School Uniforms and reducing violence among students
Before 1960, uniform was widely applied in U.S public schools, but it was abandoned during this present free-spiritedness era. However, in the 1990’s, when school violence and classroom disruptions increased across the country, uniform caught on again (Chaika 1999). Personally, I yearn towards uniform policy in middle school, which I did not have to care about how others judge me based on my clothing, or worry about my safety at school. I was able to be more focus on school works. However, for many schools do not have uniform policy, violence and discrimination arised. Every school is in essence a learning environment. But in the past few years, school has shifted its focus from education to fashion. Students are judged upon their clothing rather than their knowledge. To help students focus back on education, many schools choose to enforce school uniform policy. The purpose is not only to help students’ academic performance, but also to eliminate distractions and fashion competition, prevent discrimination of rich and poor, and reduce violence among students.
School uniforms greatly benefit both the students and faculty by creating an atmosphere in which the students are able to get the most out of their education. In 1998 a study done by The National Association of Elementary School Principals and Land’s End discovered that schools with an active uniform policy had almost a twenty percent better discipline rate than that of a non-active uniform policy. Studies also showed that student achievement was increased by ten percent. (NAESP, 1998) School uniforms not only facilitate school pride, but also improve school climate and set the tone of the classroom as a serous place for learning.
School uniform eliminates distractions that students should avoid. From my high school memories, I had to go through a series of brain battles every morning on choosing what clothes to wear. Sometimes I even spent fifteen minutes on trying different pants and tops in order to find my best match for the day. I wish I went to a school has uniform policy, and my life would be so much easier. Thinking back, I wasted a lot of time on reading fashion magazines and searching trendy clothing online. Not only that, I also spent countless money on buying fashionable clothes and accessories. Half of what I bought already became trash. In my opinion, if schools enforced the uniform policy, many of these distractions could be avoid. And student would spend more time on school works.
On the other hand, School uniform helps students resist peer pressure that comes from fashion competition. Most of us know that school is a big show off stage. If everyone dresses fashionable, then it is awkward not to be a part of the crowd. But to be a part of the crowd means to wear the clothes everybody wears irrespective of the prices. However, not all parents are equally wealthy and it is not possible for everyone to own the same trendy clothes. Recent years, Abercrombie Fitch and Hollister have been teenagers’ top trendy clothing companies. Many teenagers became advertising models for these two companies. They turned school into a fashion and marketing place. This situation completely flipped over the school system, many students confused on what are right clothes they should wear to school. And a lot of them worry about how other students might judge them based on their clothes. According to a high school survey, many students said that wearing Abercrombie Fitch and Hollister is considered as “popular”. This is urgent to see the school spirit is pursuing fashion instead of education. And it is necessary to enforce a uniform policy for every school.
Uniforms also help to erase the tense cultural and economic differences among the students. From my experience, I had a friend in my high school. She was an exchange student from China. At the beginning of the semester, many students laughed at her because she wore the same clothes everyday. But the laughers did not know that people in China usually wear same set of clothes for a week. And they do not change as often as Americans do. In the other word, it is a culture thing. However, the issue brought peer pressure to my friend. Because she did not have any financial support source in U.S. and it is impossible for her to shop enough clothes to change for a week. For many times, she asked me why our school does not have uniform. I was reluctant to give her a reasonable answer. I believe thousands people from different cultural backgrounds are facing the same situation today. We should respect their cultural background and make school uniform as a key to solve the economic and cultural tension in school.
School uniform policy allows students to make friends on their personal qualities, rather than appearance. In a president Clinton’s March 1996 speech, he said: “If it means that the school rooms will be more orderly and more disciplined, and that our young people will learn to evaluate themselves by what they are on the inside, instead of what they’re wearing on the outside, then our public schools should be able to require their students to wear uniforms.” (Mitchell 1996). President Clinton was right, too often students classify other students by the way they dress. Many students avoid some of their classmates because of the way they dress, rather than trying to be friends with them. School uniforms let students learn to evaluate each other by their inside instead of the appearance.
The most important benefit of school uniforms is their ability to make schools safer. A Long Beach Superintendent stated the first year that the uniforms had been implemented into his school, crimes decreased by thirty-six percent, school violence by fifty-one percent, and vandalism to the school dropped eighteen percent. (US Dept. of Ed., 2002) There is an obvious correlation between sexual offenses and dress code. If every girl in school dresses uniform, the problem like skirt or short is too short could be avoid. Thus decreases the probability of sexual offenses. Uniforms also increase security by making it obvious who is not supposed to be on campus and secure place for kids to get education.
The image of me walks into a skyscraper, wearing a collar shirt, suit, and dress shoes. My confidence moves me forward, as I enters an elevator going up to the 23rd floor. I approach my first job interview since leaving school. This well dressed woman graduated from University of Maryland, which had a school uniform policy and hair restrictions. Of course, this is all my imagination. However, the uniform policy greatly benefits students not only on their academic performances, and relationships with other students, but also plays an important role for our future as we build class integration and increase our image in the community.