I suppose I should share this first and foremost… I went to a private school. I know what you’re thinking! My school was either Gossip Girl or Summer Heights High… well it wasn’t either. It was just school, but with a high focus on achieving greatness.
So, with that out of the way, as I was writing my recent post where I shared about the Gallagher Girls book series (check out that post >>here if you want to read more about teenage spies in training), I noticed the covers I was finding for each book had a school uniform. Not an interesting observation in general, but when I thought more about it, I recalled the debate that occurred every time in school when they would have free dress days.
It cost a cold coin donation to wear your own clothes instead of the uniform, but it led to an occasional disagreement on what was appropriate to wear to school, and what wasn’t. There was always a conversation about transitioning out the uniform and becoming like the shows we saw on television where kids didn’t have to wear a uniform! They got to come to school in whatever they liked, and we thought that sounded great… So why were the schools making these silly rules and restrictions in the first place? Well, let’s explore the debate on whether or not schools should have uniforms!
YES to Uniforms
One of the first reasons you tend to hear in favour of wearing uniforms, is that it brings unity. Everyone who sees kids wearing the same uniform, in the same manner knows exactly where they belong. What place they go to each day, and what school they represent. It unifies kids of all backgrounds, all year levels and all social groups into one bigger group – School A or School Z. Instead of a child who can’t afford the latest shoes or jacket, they can all blend together as one.
Another of the reasons, are concerning inappropriate clothing worn to school. This was a debate often held at my school, where even a shirt with WORDS of any kind on it, was deemed unacceptable. Images of anything (from a Disney princess, to a Simpson character) was not okay, and you had to change, go home or wear your shirt inside out if they saw you. Even though that sounds extreme, the idea was to stop offensive language and imaging to enter the school grounds. So I did understand – but a little Frozen wouldn’t be that big of a deal if you ask me!
The final one that I tended to hear a lot, was that standards of presentation are going to be different. Some people don’t care if their hair is long and unkempt, or if they have seventeen piercings all over their face as a twelve year old. When you’re forced to have you hair out of your face, or to wearing little or no makeup (saving the embarrassing “cake face” scenario) you learn how to look after yourself and present yourself professionally – an important tool when you start working.
NO to Uniforms
This was the side almost always held by students in school. Those of us who hated having to wear a tie, and have skirts at certain lengths every day. The moment I was out of school, I was glad to never be forced to wear a skirt unless I wanted to ever again! I hate skirts. So why is it that kids think wearing their own clothes are better?
A main reason, was similar to my complaint above – being more comfortable. When you’re sitting at desks all day, walking to classes and running around an oval at lunch, you want to be comfortable. To have movement to do what you gotta do, and then pick something else for the day after – coordinating with your activities on that day.
Another reason for the No Uniform side, is self expression. There is so much that kids and teenagers don’t have control over. How they dress, is something they can somewhat control. When parents are the ones paying for the clothes, sometimes it’s tricky but for the most part you can organise your wardrobe to make a statement about yourself. Maybe one day you’re feeling down and don’t want people to speak to you – you can wear a tracksuit to symbolise you’re giving up on life that day, or all black to scare them away. Maybe you’re feeling flirty and want to wear a skirt after all (I will never understand you people!) but the day after, you want to have the flexibility that comes with shorts…
Especially when you can only wear a dress/skirt or your PE clothes (but only on PE days, or that’s a no-no) it leaves very little room for comfort, self expression and actually connecting with other students when you find out that someone else likes to dress and express the way that you do.
Well, whatever you think about uniforms in schools, the reality is that it’s still very much alive. I suppose home schooling is on the rise, and I think we can all agree that making your kid wear a uniform to the kitchen table would be weird….
Are you For or Against wearing a uniform in schools? Maybe you just don’t care… pop a comment down below and let us know your POV!
See You in the Adventures