School Uniforms - A Solution, Or Another Problem For Teens?

Although the purpose of schools, and the most obvious challenge facing those who would run a school, is to deliver the best education possible to its students, there will always be a myriad of other assorted problems that will crop up. It is not possible to be in charge of so many different human beings for so much of their lives without running into a variety of problems on an almost daily basis. One such problem which has reared its head in many cities across the country (and, indeed, across the world) is the problem of whether or not to enforce a school uniform policy.
There are two sides to this argument, as you might expect, and as is this case with any big question facing schools, there are valid points to consider on both sides of the table. The main argument in favor of school uniforms is that they sort of take students' dress and appearance out of the equation. The idea is that you take dress code, which can be a divisive topic, and kind of throw it out the window. The main argument against the dress code is that it unnecessarily takes away the students' right to dress how they feel. Let's look at each in more detail.
There is a strong case to be made for enforcing a policy of mandatory school uniforms. Often in school, students will try to establish and reinforce a sort of social hierarchy based on appearances. This can have the unfortunate effect of students who are not able to afford clothes that are trendy and cool having fewer friends and less regard among their peers. Also, students often make judgments about each other based on the type of clothing they wear, which is not a good habit to get into. Making students all wear the same thing would seem to eliminate both problems.
New School UniformNew School Uniform (Photo credit: Chandra Marsono)On the other hand, one can certainly argue that enforcing a dress code doesn't actually address the real problem. The simple fact is that people judge each other based on their appearances, in school and in the real world. Instead of giving kids an opportunity to learn a lesson about what really matters regarding personal appearances, and instead of allowing them to see in actual practice that people who don't like you based on how you dress are not worth your time, a uniform policy creates an artificial situation where people can't choose how to dress. This does nothing to change the fact that students will one day have to face the same problems, in one situation or another.
It is probably best for everyone if, instead of implementing a mandatory uniform policy, parents just taught their kids about what really matters when you have to make judgments about other people. In the real world, people make judgments based on appearance, and figuring out how to deal with that should be one of the many things that teenagers learn in school, even if they never have to take a test on it.

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Susan Appleby always has her hands full trying to get students to find the best SAT prep option for them. She also has a major interest in ISEE and SSAT prep as well. Susan is interested in quite a few different topics and always finds time to write about them too.

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