From the day my parents enrolled me in kindergarten, I've only experienced education in a private school atmosphere. I am now a senior. Why am I pointing this out? My school believes in the conformity of uniforms, and I am sharing my experience thus far concerning this dilemma of whether school uniforms are a benefit or a hindrance.
Let's start with the loss of individuality.
Not only does my high school monitor our dress code, but it also prohibits us from having "unnatural hair colors" (aka, anything not brown, blonde or red). No tattoos allowed. No distracting piercings permitted. The guys must shave, and if they have long hair, it must be kept up. We must wear a more formal uniform at least once a week. In other words, we must look the same as one another. An important aspect of maturing and transitioning to adulthood is choosing how to present yourself to others. Becoming an adult means being able to make your own decisions – small and large.
Many children learn societal rules and expectations quickly as they grow because not every choice is decided for them. Children unrestricted by dress codes start their day by making decisions for themselves. They may not be in control of where they will be spending the next seven hours, but they can start building a sense of identity. If young people aren't allowed to express their individuality, how can they learn anything about themselves outside of extracurricular activities or graded assignments?
Over the past few years, my principal has become more lenient and given us more dress-down days where we are allowed to wear casual clothes. However, some apparel, such as yoga pants and jeans with rips or tears, are banned. Along with such restrictions (which, by the way, force teachers and administration to divert some of their time to reprimanding students who are wearing the incorrect attire), there's the expense of buying uniforms. And while some students may be able to wear their uniforms each year, others tend to grow several inches taller (as teenagers do) and are forced to buy a new set. These yearly expenditures are not only costly but are also wasteful because outside of time spent in school, these clothes will never be worn again.
Along with individualistic depravity, uniforms can also severely lower students' self-esteem, especially among girls. I don't care if you're Beyoncé –no one can look good in a pleated skort (a skirt with shorts underneath), knee socks and a blazer with shoulder pads. Such garments are usually uncomfortable, itchy, stifling, itchy, awkward and itchy. Being forced to wear unflattering clothes every single day can take a toll on someone's confidence.
Despite all these reasons, there are a couple of positive aspects of wearing such a monotonous outfit. There is only a tiny amount stress in deciding what to wear every day, and uniforms promote a sense of community within the school. I recognize that many adults wear uniforms every day in their careers, and many people may not understand why abiding by a dress code is something to be debated.
But as a student that has been forced to wear a uniform for a majority of her life, I believe that such a limitation creates an environment where the negative aspects far outweigh the benefits.