This debate does not include the fact that peer pressure in many public schools causes families to spend much more on “street clothes” so that their kids are not embarrassed or bullied because they do not have the latest fashions. (a single pair of the least expensive GAP girls jeans can run $30 — two to three times the cost of uniform pants or skirt). It seems clear that the argument that public school uniforms are more expensive may be difficult to prove.
The second, and most often used, argument against school uniforms is that they stifle self-expression and inhibit individuality. These are normally arguments from parents of children who have not yet participated in a school uniform policy. Most parents, in my research, who have a child who goes to a public school with a uniform policy say that their child expresses their individuality and self-expression in many other ways — through who they are as an individual, what kind of grades they get, with sports and other activities, how they act as an individual and what sort of principles, morals and beliefs they hold — with or without school uniforms. Many of the children say the same things.
In regards to reducing violence, harassment, and even peer pressure in the schools, my research indicates that, from the perspective of those students and parents who are enrolled in public schools that have uniform policies, there is little question that school is a safer, more comfortable, less stressful environment that it was before the uniforms were required.
Besides the crime statistics given above for the Long Beach School District, it would also appear that uniforms make the appearance of “outsiders” on school campuses more obvious and allows them to be easily identified and removed. That also allows students to feel safe on campus. Uniforms seem to reduce the “cliques” at schools because, since everyone looks alike, and dress is often the gathering point for cliquish behavior, there is less competition and “us vs. them” mentality. Conclusion There is overwhelming experiential evidence that school uniforms make school a safer, more comfortable experience for students, teachers, and administrators. There have been lawsuits against the mandatory public school uniform policies, most of which end in a draw between those claiming a violation of constitutional rights, and those in favor of uniform policies. The argument that school uniform policies violate a students right to self-expression has not been proven. What is right or wrong for each school district depends on each districts own circumstance. However, it would seem that our thesis is correct, and that, as more and more public school districts move to uniform policies, the real-time data mounts that there is a reason they do. Bibliography Educationbug.org. “Public SChool Uniform Statistics.” 2010. educationbug.org. 17 March 2010