School Uniforms Should Be Mandatory.
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This is the definition of a school uniform in regards to our argument: An outfit assigned by the school that allows modifications to fit your needs due to religious beliefs or ideas of self expression.
How often have you spent the precious minutes in the morning thinking about what you were going to wear for the rest of the day? These few minutes could have been spent getting that extra ten minutes of sleep before an exhausting day. We believe that school uniforms should be mandatory. We have several reasons as to why we believe school uniforms should be mandatory. Firstly, they save money, materials, and time. According to the National Retail Federation, on average, families were ready to spend an average of $696.70 to get ready for the upcoming 2019-2020 school year (McGinty, 2019). This number is only predicted to increase in the next few years. This spending correlates to the production of the clothes that are made to spend. A lot of the clothes coming out in retail stores are fast fashion, meaning the clothes people buy become out of fashion very quickly. This increases the money spent by people and wastes a lot of materials and labor. Secondly, they increase discipline among students. School uniforms allow students to have more discipline which allows them to have better performance in school than schools with no uniform. There was a study done by Chris Baumann and Hana Krskova on the topic of discipline and academic achievement when school uniforms are worn versus not worn. It was done over 5 geographical regions. These were Europe, the Americas, Far East Asia, the Rest of Asia, and the Anglo-Saxon cluster. They focused on specific disciplinary actions in all of these places. The article states, “The authors demonstrate significant differences in discipline for low, medium and high performing students. Peak-performing students have the highest level of discipline. Students wearing a uniform listen better with lower teacher waiting times.” (Baumann & Krskova, 2016) The findings also supported the idea that uniforms being implemented at a school can enhance discipline which can provide a more successful learning environment that can create more academic achievement. Finally, school uniforms reduce peer pressure. In a world driven by social media and unrealistic standards, students face a lot of peer pressure to dress according to the latest trends. This causes them to spend a lot of time on social media and may cause them to feel bad if they don’t have the newest and most popular clothes. At the University of North Texas, parents like Arminta Jacobson stated that school uniforms put students on a level playing field and give them a sense of being socially accepted (University of North Texas, 2006). Without distinctions between students who have very expensive clothing and those who do not, we can create a better environment for students to feel comfortable collaborating with each other.
School uniforms should be mandatory. They save money and materials, increase discipline, and reduce peer pressure.
Students should have the freedom to wear their own clothes and not uniforms.
Going to school can be difficult for some students, especially when they don’t feel comfortable in what they are wearing. This is why students should not have to wear uniforms. Many reasons support this claim. First, students all have different bodies which lead to comparisons, especially in school. A study was done by researchers at Arizona State University and reported that “students without uniforms reported higher self-perception scores than students from schools with uniform policies.” With every person having a different height and body shape many students see themselves as less desirable than others because they look different in the same piece of clothing. This can be detrimental to many students and cause body-image problems going into their future. Another reason that school uniforms should not be mandatory is that they take away the individuality and freedom of expression from students. These years are crucial to these children growing into themselves and expressing themselves and with uniforms, this is taken away from them. In many private schools across the country, students are not allowed to dye their hair an unnatural color, due to the fact it may distract others. Simple things such as dying hair can be a very assuring thing for these kids and can make them more confident in themselves, so they should have the choice to do it. Finally, the majority of students detest uniforms. If the school’s main concern is to take serious consideration and care of the student’s emotions and needs, then why is the choice of what they wear taken away? National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics reveals that the rate of enrollment in Washington High School (IN) declined 43% after establishing school uniforms in 2006. Continuing the study, a survey taken in 2017 reported that “82% of the current students opposed the uniforms.”
School uniforms should not be established because they strip students of their individuality, can cause body-image issues, and a majority of students oppose them.
According to the National Retail Federation, in 2013 uniforms cost near $150 or less each year. And while this does show that uniforms are the cheaper alternative, it is just an extra cost to other expenses. School isn’t year-round or all week, and students still buy clothing for time outside of school and other events. The cost of uniforms adds to the cost of other clothing, which defeats the purpose of trying to save money and materials with uniforms. Next, studies that directly link higher levels of discipline may not even be sound findings. A study at Long Beach (CA) Unified School District wrote that the results showing improvements in discipline and school safety are not clearly derived from the action of instating school uniforms. This study implies it is likely that other measures were taken to improve the student’s behavior. Finally, if anything school uniforms increase peer pressure. As already stated in our points above, students find more pressure in trying to look like others they envy in their uniforms. Not being able to wear clothes they feel comfortable and confident in that may fit their body shape better, can cause much more anxiety and body image issues.
I would like to start this by reiterating the definition of school uniforms for the purpose of this debate: An outfit assigned by the school that allows modifications to fit your needs due to religious beliefs or ideas of self expression.
The first claim made by the negative side was the self image of students. Our definition clearly states that there can be modifications due to self expression. This clearly goes along with the idea of body image issues, their second claim. Students are allowed to alter what they wear based on how they feel comfortable with their specific body. This could be shown in ways of pants instead of a skirt or a sweatshirt with a school logo instead of a t- shirt. We also would like to refute the ideas of self expression with hair. It was never stated that a student would not be able to express themselves in the ways they want including things like an unnatural hair color. It is very important for students to be able to express themselves in these crucial years but wearing certain clothes does not take away from this. A uniform simply helps in the discipline aspect of things. The third claim made by the negative side was that the students opposed uniforms. While this may be true for a lot of students, uniforms decrease fights and problems among students. Schools care a lot about their students’ safety, so if mandating uniforms can decrease issues then it is a benefit to the students. As President Bill Clinton said, “If it means that teenagers will stop killing each other over killer jackets, then our public schools should be able to require their students to wear school uniforms.”
As the negative clearly stated with evidence, uniforms are the cheaper alternative. While students will still need to purchase clothes for the weekends and breaks, the cost of this will be much cheaper compared to buying clothes throughout the school year. According to the National Retail Foundation, this past year, parents spent more than $235 for back-to-school shopping. While this value is only for back-to-school, parents will need to spend additional money on clothes for their children throughout the school year as well. In regards to the disciplinary aspect of school uniforms, there are many studies that show that it has increased discipline and safety in schools. As in the findings of Baumann & Krskova. We suspect the credibility of the researchers who performed the study at Long Beach. We have clearly stated that uniforms will be allowed to have modifications to allow the student to feel comfortable in what they are wearing. Therefore, the claims of body image issues and self expression would be rejected solely based on our definition of uniforms.
We are not denying your definition of school uniforms, but not every school is as easygoing as you say they are. Many schools prohibit specific pieces for certain students, such as some girls are not allowed to wear pants and boys are not allowed to wear skirts. And while some may think a boy wearing a skirt is a joke, many students wish to express themselves and their own gender identity with their clothing. A thirty-year-old transgender man, Kabir Maan, described his internal struggle and psychological trauma of having to wear a girl’s uniform and skirt growing up in school. While your point is that school uniforms can be adjusted or increase the feeling of inclusivity, that is not the case for all students and can cause serious damage to them mentally. This point goes along with the problem of body-image issues. Sure, all students have small adjustments they can make to their uniforms but there will still be comparisons of, “Why does she look skinny in her khakis and I don’t,” or, “Why does he look more buff in the polo when I look so small?” We know that comparisons aren’t put to rest without a uniform, but students have so many more options and the ability to wear specific clothing that makes them feel confident and unique. Again speaking on the subject of discipline and safety that uniforms are said to improve, many studies demonstrate the opposite. A study done by Texas Southern University reported that “school discipline incidents rose by about 12% after the introduction of uniforms.” And to speak on the findings of the Long Beach (CA) Unified School District, the following year after the introduction of uniforms 81% of middle school students felt uniforms did not prevent fights, 76% said the uniforms did not make them feel like they belonged, and 71% of students felt no safer going to and from school (M. Sue Stanley, Education and Urban Society). In regards to the cost, your evidence shows that in addition to the cost of uniforms and the cost of personal clothing, parents also spend money on back-to-school shopping. Uniforms seem to just be another unnecessary cost. Again we would like to reiterate that school is not year-round nor all week, and students still purchase plenty of clothes besides uniforms. Additionally, if students want to have the choice of wearing different pieces of clothing to adjust to their bodies, that implies that they would have to spend even more money on even more pieces of their uniform. Not only would they need to buy more pieces of clothing but they would have to buy multiple of the same piece to be able to wear them at different times throughout the week, doubling the prices. School uniforms do take away important self-expression. For example, how do you think fashion moguls found and produced their passions? Through expressing themselves through their clothing! The cost of uniforms, while cheaper on its own, still doesn’t distract or reduce the other costs.
We believe that school uniforms should be mandated. In order to address the negative side’s argument about self expression, we reiterate that as clearly stated that we are arguing for the definition of school uniforms that was stated initially. This doesn’t include the specific schools that may prohibit self expression. Our argument wants people like Kabir Maan to feel included and comfortable in their clothes. This is why the students will be able to order the uniforms that make them feel confident, in the sizes they are comfortable in. This is exactly like shopping for clothes, except the clothes indicate logos of the school and are uniform among all the students. Again, we are not stopping students from expressing themselves! If they would like to try out new fashions and clothes, they have the weekends to experiment, go out, and have fun. The negative side brought up an article speaking on how uniforms do not help with discipline in schools. Overall, this claim cannot be proven by one article. There have been more articles that support the ideas of it in school. One specific one was done by Jafeth Sanchez, a research assistant professor. He studied the disciplinary side of uniforms in a middle school who was in their first year of uniforms. The numbers showed a 10 percent reduction in discipline referrals and a 63 percent reduction in police log reports. Sanchez claimed, "Essentially, students reported positive impacts by simply changing the clothes they wore to school, and comparatively, there wasn't much of a downside." (Sanchez, 2013) This article is just one of many that shows the positive impact uniforms can have on the disciplinary aspect. There is also another safety side that has been more present in recent years. School shootings have been at an all time high in recent years. If students have to wear uniforms it makes it easier to spot a possible intruder. It cannot get rid of the risk all together but if a staff member and/or student sees a person not wearing the regulated attire they can inform somebody sooner than if the person is just walking the halls unseen. The claim made by the opposition that school uniforms increase costs is based on the wrong understanding of the facts presented. The National Retail Foundation states that parents spent more than $235 on back-to-school clothing in the past year. This is specifically clothes to wear to school. This cost doesn’t even include the cost of shoes, which is an additional $80. Comparatively, the average cost of uniforms is only $150 or less. This saves families a lot of money. Additionally, the negative side brings up the point that students would have to buy multiple pieces of clothing that adjust to their comfort in uniforms. This does not make a lot of sense because if you want to wear a uniform multiple times a week, you can buy a pair or three of them and wash them twice a week. There is no need for several pairs of clothes so that you have one set everyday. When you compare three sets of uniforms and clothes for a whole school year, the uniforms are very cost effective.
Again, our claim that school uniforms should be mandatory stands strong. They save money and materials, increase discipline, and reduce peer pressure. With our strong claims supported by facts and concrete evidence, we have a winning argument.
We believe that school uniforms should not be mandated. Shopping for uniforms is described as the same as shopping for regular clothes, just with the school’s logos and worn by every student. So why aren’t deep purple velvet jackets with logos not available for a student to be comfortable in? Because uniforms are not similar to regular clothing. Each student is different and requires different shapes, cuts, and lengths of clothing to not only fit but flatter their body as well. Not only do those options matter but each student should have the ability to express themselves and their own personal style. The affirmative side mentions that students can experiment on the weekends, but students spend the majority of the week in school and are typically busy doing school work on the weekends anyway. Students should be able to be comfortable and confident in a space that they spend so much time in. We also wanted to go back to the affirmative side’s quote from President Bill Clinton and their suspicion of articles. An honorable decision ruled in 1969 by the U.S. Supreme Court stated, “it can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” Students’ freedom to wear what they want is not only a basic right but also an option they need to find themselves and grow. While it is unfortunate that school shootings have risen recently, we do not believe that uniforms are a very helpful solution. As presented by the U.S. Government Accountability office, half of school shooters are either a student or former student; the other half are typically a person with no relation to the school, parent, or staff member. Seeing as a majority of these people could infiltrate a school with or without uniforms proves this point to be redundant. The affirmative side also stated that we misunderstood their use of evidence, but there was no indication that the back-to-school-shopping only included clothing. Even though uniforms save money, each year parents have to replace these sets of uniforms due to the constant growing and changing of their children. Sometimes uniforms even need to be replaced throughout the school year. This constant purchasing of uniforms, and clothing for outside of school, adds up. Furthermore, not every family shops big or impulsively on regular clothing. Many families shop in second-hand clothing stores or shop during heavy sales. The affirmative side also depicts that we believe students need a piece of clothing for everyday of school, this is not what we were describing. Buying multiple pieces of clothing is exactly what they said: a pair or three to wash over the weeks. A pair or three is still numerous pieces of clothing.
Students grow into themselves and become more confident and comfortable in their own style when they have the ability to wear their own clothes. To confirm school uniforms strip students of their individuality, can cause body-image issues, and students oppose them. Through our strong arguments and factual evidence we have a winning argument.