Over the past few years, more and more schools have been requiring their students to follow a strict uniform. With any newly implemented rule, it comes with its advantages and its disadvantages. Some believe this new fashion in school will bring a whole new feel to school, decreasing the number of in-school bullying that occurs every year. Others believe that this new rule will diminish children’s individuality. I do not believe that school uniforms should be enforced, it discourages children’s sense of individuality and creativity in an area that should be encouraging them to express their uniqueness.

Individuality is not valued in most of the society. People are taught to act, look, and view the world the same. Differences are seen as threatening. I am a strong believer that in a world where “normal” is praised, we should be encouraging our future generations to stand out and be unique. One way they could do this is through the clothing they wear. Schools should be teaching kids to not fear to be different and expressing themselves in unique ways.Some critics believe that through the enforcement of school uniforms we can put a stop to bullying. Although the thought of it sounds quite appealing, the cold truth speaks against this. The truth is that kids can be mean.  A bully acts more out of fear and low self-esteem, this will not be resolved by having everyone dress the same.

I believe enforcing a uniform on our nation’s youth would discourage younger generations from expressing themselves. We all like to stand out in our own ways. Why not through clothing?

CC BY-SA 4.0 School Uniforms by Natalie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

28 Comments
  1. Samantha 9 months ago

    I think you state some valid points but I would have to disagree with you. I think wearing a uniform does decrease bullying because you are all wearing the same thing so there is nothing to make fun of, but your choice of shoes and hairstyle could cause problems. overall I like wearing my uniform to school because I don’t have to pick an outfit in the morning and I express myself through my personality more than I do with my clothing.

  2. Mary 9 months ago

    I agree with your line of thought here. The problem with using uniforms to counteract bullying is that it only fixes a symptom of the problem. I attend a school with a very strict, very unflattering uniform, and it doesn’t prevent bullying. By enforcing a uniform, schools are teaching students that the way to avoid bullying is to not be a target. This is the wrong approach. Schools should be teaching students that bullying is wrong, no matter how different people are.

  3. Santiago 9 months ago

    I agree that all students should be able to wear what they want and not dress exactly the same everyday. We have freedom to choose.

  4. Anna 9 months ago

    Hi Natalie!
    I completely agree with you. Up until my freshman year, I had gone to public schools. Then my parents decided to send me to a private school that enforces uniforms quite strictly. We get a detention if we don’t have our shirts tucked in and I don’t believe that is a good learning atmosphere for kids. They are uncomfortable and everyone looks the same. I agree with you when you say that we should be allowed to wear our own clothes to express individuality. I hope that schools become less strict in the future.

  5. Anna 9 months ago

    Natalie,
    Coming from a Catholic school, I’ve grown up having to wear uncomfortable, conforming, and usually ugly uniforms. I used to hate wearing them for the very valid reasons you brought up. However, I have come to enjoy uniforms because I don’t need to decide what I need to wear every day, and I don’t need to worry about what classmates will think about my clothes. You could probably research more about the pros of uniforms if you are interested in this debate.

  6. Seiji 9 months ago

    Great article, you bring up many good points about why schools shouldn’t enforce a uniform policy. Coming from a Catholic school were uniforms are required it does seem to diminish student’s sense of individuality. However I think that there are some perks of having a uniform and maybe you could mention some of these in order for people to see the counter argument.

  7. Kathleen 9 months ago

    I completely understand your concerns on the school uniform policy. I have gone to a private school since I was four years old (pre-k), wearing a uniform every single school day had me thinking of the lack of individuality, but then I soon came to realize that these “boring” and “ugly” close are what keeps us all the same, all in line; which leads me to disagree with you. At my school we get to express ourselves through our sock, hairstyle, and jewelry choices. I personality love wearing uniforms. It keeps me away from the judgement of not being the trendiest and most hip kid at school. I also get to wear my cute clothes on the weekends, something I love waiting for. While every student looks the same, uniforms help us focus more on our education rather than the articles of clothing on our bodies.

  8. Jackson 9 months ago

    i understand your concerns on how uniforms can take away someones individuality. I have gone to a private school since kindergarten and have never thought that I was dressed the same or had no say in what I can do to express myself. At my school to show a difference is in what wear on your feet, like socks. There are so many different styles of socks it can show the littlest of color but it will represent you among a crowd.

  9. marren Silcox 9 months ago

    Great article! Like many others have said I agree that uniforms can be hard for some but I greatly think that uniforms are awesome! I’ve been wearing a uniform since freshman year and I love it. I went to public school for most of the school year and to me picking out clothes in mornings was the most stressful thing ever! Also I felt more pressure to wear “trendy” things to fit in which also really stressed me out. But i thought your piece was really good !!

  10. Katelyn 9 months ago

    I have no real problem with the idea of uniforms. However, in many ways I think that they are not as good in real life. The first problem I have is that uniforms, in my experience, are way more expensive than normal clothing and after you get out of your school you are not going to wear them again. I also think that uniforms are harder to find the right fit, I’m tall and no matter how large I get my shorts they are still going to be too short. I think these are the more practical problems of uniforms.

  11. Abi 9 months ago

    I see your point yet I disagree. I have worn a uniform for 12 years and have never felt like I wasn’t an individual. At times I can see the hatred for the uniforms it’s one I have myself; but it allows for I think for everyone to focus on school not who is waring what. Everyone finds their way to be an individual with in the uniform rules.

  12. Ben 9 months ago

    I have gone to school at both public and private schools. At the public school I attended I was able to wear whatever I want and express myself in whatever way I wanted to. Currently I wear a uniform everyday. In all honesty I don’t mind it at all. It’s nice knowing what I am going to wear everyday and it’s nice not having to worry about picking out what to wear in the mornings (when I’m already tired). Also it makes me value and get excited for our “free dress” days at school and it makes me value what I wear on the weekends when I’m free to wear whatever I want. Yes I agree with your points about every student having the right to express themselves, but I don’t necessarily thing it has to be through clothing. In my opinion, Uniforms take unnecessary stress away from students.

  13. Seth 9 months ago

    I, along with many other who have commented, know what it is like to wear a uniform. I think wearing a uniform definitely decreases the likelihood of bullying when it comes to the clothes we wear which may be especially concerning for those who can’t afford to buy new clothes that often. However kids will absolutely find other reasons to bully each other. That being said, I don’t personally believe that my ability to express myself is limited by the uniform I wear. I think that schools should provide other ways for students to express themselves, academically, physically or artistically. I don’t think that uniforms should be mandatory but I also don’t think that they are that bad.

  14. Jessica 9 months ago

    I wear a uniform at school. There are for sure positive and negative aspects of wearing a uniform. I personally really enjoy wearing a uniform, simply because I am really lazy and do not want the responsibility of choosing an oufit every morning. However, I do believe free dress is an important part of self-expression. Also, making everyone in the school wear uniforms does not change bullying problems. Kids are going to form cliques and exclude others naturally. This will not change by the type of clothes they are wearing.

  15. Alea 9 months ago

    Hi Natalie! Great article you have here! As a uniform-wearing student, i do have a couple things I would like to say about the uniform life. I have been wearing uniforms since I was seven, and I have definitely felt the oppressive nature of wearing those boring khaki pants and white shirt every day (oh, the angsty tween years). I LOVE to dress up- every weekend I put on my best clothes, whether I am going to the store or the movies. I believe that clothes are one of the best ways to express yourself, as well as make yourself feel comfortable. That said, I would also like to say that my life is 10000x easier because of my uniforms. Not having to pick out clothes to wear every day is really nice- There’s no pressure to try to look nice because everyone looks more or less the same. I personally have figured out ways to express myself at school (funky socks, jewelry, cute hairstyles), and this is enough for me for five days out of the week. I agree with your point about bullying- It’s going to find a way to happen, regardless of what the kids at school are wearing. If someone is going to be mean to you, they’ll find something to be mean about- it’s not always about clothes. So while i completely agree with that, and your point about self expression, I would also like to throw out there that uniforms are not that bad. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!!

  16. Grace 9 months ago

    Natalie-
    I do agree with a lot of the things you said. I think that standing out and being individual is very important, but I think that there are other ways for you do do that besides what you wear to school each day. I have always worn a uniform growing up and I have learned to like it. I enjoy not having to worry about what to wear each day and not having that extra pressure or stress. I think individuality is important but can be shown through your personality rather than what you wear.

  17. Vanessa 9 months ago

    Dear Natalie,
    I would have to say that I liked what you wrote and I would have to agree, but disagree with you. I think in our society today it is essential that that our generation as well as young generations need to be free and express ourselves through the clothing that we wear and that by having us all act and look the same will not decrease the bully rate. But coming from a person that goes to a school has enforced the rule of wearing a uniform it actually isn’t that bad, you can express yourself through the backpack that you wear, the shoes you wear, the socks that you wear, and lastly it is less laundry. Overall i loved you piece and this a serious issue that needs to be addressed, we need to take consideration for the actions that we as a society are telling the younger generation. it is not okay that we are told to all look alike and think alike. Nice job and thank you very much for opening up my mind!

  18. Tom 9 months ago

    I have worn a uniform to school since first grade and I know they can get annoying and you want to demonstrate your individuality, which is a good thing, being able not to worry about what to wear is a bonus. I do feel that we should get some freedom like forgetting a belt no one should care about that, but other than these little irritations the uniform thing doesn’t bug me that much anymore.

  19. Isa 9 months ago

    Having a uniform sucked freshman and sophomore year but now that I am in my senior year its a blessing to not have to pick clothing to wear every morning. I do agree that expression is important, most kids break uniform rules at my school anyways.

  20. Malia 9 months ago

    For the first eight years of my education I was able to attend public school. With little to no dress code, we were fully able to express who we were shaping up to be. When I got into ninth grade I was stuned by the idea that we were all the same. How can you force an entire community of teenagers, who are learning who they are and who they want to be, into the same mold of uncomfortable and expensive uniformity? I understand the desperate desire to end bullying but I believe that it is rooted deeper than just the things we wear.

  21. Emma 9 months ago

    Up until I went to high school I had attended schools with little to no restrictions on the dress code. Once I got into high school it was such a shock since we had a strict uniform, at first the change was a shock but then as time went on I enjoyed having a uniform since I no longer had to spend hours on end deciding what to wear, instead I am able to use that time to study and sleep. I do agree with you people need to express themselves but they can do it many other ways, for instance at my school kids can express themselves by wearing different socks, shoes and jewelry.

  22. Olivia 9 months ago

    I went to public schools that didn’t require uniforms until last year. I shared some of your concerns about expressing individuality when dressing identically to your peers. However, I’ve been required to wear a strict uniform for over a year now and have changed my mind completely. When everyone looks the same, it’s almost impossible to judge someone based on appearance. I feel more pushed to talk to my classmates and get to know them because wearing a uniform has the effect of putting everyone on equal ground, which is a good thing. In addition, I’ve enjoyed being able to sleep in because I don’t have to pick out outfits any more 🙂

  23. Erin 9 months ago

    I have never attended a school where uniforms haven’t been required, so I cannot speak to the environment of schools without uniforms, but I do know what it is like to be forced to wear uniforms. While I completely understand your point on allowing students to express themselves with clothing, my experience leads me to disagree with you. I have found that students always find ways to express themselves how they want even with uniforms. A big thing at my school wearing cool socks—people have everything from Star Wars socks to Spongebob socks, and it allows students to express themselves. Additionally, people can style their hair or makeup their face to their liking. I have noticed that because everyone wears the same clothes, it makes everyone feel more equal. I also believe that because we don’t focus on how ourselves or our peers look, we are able to better focus on our education. We find ways to be unique in other ways, though it is not as visible as with our clothing. I think this also helps decrease judgement of others. I very much understand the concern about individuality, but I don’t think uniforms prohibit uniqueness.

  24. Ben 9 months ago

    As a student who has worn uniforms since fifth grade, in elementary school we followed a pretty simple rule blue pants with a white or blue shirt but in middle school we could wear solid colored pants and shirt as long as the shirt had a school logo on it. Now in high school the uniform policy is failry simple but detentions are given if you violate the rules. While I do not like the uniforms, I feel better not having to worry about picking out what to wear everyday.

  25. Caroline 9 months ago

    I also agree with everything that you have to say. As a student who has worn a uniform my entire life I am able to understand not being able to express myself completely. I think that especially for teenagers and children in middle school being able to express yourself is a huge part in growth and discovery. When I complain to some of my teachers about how uncomfortable our school uniform is they do bring up the thought that with a uniform all students are equal and students who have less money than me or cannot afford to buy lots of clothes that a uniform is good for them which is also an interesting thought to consider.

  26. Jose 9 months ago

    Dear Natalie,

    Some schools here in Colorado don’t really have a strict uniform policy. Students can wear anything they want up to an extent. People can’t wear some specific colors or pieces of clothing that may be offensive. If the teachers or principal sees you with offensive clothing on you may be sent home or a parent may bring you a different outfit to school. The punishment may not sound harsh but it is, you will be getting in trouble by the school and your parents at home. I agree with you, kids should be able to express themselves in a way that may not be offensive to teachers or other students in school.

  27. Ja'kayla 9 months ago

    I completely agree with you Natalie, I believe it is very important for kids to express themselves instead of looking the same with the uniform.

  28. Katie 9 months ago

    I completely agree with you Natalie, I think its important for kids to be able to express themselves instead of normalized by a uniform. The Washington Post published an article called “Dress Codes Disguise The Real Bullying Problems”. It talks about how dress codes actually do more damage when using them to prevent bullying.

    “They tell us that we need to identify the intruders or strangers in our midst, that we need to protect our students from being bullied or humiliated for wearing clothes that differ from the accepted “norm.” Does this mean we only respect those who look like the “norm”?”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/danielle-s-mclaughlin/dressing-up-the-bullies_b_3149324.html

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