The implementation of school uniform policy is directed at solving a number of problems at schools: poor performance, attendance, violence and bullying. A socioeconomic gap is the main reason for bullying at schools and it affects the performance of students (Lopez, 2003). The school uniform, as the name says, unites all the students regardless of financial situation and other attributes which make them different. However, children are not willing to wear it because it restricts their freedom of expression and choice.
The proponents, Baumann & Krskova (2016) support the policy stating that school uniform will help to improve performance as children will not be focusing on the clothes they wear but on studying. Conversely, the opponents of the policy believe that it might affect the identity and freedom of choice of children (Bigger, 2006). Every individual has a right to choose what to wear and how to wear.Taking into account different age of children, is it possible to say for sure that they know what is right for them and what is not? Mark Vopat (2010) says that it is not right to force students to wear a school uniform but it is not applicable to children under the age of 14 (Grade 8). He says that younger children lack an ability to differentiate between mere expression and substantive expression. In terms of clothing, it implies that they do not know what their true style is when they are younger. Before they reach an appropriate age all the decisions regarding their “school style” is made either by parents or school.
Is it right?
Wearing a school uniform may give a feeling of belonging to those who were different. However, being different might be considered to be a virtue rather that a flaw by some. It is hard to tell if children are right to demand a freedom to express themselves wearing what they want. I personally think that children must not be forced to wear a school uniform probably it is better to suggest alternatives like allowing children to wear what they want but with some alteration. For instance, restricting to wear particular things that might be harmful to students and the environment in any way or may contain an inappropriate message. To what extent do you agree?
Baumann, C. & Krskova, H. (2016). School discipline, school uniforms and academic performance. International Journal of Educational Management, 30(6),1003 – 1029.
Lopez, R. (2003). The long beach unified school district uniform initiative. A prevention-intervention strategy for urban schools. The Journal of Negro Education, 72(4), 396-405.
Vopat M. C., (2010). Mandatory school uniforms and freedom of expression. Ethics and education, 5(3), 203-215. doi: 10.1080/17449642.2010.519139