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athgarvan

SCHOOL UNIFORMS

I usually take a walk in the afternoons and pass several schools. All students - junior and senior - must wear their school's uniform. Have not students the right to dress as they wish? Left to themselves I'm sure they would not choose to wear uniforms. As soon as they get out of sight of the school some of them discard at least some part of the uniform and put it into their satchel. What purpose does a uniform serve?

In today's society students should learn to make informed decisions about the clothes they wear... teens should be able to develop self-expression and their own personal identity. Uniforms suppress their right to express themselves through clothes.

Uniforms encourage them to be followers not leaders. They discourage independent thinking and deny students their right to freedom of expression and individuality, stifling creativity and encouraging conformity.

I'm sure most parents too would be glad to be shut of school uniforms and all the hassle involved!

Comments

ooohhh i do like your thoughts!!!!

but here we have gone in the opposite direction
the competition for "fashionable" clothes became so great and so expensive that parents wanted relief
the competition among students became so great that the atmosphere for learning was compromised

this was mainly in the middle school and high school - the teenage years
i don't know what our county schools are doing about that age

here on my island the grade school ages 4-10 went to a different type of uniform - a polo shirt or t-shirt with the schools name and logo in BRIGHT colors and skirt or pants in kaki or denim - the kids love it - they can wear any color they want it's the clothes they would choose anyway - it's simple and easy

the school sponsors funny dress up days so they have a chance to be very individual - but the emphasis is off "what are you wearing?" - even the little ones were beginning to pick up the emphasis on having the "right label"

having a variety of colors and even styles lets the individual have choice and makes the school bright with the emphasis on individual learning not on conformity
Most schools here let students wear what they want. Those that don't are usually the religious schools and some public schools. The idea is that the uniform prevents students from being embarrassed if their parents aren't rich enough for the latest fashions since the uniform is an equalizer. I'm not sure that I agree with that theory.

I will point out that the photo you used is from the film "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" about a fictionalized idea that a 9 year old Jewish boy was in Auschwitz. That is a very odd choice of photo for this topic since it has little to nothing to do with school uniforms....
I'm fairly sure (suspicious me, always) that discouraging independent thinking is part of the reason for uniforms... I think it's supposed to cause them to focus on the learning and not on clothing. Little do they know that all that leads to is the kids obsessing on how they can customize the uniform to suit themselves!
I agree with you.

Uniform was supposed to level out social inequalities.

It never did and still doesn't

I come originally from a poor working class background and the fact that I had a cheap (often second hand) uniform was noted and commented upon, be you sure!

Mine used to be handed down by a neighbour or come from local rummage sales. But it was never really a big deal. I honestly don't remember anyone ever commenting on it.
I was at a grammar school.

I probably need say no more..........
So, technically, was I. But our community was different.

I realised I was writing an essay here, as it set me off reminiscing, so I cut it - but might well post it in my journal later!
As a parent I found the uniform a blessed relief. No competition over who has the best designer label, no arguments in the morning about whether it is too cold to wear your short sleeved dress...

As long as schools allow the basic trousers, shirts and so on to come from any shop and only insist on tie and blazer, or sweatshirt for the primaries, being from a specialist supplier with the school badge on it. Otherwise it can get too expensive.
Yes! Most parents welcome uniform for all the reasons you say. It also helps produce a cohesive identity/sense of purpose for the children in school.
I agree with you.

I agree completely

I cannot begin to tell you how much I agree. School uniform is a completely irrational nonsense, but unfortunately it is an object of a semi-religious cult in the UK. I have never been able to have a rational discussion with any of the proponents, because they always end up saying something along the lines of, "But we BELIEVE it's good." My advice to young people now is to knuckle under, as it's a battle they cannot win. And sadly, getting young people to knuckle under seems to be one of the purposes, though of course it is expressed in euphemistic terms like "buying into the ethos of the school."

As you say, these young people should learn to make sensible decisions about their clothing, and school deprives them of a major opportunity to do so.

Here are some of the typical "arguments" in favour:

- POINT: It stops bullying and peer pressure regarding brand named clothing.
REBUTTAL: It merely suppresses the issue, it does not in any way change the children's attitudes, and besides, they will find other things to compete about, for example the brands of their phones.

- POINT: It teaches them not to judge people by their clothing.
REBUTTAL: On the contrary, it teaches them that clothing is hugely important, so important that school staff spend a great amount of time on making students wear certain clothes.

- POINT: It saves money, because parents don't need to buy expensive designer clothes.
REBUTTAL: If you don't want to buy expensive designer clothes for your children, then don't. Teach them how to reply to shallow and arrogant peers who think designer clothes are a necessity. Tell them if they want certain expensive clothes, they can get a paper round or save up their pocket money, so they learn the value of money. Me, I'd rather not have to buy school clothes in addition to the leisure clothes my children need anyway; it's a waste of money.

- POINT: It saves hassle in the morning.
REBUTTAL: I don't see how it saves hassle having to make sure a supply of clean school clothes is always available, no matter how many other perfectly good clothes might be sitting in the wardrobe. And if people have such trouble deciding what clothes to put on in the morning, they should maybe get some psychological help, but that is no reason to force other people, people who ARE able to make trivial decisions at eight a.m., into a uniform.

- POINT: It improves discipline and attainment.
REBUTTAL: This is a simply untrue. There is no evidence for this anywhere in the world. Many countries have very successful school systems without uniform, they have better attainment and fewer behaviour problems. I know this for a fact; I grew up in one.

- POINT: It improves the image of the school.
REBUTTAL: Only because British people have a bee in their bonnet about uniforms and attribute positive qualities to it. Utterly delusional, in the same way they believe that private schools are better. Besides, what really impacts on the image of a school is how the students BEHAVE in the community, not what colour their shoes are.

- POINT: It it's nice when they all look the same in photographs.
REBUTTAL: De gustibus non disputandum - I think it is much nicer if young people wear a cheerful variety of clothes.

- - POINT: It makes them look smart.
REBUTTAL: Most school uniforms look ridiculous. Often the blazers are poor quality materials that crumple easily, and the piping looks utterly stupid. Also, many schools, especially secondaries, choose black, so that the young people spend a large part of their lives looking like a funeral congregation.







Re: I agree completely

- POINT: It prepares them for the world of work, where uniforms are necessary.
REBUTTAL: What aspirations do we have for our young people? Do we think that all or most of them will be bus drivers, retail assistants or soldiers? Or has it not occurred to us that many, many jobs, usually the more qualified, more fulfilling jobs, do NOT come with a uniform? Are we telling young people, You'd better get used to wearing a uniform, because you'll never be an architect, artist, teacher, lawyer, scientist, interior decorator, journalist, museum curator, politician, entrepreneur, novelist, inventor, engineer, lecturer etc? Or for that matter, you'll not be a gardener, farmer, carpenter, stone mason, blacksmith, plumber, baker, florist, glass blower, jeweller etc?

- POINT: It demonstrates commitment to the school.
REBUTTAL: Total logical fallacy. Only things that are done voluntarily can demonstrate a commitment. Knuckling under in terms of school uniform merely demonstrates a desire not to get into trouble. Besides, it's the school that should be committed to the children, not the other way round.


I am completely on board with a dress code which outlines what clothes are not suitable (football tops etc), and I think it's a good idea to have a school sweater - a voluntary school sweater. That would allow those who cannot face picking an outfit in the morning to fall back on a standard choice, and it would give students an opportunity to demonstrate genuine commitment to their school, if they so desire. It would be sensible. And school staff could spend their precious time on dealing with relevant issues - may I suggest the rampant littering and late-coming?