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School Uniforms

School uniforms represent not only an affront to a child's individuality, but an erosion of their civil liberties. Rules that serve no meaningful purpose represent abuse of authority, and are a betrayal of the trust our children have put in us. Students should be made to feel that they are partners in the educational process-not victims of it. Compelling schoolchildren to dress alike indicates a lack of confidence in their ability to learn to make responsible choices. SMOD/school uniform advocates rely on perceptions-not statistics-to support their arguments. Uniforms promote a false confidence in a superficial sense of order by creating the illusion that things are better than they really are. There are no scientific studies that show uniforms improve a student's behavior, or their ability to learn. In fact the opposite is true. Uniform schools rank at the bottom academically, and actually have more disciplinary problems than those who don't. It is unrealistic to attempt to eliminate gang violence by diluting the visual impact of gang presence, as members will always have a way of signifying their alliance. Uniforms just make it more difficult for the rest of us to figure out what's going on. There will always be variations to exploit, even within the limitations of the most draconian of dress code policies. Unless all the uniforms are procured from a single manufacturer, the quality of the garment itself will betray the socioeconomic status of its wearer. It is just foolishness to imagine you can ensure equality by legislating sameness. Uniforms are detrimental to student morale. Polls have consistently shown they'd much prefer to keep their options open. The most common type of uniform utilized in US public schools today is identifiably preppy. This is a style traditionally associated with a socially irresponsible, acquisition-based lifestyle. All modes of dress are representative on some level. There is no truly generic statement. The educational process should be a community effort, with parents, students, teachers, and administrators working together in the interest of a common goal. Uniforms create a bone of contention where none need exist. They interfere with personal expression, and foster resentment in what should be an atmosphere of mutual tolerance and respect. Educators need to focus on the real issues. They need to spend more time encouraging an appreciation of diversity and less time waging war on fashion trends they just don't like.


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