spend a portion of their time checking the appropriateness of their students attire each day
(listland.com). This implies that there is already a dress code or a set of regulations being applied
in the schools and authorities are checking each day to see if students are abiding by these
guidelines. Usually these policies consist mainly of regulations for female students such as no
strapless or spaghetti strap dresses or shirts, shorts that are at least to your finger tips, no jeans
with excessive rips and tears, and no low cut shirts with excesses cleavage. As for males, they are
asked not to sag their pants. Mutually they are asked not to wear items with drug or alcohol
paraphernalia. Although these rules arent terrible, if they didnt exist there would be no time
taken out of class to enforce them. Females, who are self-respecting, dress appropriately and it
should be up to the judgment of the teacher to decide if their attire is distracting. Another major
reason in encouraging uniforms is that it promotes unity, Troubled students at any school
benefits a great deal from uniform culture... Such students can be saved if they are given a feeler
that they are a part of a community (listland.com). This suggests that it will correct the
behavior of an unruly student, assuming that he or she feels as if they are an outcast to society
and need to feel accepted. This is an interesting point until you begin to evaluate the student and
find the underlying cause of their outburst. A student could have an excessive amount of friends
and still act out if there is a problem at home or elsewhere. So, although there are reasons to
support this issue, there are also many ways to discredit the evidence that uniforms are effective.

In the article, School Dress Codes Are Necessary and Constitutional, Stephen Daniels,
lays out the reasons that uniforms are effective and should be implemented in schools. Each
section of his essay is labeled with its central claim. He discusses the benefits and positive
impacts of school uniforms, the idea that schools will becomes safer, it could benefit self-esteem
and school unity, he explains how it is not infringing on students rights, and that it works in the
best interest of schools. According to one survey conducted by the NAESP, principals of
schools that have uniform policies in place believe that students stay more disciplined and
focused in their studies and feel less peer pressure (Daniels). Principals believe that their
students are more disciplined, but does the survey ask if the principals were there before uniform
regulations were added, or if they have taught at a previous school? Also, does the survey take
into consideration the geographic location, population of the surrounding area, ethnicity, or
income of the parents of the students? Answers to each of these questions could discredit the
findings of this specific survey. In an attempt to credit uniforms with promoting school safety
Daniels write, Unfortunately, the demand for high priced designer clothing often puts students
at risk of theft and violence from other students (Daniels). Although his claim is true, it is the
right of a student to put him or herself at risk. Schools shouldnt have the right to say a student
cannot wear their new designer item because they may be subjected to theft or violence. Vital
information is missing from the claims of Stephen Daniels which brings readers to question the
reliability of his research.
Public relations director at the University of Pennsylvania, Alicia Thomas, discusses her
views on why she opposes school uniforms. Alicia writes, They can expect to be ridiculed for
not looking as fantastic in their uniforms as some of the better-looking students. And this could
be catastrophic for anyone with a less-than-perfect image of themselves (Thomas). When

students are allowed to dress themselves freely and are victims of bullying, it is because what
they are wearing is weird or not what the other person would wear. Although this type of
bullying is unspeakable, bullying that arises when everyone is dressed identically becomes more
harmful to the self esteem of the target. Thomas exclaims, they create a new and more painful
contest: the best-body competition (Thomas). Everyone has something they dont particularly
like about themselves and something they wish they had of someone elses. This makes uniforms
especially hard for female students who are constantly questioning their own beauty and
comparing themselves to others. The focal point of bullying becomes about someone who does
not look as good as everyone else. They are supposed to promote unity, but for some it will only
make them feel like more of an outcast.
Research collected in the study, Uniforms in The Middle School: Student Opinions,
Discipline Data, And School Police Data used the opinions of middle school students on the
advantages of wearing a school uniform after a new policy of uniforms was introduced. The data
includes the methods, procedure, results, and a discussion at the end. When it is discussing its
results it breaks them down by gender, grade, race/ethnicity and school discipline effects. There
was a vast majority of students that opposed the idea of wearing a uniform, however, female
students expressed that they were treated better while wearing uniform. This study also provided
evidence that female students were less likely to not wear their uniform than male students. (354)
Only one point seven percent of students indicated that they are strongly in favor of uniforms.
The survey asks the students, uniforms reduced behavior problems and that school is safer,
along with worrying less about their appearance by wearing uniforms, worrying less about how
others look, and making it easier for them to go to school (351), only about thirty percent of
students agreed with this statement. After collecting the data found inside of the school, there

was never a majority of students in agreement that wearing uniforms made improvements
throughout the school. With that being said, people of authority can form their opinions and
publish articles but ultimately, the opinions of students should be taken into consideration above
all else if the intent is truly to better their education.
Opinions of students are vital, but, the attitudes of parents can also be just as important
when considering the idea of putting uniforms into their childrens schools. Fifty-Six percent of
the parents that responded approved the movement for school uniforms. Twenty-Six percent of
the parents decided that they thought that placing uniforms in a learning environment would do
more harm than good and voted strongly against approving them. Eighteen percent could not
decide whether or not school uniforms would be helpful to students or if they would hinder
students learning. (West) Parents, unlike students, for the most part, agree with uniforms in
school. Although most agreed, thirty-six percent thought that it should be optional not required
(West). Parents did agree that uniforms impaired their children from being able to express
themselves, but were not concerned. If parents are concerned with their children expressing
themselves then they should regulate the clothes that they buy for them, not agree to regulate the
attire of every student in a school.
School uniforms present injustices in school as well as casts a delusion that they are
effective in the learning environment. Students that are subject to a diverse environment will
grow into more well-rounded people. Many people are under the impression that bullying will
come to a halt if uniforms are implemented, but bullying exist whether uniforms are into play or
not. Several people argue that uniforms restrict a childs right to individualism. Uniforms are
supposed to save valuable school time, but if there were no dress codes at all no valuable time

would be taken. The same amount of time taken to enforce dress codes will be used to enforce a
uniform policy. A study aims to say that students who wear uniforms are more well-behaved, but
fails to mention where it is located or the over-all location of the school that was taken into
consideration. When the opinions of students are taken into account there is an overall negative
opinion of wearing a school uniform.
Overall I think that you did a great job with this paper. You picked a side and stuck with it
the entire way. You had good sources and analyzed them well. I also think that it was good that
you had so many opposing sources to strengthen your argument. The one thing that I would
change would maybe be making your thesis a little more clear and specific.


Works Cited
Attitudes of parents about school uniforms. By: West, Charles K., Tidwell, Diane K., Bomba,
Anne K., Journal of Family & Consumer Sciences, 10821651, Mar99, Vol. 91, Issue 2
Daniels, Stephen. "School Dress Codes Are Necessary and Constitutional." Students' Rights. Ed.
Jamuna Carroll. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2005. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from
"Student Dress Policies: The Success of School Uniforms and Dress
Codes." Findings (May 2001). Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 28 Feb. 2016.
Deane, Samantha. "Dressing Diversity: Politics Of Difference And The Case Of School
Uniforms." Philosophical Studies In Education 46.(2015): 111. Supplemental Index. Web.
28 Feb. 2016.
Listland. "Top 10 Reasons School Uniforms Should Be Mandatory." Top 10 Lists ListLandcom.
Listland, 30 Sept. 2014. Web. 31 Mar. 2016.
ProCon.org. "School Uniforms around the World." ProCon.org. 28 Aug. 2014. Web. 25 Feb.
Sanchez, Jafeth E., Andrew Yoxsimer, and George C. Hill. "Uniforms In The Middle School:
Student Opinions, Discipline Data, And School Police Data." Journal Of School Violence
11.4 (2012): 345-356 12p. CINAHL Plus with Full Text. Web. 28 Feb. 2016.
Thomas, Alicia. "School Uniforms." ProConorg Headlines. Procon.org, n.d. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.