The dress code and mandatory school uniform for all school-going students is an issue which has sparked a debate with parents, teachers, government, and society who have divergent views on the whole matter. The burden of the entire matter lies with parents who have to ensure that their children are well dressed, afford all the necessary stationery required at school, and purchase other items that the school might need the children to have for learning purposes. The cost of buying school uniforms varies from one school to the other depending on the uniforms the students are to wear and how the school strictly adheres to the set guidelines on the uniform to be worn by students.
Those who are for the idea of students wearing school uniforms argue that school uniforms enhance the learning environment by making the students be at the same level, and their safety is also guaranteed. On the other hand, the antagonists argues that since students are part of the nation and there is a need to value their freedom of expression, then they should be let free to choose on whether they should be wearing school uniforms or not. Those who are not for school uniforms insist that school uniforms allow students to dress differently, but concerns about diversity, racism and cultural conflicts are not addressed. To improve students’ lives and well-being in schools, there is a need for stakeholders forming part of the education sector to review matters concerning dress code and the policies on mandatory school uniforms to factor in the issue of social justice.
An article on school dress code and policies has divergent views on the issue of mandatory school uniforms in American schools. The department of education would give every school a manual to offer guidance on dress codes and uniforms; this was done after the address of president Clinton (Anderson, 2002). Wendell’s publication, therefore, is to give a guideline that considers the historical factors, cases, arguments that are emerging from the controversial topic of dress codes and uniforms and the findings of research of the policies. This paper, therefore, argues on both sides of the issue and suggests the best policies to be implemented in schools when code of dressing and school uniforms is concerned.
Another article by Samantha Deane, “Dressing Diversity,” bases its arguments on the aspect of social justice. The article further suggests that the code of dressing or uniform policy does not uphold justice. Deane sees school uniforms as a way of getting to school, and wearing the uniforms does not translate to attaining justice. The issue of school uniforms does not address issues to do with violence and how such acts affect children’s performance and well-being while at school (Deane, 2015). This article is against dressing similarly by students at school. Instead, it encourages students that they should dress differently so that they can embrace their identity and culture. When you choose what to wear, learners can portray their true self, unlike when they are forced into wearing a uniform.
In her article, Deane tries to explain other benefits of dressing differently at school; she cites the messy and different world and feels that children should be let on their own to choose what to wear. When children are dressed differently, it prepares them for the world after school, which is never similar and toxic. Education itself is never rigid to only focus on the curriculum; it equips learners with the ability to survive beyond today when they are left to be on their own after finishing their studies.
My viewpoint on the whole controversy on whether the mandatory school uniform should remain to be in effect or not is a neutral one. On the one hand, lies the people who feel that school uniforms are a guarantee for the safety of the children and restrains them from behaving in a way not expected of them. According to Anderson (2002), some logos are printed in some clothes that make children unsafe. Another claim from those for school uniforms is that students who wear school uniforms register excellent performance because they will be on the same level. Some students’ self-esteem will be reduced for seeing their fellows with the most trending fashion of clothes. However, those who are firmly against the idea of school uniforms say that the policies put in place do not intend to address the underlying issues. Somewhat, the mandatory school uniform in schools simply robs students of their rights to self-expression. Other than the issue of infringed rights of students, learners are not allowed to embrace diversity and appreciate their cultural practices through school uniforms.
Assessing the two sides of the arguments, each faction has a point, and it is well supported. While those for mandatory school uniforms give their opinion as to why it is essential, those against it equally have a reason. When everything is considered, opportunity remains a fundamental right (Anderson, 2002). While taking a stand on this controversial topic, it would be to bring on board parents, teachers, and government officials to discuss what is best for them regarding the mandatory school uniform. If a solution can be reached, then every school should be allowed to regulate and control whether students should wear school uniforms or not.
Anderson, W. (2002). School dress codes and uniform policies. Policy Report.
Deane, S. (2015). Dressing diversity: Politics of difference and the case of school uniforms. Philosophical Studies in Education, 46, 111-120.