As I was sitting in my English class on a gloomy day in January, adjusting a brace that I have on my knee due to an injury that was changing position over and over because of the fabric of uniform I’m wearing, the question should uniforms be a standard in private school occurred to me once again.  When I was in middle school I attended a private school where uniforms were not required and I did not see a big problem.  The only problem I saw was that the uniform standards were not enforced for everyone and the faculty seemed biased as to who they would dress code and who they would not.  I was much taller than most of the girls in my grade and looked a lot older than they did, so clothes were somewhat hard to find for me that fit my middle school fashion vision, so I started shopping in the juniors department much earlier than the other girls who could wear clothes from Justice until they were in eighth grade.  They would often wear tank tops or off the shoulder outfits, one girl even wore a crop top to school, but they were never dress coded.  However, one day I wore a tank top with a sweater and I got into serious trouble with an advisor because it was “inappropriate” even though I was fully covered.

Now that I am on my fourth year of a dress code high school I find myself envying my friends who go to other schools and other private schools that don’t have to wear uniforms.  I do not believe in uniforms.  I think they take away individuality, and in your senior year you outgrow all your old uniforms shirts you will have to buy new ones that you’ll only be wearing for another year, and uniforms are very expensive.  In an article in The Guardian, a teacher states “Uniforms give students a sense of belonging,” however, a uniform does not automatically guarantee friends or belonging.  I would say a huge problem with uniforms if feeling uncomfortable in them and not feeling like you look good, and spending your whole high school career seeing people in the same outfit as you wearing it much better.

In an article written for The New Yorker  by Mark Oppenheimer he explains a few upsides and downsides to school uniforms, one downside that I found interesting was that some schools were experiencing more violence after they introduced uniforms, I would be interested to see the actual study on this though because not much detail is written into it.  But showing the pros and cons led me to a realizations, it’s not about what the students want or a drive to express themselves, or even uniformity.  It is because students are more docile in uniforms, making us easier to influence.

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January 11, 2018 3:00 am

I never have wore a uniform but do understand how it is going to a school where not everyone can afford nice clothes. The poverty rate in America is extremely high and in private school most children are not in the poverty. I believe that school uniforms are a great idea. There are people who do not have hip clothes or top brands. If there were uniforms everyone would look the same and not feel ashamed or stand out. Also it would take away dress code issues or distractions in school. I know this is my own opinion and I respect yours and the research you have done. Well done and your argument is valid and well written.

January 11, 2018 2:00 am

I haven’t ever had to wear a uniform in school but my sister did for a time, she absolutely hated it and felt as you do about them being uncomfortable and not being able to express yourself. I agree that students in uniforms are more likely to be violent because I feel that they would feel oppressed and be more prone to rebelling and that if students had more freedom ( to dress for example) they wouldn’t be provoked into rebellious behaviour.

January 11, 2018 12:42 am

Catherine, I really like your interest in this topic. I think it’s important students be happy with everything about themselves at school, especially the way they look. I’ve also gone to a private school my whole life. In elementary school my uniform was strict and closely monitored by everyone. I don’t remember hating it too much, except for when my teachers thought I was wearing makeup and would make me go wash it off. This made me really upset because I never broke that code and I almost felt as if I was being bullied. In high school that all changed because at Judge we had a lot more freedom in the uniforms. I couldn’t imagine what school would be like if I had to chose and outfit every single day. However I agree that students should be able to express themselves in anyway they chose. I don’t mean ill fitted clothing and suggestive quotes on shirts. I just think it’s important that kids learn to be themselves because as we get older, it’s important we know exactly who we are, even if it is just in the things we wear. I guess my ultimate question after reading this is with our ever growing and changing society do you think schools will eventually take these complaints into consideration and allow students everywhere to wear what they want, even Judge?

January 11, 2018 12:27 am

Hi Catherine-
I have attended private school for thirteen years now and with that I have worn plaid skirts, khaki shorts, and polo shirts for the same amount of time. I have not had the luxury to experience a life not in uniform, however I have always wondered how different it would be. To this day, I envy people who are able to express themselves through their clothing at school and learn in comfort. With all angst aside, I have found my Catholic School uniform to be (at times) unbearable. From a woman’s perspective, our body’s are always changing size/shape/etc; and the confinement of cardboard textured shorts makes learning uncomfortable. I’m not saying that uniforms should be done away with, but I do think that the style and even material should be made more flexible for the individual. To answer your question, no. I do not think that uniforms should be standard in schools. While there are pro’s there are also cons, and it seems that the cons outweigh the pros. I could ramble on and on about this argument, but I think that you ultimately presented it well. If you want to read about it anymore I found this article interesting

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