The question of wearing a school uniform always bothers many students, teachers, and other members of schools’ staff. Students cannot accept an idea that all of them have to wear the same uniform and have no chance to be distinguished from each other. Teachers cannot comprehend why students have such a negative attitude to this idea, and government is just looking for another way to unite children, offer the similar conditions to all students, and not to provide them with an opportunity to be distinguished in comparison to the others. Sophisticated scholars and writers admit that “a standard school uniform is one way to eliminate the possibility of variation; nobody is in fashion or out of fashion” (Milner 185).
However, school is the place, where people study how to behave in different situations, how to communicate with people of different groups, and how to express of tastes and interests; and clothes is one of the most powerful means to demonstrate own imagination, character, and abilities. This is why many students argue about the idea to wear a standard school uniform and cannot come to one and the same conclusion whether it has positive or negative impact on students’ education.
On the one hand, school uniforms have to be mandatory in all LA schools in order to make students concentrate on their educative processes, and on the other hand, students may feel a kind of limitation of their rights and freedom; so, the analysis of students ideas, their reaction to the obligation to wear a school uniform that may be distinguished only be genders (female and male uniforms), and the identification of pros and cons of school uniforms should certainly help to clarify whether it is necessary to make wearing a school uniform mandatory or not.
General state of affairs concerning the matter of school uniforms
As many students in Los Angeles as many points; and it does not actually matter what attire means for each student. The point is that it is high time to comprehend whether a standard uniform has to be obligatory at schools, and whether it is possible to explain students the idea of the necessity of these steps. Catholic, public, and other types of schools have their own rules, conditions, problems, and peculiarities.
The problems of fragmentation that turns out to be a peculiar feature of Los Angeles schools (Halle 226) divide students and teachers into groups, who support the idea of mandatory school uniform in order to have proper and safer education and who cannot comprehend why uniforms are considered to be the question number one during the debates. Some representatives of Los Angeles schools just make orders of what is allowed to wear and what cannot be allowed at all.
Numerous investigations in the field of education and fashion cannot present one clear answer to the question if a standard school uniform has to be mandatory for everyone or it is just a matter of taste and beliefs of a governor: standard school uniforms are still regarded as both a new wave of our prosperous future (Tooms 57) or a concept that makes students sacrifice their interests and preferences.
Children have already got used to wear whatever they want and wherever they want: such points like sexuality and beauty become the main attribute of the vast majority of students. By means of media and movies in particular, it is possible to believe that girls pay more attention to the clothes they wear but not to the lessons and material they have to learn. Of course, schools, girls, and tastes differ; but many similar examples may be found in our every day life. If a girl comes to the public place in the same gear next day, the others may ask lots of questions and think that her affairs have gone wrong.
Arguments against a standard LA school uniform
If a person asks a student (a girl in particular) whether she is for or against a school uniform, the chance to hear a negative answer raises considerably. One of the first reasons of why school uniforms have a few chances to be mandatory is cutting down student individuality (School Uniform Debate and Poll).
From their childhood, parents and teachers underline that freedom and the right of choice are the two crucial points in the life of each person. Children believe these ideas are really significant in their lives, and sometimes, they try to use these concepts to approve their behavior and to underline how grown ups may be unfair to them.
Almost the same happens to school uniforms and students obligation to wear the same clothes day by day. The vast majority of students think that their freedom is under a threat, that their right of choice does not work, and that all their attempts to become elder and more mature are failed.
Another captivating and strong reason of why school uniforms should not be mandatory for all students in Los Angeles is connected to students’ tastes and their desire to stand out against the other students. Even more, such prohibition to dress in accordance with personal tastes and preferences may kill students’ creative thinking and abilities to develop new products, new ideas, new approaches to different situations.
Our society has to move and to develop; and searching for talents among students is one of the first steps to take. In spite of the fact that sophisticated writers admit that absence of a standard form may be a kind of “the tyranny of fashion” (Craik 70), this tyranny may create another magnificent couturier and present a host of interesting models. This is why it is necessary to take into consideration this fact and think once again whether students have to be deprived of the opportunity to experiment with their styles just in order to follow one more rule.
Finally, the idea to dress all students into one and the same uniform may lead to the decreasing of student desire to visit schools and to be an active part of school life. It may happen that a student has bad mood and cannot come out of his/her depression. However, a new dress, a new shirt, or a new hat presented by parents or friends may certain improve the situation and help a child find a desire to go to school and demonstrate this new present.
Why not use the ability to dress as students want themselves as a perfect stimulus for them to visit their schools once again. Students cannot even guess that differentiation in their clothes is one of the factors, which make them come to schools. And if school government deprive them of such a genius chance, the results may be disappointing.
Arguments for schools uniforms
In spite of the fact that the discussion of the problems concerning a standard uniform produces “more questions than answers” (Brunsma xviii), there are many factors, which may prove how beneficial wearing uniform may be. One of the first reasons, which may attract the attention of parents and even students, is that spending of money on clothes, cosmetics, and other things is considerably reduced. Parents have to buy a school uniform, provide a child with a chance to spend money on food, entertaining, and games, and not to care about fashion and the ideas of what has to be wore today.
Investigations and analysis of school uniforms by Catholic schools in the middle of 1900s demonstrated how successful and helpful uniforms could be (Mathison and Ross 124). People should not be bothered of how to dress children. It is also necessary to admit that students are at the age, when they continue to develop and grow physically, this is why clothes have to be changed year by year.
And a uniform does not cost much, and it is possible to buy it from time to time. So, those, who care about own financial situation and want to save their incomes, have to support the idea of a standard school uniform.
The events of the 11th September may also serve as a strong reason to support the idea of school uniform. Many people can hardly realize why the connection of those terrible terroristic attack and mandatory school uniforms is possible. Well, actually, everything is rather clear. When a person is a part of one organization and his/her clothes is similar to the rest of the group, it is easier to define who does not belong to the group.
This is why if a terrorist or an enemy is going to enter the school, the guard has all chances to notice this person (or people) and prevent him/her of doing something harmful for the school and its children and teachers. Some may think that this similarity of clothes may prevent parents against recognizing their children (School Uniform Debate and Poll). However, why not believe that children are able to find out their parents successfully and independently.
Even more, parents can hardly remember what clothes are wore on their children in the moment of a catastrophe, and this very objection may be minor. So, in order to protect children and be ready to sudden attacks from the enemy’s side, it is possible to use uniform as a kind of mark that makes one concrete school unique, united, and friendly.
As it was mentioned above, many children spend much time to pick out necessary clothes and cosmetics in order to go to school and demonstrate a new thing. This is why it is possible to believe that the variety of clothes leads to inability of students concentrate on their education only, when they are at schools.
If a student has fewer themes to discuss with friends, he/she has more chances to concentrate on education, on new information, on manners of behavior, and one the rules, which have to be followed. “Wearing school uniforms requires order and ….self-discipline grows from within [and it will be] shape group and strengthen national discipline” (Arthur 209).
It is very important to unite children and show how their abilities to gather and think collectively may improve their lives and raise the respect of their traditions by other educational institutions. Such desire to unite, to cooperate, and to be different as a group of society in comparison to other developing institutions is a powerful and justified reason in order to make wearing a standard school uniform mandatory and explain children why this choice should be accepted by all of them.
General analysis of ideas concerning the matter of a standard school uniform in Los Angeles
Los Angeles is one of the fast developing and rich cities in the whole world. It citizens have access to numerous services, which are available 24/7. Those people, who face financial difficulties, may usually find support by means of social service. Those children, who want to use their skills and knowledge to achieve success and recognition, may get a chance and participate in programs, which help to develop their potential.
All this information proves that citizens of Los Angeles are characterized by stable financial position, and parents are able to buy everything important for their children. This is why the idea that less money may be spend in case a school uniform become mandatory should play a crucial role. According to Shafii defines the policy to wear school uniform as “a strategy that prevents students from wearing clothing that indicates gang affiliation, such as trench coats” (259).
As it was mentioned above, a uniform may serve as a distinctive mark that forbids visiting the school by people, who do not belong to its students or teachers. Safe control is a powerful point that attracts people to schools, and parents may certainly trust their children to those schools, which promote safe and effective education.
Unfortunately, not all students comprehend that proclamation of school uniform is used not in order to deprive them of the opportunity to demonstrate their individuality but to protect them, make them equal to each other, and give them a chance to pay more attention to the educative process but not to creativity’s development.
Visitor: Why do you wear school uniform?
Pupil: Because I’d get into trouble if I didn’t.
Visitor: So it doesn’t make you feel as though you belong.
Pupil: Bloody hell no – I hate wearing it. (Watson and Thomson 141)
This conversation proves that students’ attitude to uniforms may vary considerably. Even if they accept the rule they cannot be satisfied with this decision. So, the question about the standards for a school uniform remains to be open.
In general, the idea to use a standard school uniform is great indeed. Parents become less bothered about the financial side of their children education, teachers do not think that some unexpected visitors come to their schools, and students are not worried about the idea of what to wear on in order to correspond to fashion and general taste.
Some students think that their creativity and imagination are cut due to these uniforms; however, they may continue developing their abilities and demonstrating their tastes outside the school. People should realize that school is the place, where knowledge and experience take the first place. It is not the time to play with own imagination; it is time to focus of study and support other students to do the same.
At schools, it is necessary to forget about inequality, about tastes, and about the desire to distinguish. Being at schools does not take the whole day long, and the rest of the day it is possible to wear everything.
This is why, taking into consideration words by sophisticated writers and ordinary students, it is necessary to say that a standard school uniform has to be mandatory for students in order to present effective education processes, protect children against possible dangerous, and help parents think less about their children style and money that are required for meet their demands.
Arthur, Linda, B. Undressing Religion: Commitment and Conversion from a Cross-Cultural Perspective. New York, NY: Berg, 2000.
Brunsma, David, L. The School Uniform Movement and What Tells SU About American Education: A Symbolic Crusade. Lanham, Maryland: The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, 2004.
Craik, Jennifer. Uniforms Exposed: From Conformity to Transgression. New York, NY: Berg, 2005.
Halle, David. New York & Los Angele: Politics, Society, and Culture: A Comparative View. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2003.
Mathison, Sandra and Ross, Wayne. Battleground: Schools. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2008.
Milner, Murray. Freaks, Geeks, and Cool Kids: American Teenagers, Schools, and the Culture of Consumption. New York, NY: Routledge, 2004.
School Uniform Debate and Poll. “Would School Uniforms Improve Our Schools?” 17 Dec. 2009. http://www.youdebate.com/DEBATES/school_uniforms.HTM
Shafii, Sharon, Lee. School Violence: Assessment, Management, Prevention. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing, 2001.
Tooms, A. “Thos Kids’ Are Our Kinds.” The American School Board Journal 189 (2002): 56-58.
Watson, Brenda and Thomson, Penny. The Effective Teaching of Religious Education. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited., 2007.