School Uniforms Friend or Foe
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School uniform has a long history and it can be traced back to the period of King Henry VIII reign. The uniforms at the time were dyed blue. The dyed blue color was readily available and was used as a sign of humility among the pupils. Since then, uniforms have been gaining popularity around the world and most schools now have them. The design was according to age and sex of the pupil. Various reforms in education sector have encouraged the use of school uniform. This is because it is believed that school uniform contributes to development of school ethos (Walmsley, 2011).
Different nations believe that school uniform provides a sense of pride and inculcating good behavior, discipline, builds school ethos and sense of identity and expression among school community. School uniforms have been used to show equality in schools among children from various races, religion and social backgrounds. It helps to promote good relations among the pupils and ease them off social pressure associated with economic backgrounds and make them feel welcome.
Economically, school uniforms are fairly sold to enable every parent or guardian to afford them. Uniforms also accommodate religious differences that exist in the society. The Christians and Muslims have their dress code and girls are allowed to wear turbans as per their religious teachings. School uniform is used by both private and public schools. Private schools see it an important element in maintaining order. The public schools are also thinking of bringing even stringent dress to curb students’ violence and unrest in public places (Tamar, 2008).
Uniforms are not only used in school environment but they have also been introduced to work places, prisons, defense forces among other public and private organizations. They are mainly used for identification, brand development, pride among other reasons. In the United States, the proposal in some states to have teachers wear uniform or support a certain dress code is on-going. The proponents of these proposals view teachers as role models to their students and therefore must set some standards through their dress code.
They also say that consistency in dressing code among teachers can help boost their morale and earn them respect for the profession. On the other hand, opponents believe that by subjecting teachers to wearing uniform, their morale shall be lowered because they will feel like students and violate their rights under the Constitution of the U.S. (Tamar, 2008).
Uniforms are associated with seriousness rather than playing. When pupils are dressed in play clothes, they tend to approach everything in less serious manner. Uniforms make them give a serious approach towards their studies. This habit of wearing uniform also prepares them for a later serious professional work life just like in fortune 500 companies.
Schools have adopted uniform policies since they believe that it enhances a professional appearance liking school to an office or business environment. This way, students will identify school periods to working hours in the office. Pupils who wear home or casual attires to school may feel rather relaxed, unmotivated and probably start goofing around. By wearing their uniforms, they connect working hard with studies and act professionally with drive and motive to achieve better results in the tests.
It has been shown that school uniforms reduce incidences of fighting and violence that may occur has a result of debates or arguments over fashionable clothes trend. Well-to-do pupils may tease those who do not have trendy clothes as fashion industry dictates. Pupils who cannot afford these designer wear clothes are extremely sensitive in their interaction with those who have them.
School uniforms are the simplest form to identify and associate pupils with their schools, pupils fear being caught in bad behavior in their school informs (Walmsley, 2011). This is because they can easily be traced back and identified. As a result, schools with gang related problems have experienced decline in cases of indiscipline and youth gang related activities.
Distractions result from trending clothing is reduced by wearing school uniform. Parents support their children wearing uniforms because they look neat in appropriate attire. The outlandish clothing considered trendy normally deviate attention. Some of these cloths are normally over revealing. Some pupils may be spending more time on their clothes than on their class and homework (Matt, 2008). This could because of their color and sexual appeal. The teachers fear such trendy clothing will distract other pupils from concentrating on their class work because of their sexual appeals. These clothes could be tight-fitting and revealing.
The unwanted attraction it will have on boys is simple unimaginable. Clothing industries keep on coming up with fashion fads. Girls who are focused on such may simply give learning their second priority and concentrate on their fashionable clothes. Uniforms are designed to cover body parts which might bring strong attraction among the opposite sexes. For instance, wearing long skirts and neckties will ensure that the legs are properly covered and chest is not exposed. Uniforms will remove these forms of distractions and promote oneness since the style among all the pupils is the same thus preventing fashion fads distraction among pupils.
The perception today among teachers and parent is that children do lack self-discipline. Teachers argue that parents are committed at work and have less time to look after them. Subsequently, teachers will feel overwhelmed to manage a classroom full of students. Wearing uniform is seen as a school regulatory requirement which will instill self-discipline in pupils. However, critics argue that rebellious students will deviate from such rules of wearing uniform in one way or another. The rules demand that they wear uniforms; they try to rebel against it. They may come up with some alteration on their school attires such as making baggy trousers, sagging, short-tight skirts and, or widening them. Such cases are difficult to deal with since teachers cannot follow students every day to check on how well they have conformed to school uniform regulation.
When students are in similar attire, any kind of social differences is eliminated. This is very important aspect specifically in public schools where children come from different class divides. Pupils from poor backgrounds feel that they cannot achieve highest academic standards possible because of their poor backgrounds. When students wear their uniforms, there is a sense of equality among them and each is working hard just like the other one. The ridicules associated with poor students from the rich ones are certainly avoided, therefore each student feel that they are in the environment where they can learn without fear of intimidation and being center of ridicules (Walmsley, 2011).
At the same time, uniforms will be affordable to almost all parents. School uniforms are considered a bargain on offer. They are relatively affordable than other designers’ wear. Parents and teachers see them to be economical. They are also considered durable because of the materials they are made from; repeated wash and wear. Most schools have also started their uniform store departments to sale inform to parents at discounted prices. Parents can get quality used uniforms at the stores or at swap meets. Since uniforms last longer, siblings can pass them down saving parents money on purchasing new ones. However, opponents say that school uniforms are financial burden to poor families in addition to already tax burden parents pay for to support free public education.
Opponents say that school uniforms suppress individuality of students. Suppression of individuality is the common reason why they oppose school uniforms. They argue that students should be encouraged to have great thoughts, creative ideas in order to perform. This is said to be more important than their dress code. School uniforms will deter self-expression, inspiration and will result in conforming to set school regulations. Proponents express that school uniforms enhance individuality and self-expression. They argue that these are not earned through wearing latest designers’ clothes to school. As a result the core of values of the institutions is maintained and as these values are maintained, the school spirit and sense of belonging and pride are highly enhanced among the pupils.
Opponents also claim that school uniforms have no trustworthy connections to better academic performance nor do they improve discipline in school. Sometimes, high achievers in school are known to have poor dressing habits and therefore in their opinion, school uniform has got nothing to do with performance. They argue that uniforms infringe on students right to freedom of expression. In addition, they argue that school uniforms expose students and make them target to kidnappers and bullies among other ill-intentioned individuals in the society.
In general, those who advocate for school uniforms have plethora of reasons why school uniform is a friend and not a foe. They say that school uniforms guard against formation of socially unacceptable gangs in schools, encourage discipline and at the same time reduce fighting among pupils. Students will also resist pressure from their peers who would prefer trendy clothes. In this sense, the economic and social barrier is removed and the atmosphere of equality is created among students of different background, race, religion etc.
In some cases, school uniforms have been used to curb truancy among students because they can be easily identified from the rest of the crowd. School uniforms are also associated with sense of pride and belonging. This essay as clearly demonstrated the importance of school uniform from classroom to outside environment. Therefore school uniforms are important part of learning and cannot be simply whisked away to favor some few individuals feeling and interests. School uniforms therefore can be a friend or a foe depending on which side of the divide you are supporting.
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