I have attended a variety of schools in my life.  In one of my schools, it was required that students wear uniforms.  In my opinion, uniforms have many pros and cons.  Is it more productive academically for students to wear uniforms?  Does it cause less distractions, and maintain a better schooling environment?

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As a teacher and a parent at my school I love uniforms.  Personally I think our new uniform policy is too loose - ANY solid colored shirt and khaki or navy bottoms - anything but sweats basically( and of course now many try to push it into designs on the clothes etc..)  There is still a LOT of individuality and it doesn't break the bank. 

I preferred however, when they could wear about a dozen different kinds of shirts with the school logo and still the navy or khaki bottoms.  As a teacher I didn't feel I had to police the uniform as much.  As a mom, I seem to be spending a little more on clothes now than I did with the old guidelines.

My kids are also basically scholarship kids at an expensive private school - we can't afford expensive brand names - I'm glad that my children don't feel like they have to compete. . .

 I am a private tutor for a 3rd grader who attends a private school and, of course, she has to wear uniforms to school. I definitely agree that uniforms provide an environment where children will feel included and not have to compete with their peers to have the latest brand name clothing or accessories. On the other hand, I don't believe that uniforms stop this "competition" to have the best and newest things completely. Children still have that tendency to feel as if they need to have the best toys or gadgets and I often hear them being teased if they don’t have those things. Uniforms may be a good idea, but they won’t solve everything!

I think that uniforms in schools can have a great deal of impact on the students. I think that it can help reduce student bullying and decrease all the gang representation that happens at may schools. I think that it can also be less distracting because all the students will have the same clothes and will not be trying to get the latest fashion. Im sure that this may make it easier on parents but could also put a damper on them depending on what type of uniforms are required. Uniforms can be expensive, but the can be cheap if you do something like blue jeans or  khaki pants with a solid top.
I do believe that there are more pros than cons with students wearing uniforms at school.  In all of the schools I attended I was never required to wear them, but in many of my classroom observations I have attended schools where children are required to wear them.  I am currently mentoring a student in middle school who wears a uniform and she brought up some valid points.  She is less stressed in the morning because she does not have to go through the difficulties finding something to wear, there is no social competition between her and her friends about who is wearing the "cool clothes".  I do think that it is less distracting for students.
I wore a uniform all through high school and have been teaching at a Catholic high school that has uniforms, for the past 11 years.  Whether or not if offers less of a distraction or increased academic productivity, I cannot comment.  But what I do know is that the uniform provides a sense of belonging, a sense of identity to a collective organization, a group, a greater community.  This desired belonging comes in many forms of spirit and pride that is often not witnessed in other schools in our city that do not wear uniforms.  Many students come to us with no attachments, no cummunal activity that draws them to a group or club or body of friends.  Over the years, I have seen our uniform attract criticism, evolve, and change but all the while still maintaining its integrity with the majority of parents and students.  As far as diminishing individuality, I think not.  The uniform makes students comfortable enough to express themselves in many other forms -- not just clothes.  Our students can be identified by their uniforms and they are proud of it!



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