School should rethink dress code policy

There are more drawbacks than benefits when it comes to uniforms

Jasmine Shepherd, Opinion writer

The purpose of school uniforms is to make students look orderly, but they also make everyone look the same as the person beside them. They don’t do much to help us be successful, which is what school is intended for.

School uniforms are something we don’t need, and they have almost no effect on students’ potential.

The dress code promotes conformity over individuality. Schools supposedly promote the idea that students should be themselves, teaching kids about people in history and how they refused to bend to societal pressures. Yet students aren’t even allowed to express themselves through the color of their clothing.

One of the only other places in society that has such a restrictive dress codes is prison, which makes students feel like that’s exactly where they are. Clothing is one of the ways students can express themselves, and that right is consistently taken away.

Uniforms can also have a detrimental effect on students’ self-image. There are so many body types and school uniforms don’t suit all, particularly the policy that requires everyone have their shirt tucked in and their pants belted. If students, especially female students, aren’t happy with their body, they don’t need that added embarrassment.

The key findings used to tout the benefits of uniforms are questionable. Many schools say that dress code provides a safer school environment. But there’s very little evidence that uniforms reduce bullying at school. Focusing on uniforms takes attention away from finding genuine solutions to problems in education. Spending time making sure students are in compliance with the dress code takes attention away from the real issues: academics and behavior. Wouldn’t it make sense for students to spend a day in ISS for being disrespectful to a teacher, rather than for coming to school without a belt?

Ultimately, parents should be free to choose their children’s clothes without school interference. Mandatory uniform policies trample parents’ right to raise children without government interference. People are fed up with the government telling their children what to do. School uniforms in public schools undermine the promise of a free education by imposing an extra expense on families, which many can’t afford.

The dress code provides no freedom for students, can increase low self-image and students hate it. The school uniform policy should not be so strict; students should be able to wear more colors as long as the clothes are appropriate for a learning environment.