Uniforms: To Wear or Not to Wear?


Abbey Long, Staff Reporter

It’s no secret that the uniform debate has become a hot topic of conversation in recent years. Many believe that uniforms are beneficial to students and help create a better learning environment. Still, others believe that wearing them forces students to suppress their individuality and creativity.

Before making a decision on what to believe, it is necessary to view the facts and statistics on how wearing uniforms impacts students. The National Center for Education reported that as of 2016, twenty one percent of public school students were forced to wear uniforms, with the number steadily increasing every year. This means around one fifth of all American public school students in grades K-12 were required to wear uniforms to school. So why is this number so big? As cited earlier, many have theorized that wearing uniforms increases student performance and limits distractions in the classroom.

However, according to a study completed by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, overall graduation rates and disciplinary actions taken against students remained the same before and after a uniform rule was implemented. This means that students’ major and long term decisions were not affected by the integration of uniforms in their school.

A different study conducted by the Journal of School Violence reported that after uniforms were integrated in one public middle school in Nevada, inappropriate behavior referrals (separate from disciplinary action performed) decreased by 33%. School police reports were also reduced by 63% in one year, proving that wearing uniforms may actually reduce violent school incidents, harassment, and bullying.

These kinds of positive effects may outweigh individual student preference towards free dress. Both factors, though, must be taken into consideration when a school is deciding how students should dress every day. In the same study, it was reported that the large majority of 87% of students did not like the uniform rule and felt as if it took from them their individuality and creative expression. This means only 13% of students felt as if the benefits from wearing a uniform outweighed being allowed to choose to wear their own clothing to school.

Overall, most students prefer to wear their own clothes while academic professionals believe uniforms assist students. No matter what side you’re on during this hot topic, everyone can agree that school is school and no matter what clothes you wear, they will always have your back [pun intended].