Uniforms Have no Place in Modern Classrooms


Jessica Cook

The cartoon shows students’ true feelings about uniforms and that they would rather burn uniforms than wear them.

Jessyca Cook, Entertainment Editor

The Kingsport City Schools Board of Education had a major, hour-long discussion about the dress code during their June meeting. One of the ideas they discussed was making all students in the district wear a uniform. This idea is not fair to the students, and could have a negative impact on their education.

Some board members had strong feelings that students’ dress is a problem, but the existing dress code isn’t even properly enforced. Girls, for example, are singled out for dress code violations much more frequently than boys. The dress code restricts the wearing of tank tops for girls but not for boys. That’s sexist, plain and simple

The KCS dress code clearly states that there should not be any rips, frays, tears or holes anywhere on clothing above the knee that show skin. Many teachers only enforce this rule if there is a distractible violation.

Since the rule is only loosely enforced, many students wear these types of clothes to school, which has caused no distractions. The rule seems silly and out of touch with the reality of how students dress.

The current dress code is far from perfect and is not equally enforced. Instead of fixing the dress code or making sure it is enforced properly, the KCS board discussed school uniforms. Those would be a bad idea.

School uniforms take away the freedom and creativity of students. Picking out what to wear every day lets students express themselves. In middle and high school, students don’t really know who they are or what they want to do yet, so they experiment. Schools should encourage this individuality, not squash it.

Many stories and books that students read in school have a theme focused on not conforming to what everyone else does and being their own person. Forcing students to wear the same thing as everyone else is not exactly in line with these moral lessons.

Arya Ansari and Michael Shepard of Ohio State University conducted a study of 6,000 students to test if wearing uniforms improves attendance and behavior. The study concluded that wearing uniforms does not affect students positively.

In fact, uniforms did not improve attendance or academic achievement, bullying or anxiety. Students who had to wear uniforms did, however, report lower levels of school belonging than those students who didn’t wear uniforms.

Still, there has been a rise in the number of schools with uniforms, and not just private schools. Even though they make no major positive difference, about 20% of public schools required uniforms in 2012, up from just 3% in 1996.

School uniforms also cost money. Some people may not be able to afford them, so the school system would need to pay. Schools across the country pay about 1 billion dollars on uniforms.

Since there is no positive effect of the uniforms, this money is wasted. The money would be better used on equipment for classrooms and clubs.

Uniforms are so useless that the wedish Schools Inspectorate declared school uniforms a violation of students’ human rights in 2017. Freedom and self-expression are important, even in a school.

The KCS board might think that uniforms will increase attendance or cut down on bullying, but they do not. All uniforms do is anger students, restrict their freedom, and make school a less inviting and safe place for students.

There are no benefits to school uniforms and Kingsport City Schools would be wise to avoid them.