Uniforms In Public School

Quality education is critical to the future of Americas children. However, we
cannot educate our children in schools where weapons, gang violence, and drugs,
threaten their safety. Many local school districts have made uniforms an
important part of an overall program to improve school safety and discipline.

Students resort to violence and theft simply to obtain designer clothes or name
brand shoes. This instills a fear among the students and teachers. It is no
secret that violent behavior has become a problem in public schools. For this
reason more and more public schools are entertaining the idea of uniforms to get
the minds of their students off of fashion and onto their education. Many
parents and students support the uniform issue because they feel it makes all
the students equal in the eyes of their peers and teachers. However, many
parents feel that just like installing metal detectors, uniforms are a
simplistic solution to a far greater problem. Some experts believe uniforms
promise to cut down crime and reduce violence, but only if we take away that
students individuality and freedom of expression. What does this promise?
Uniforms have been used in an effort to try an reduce crime, and at the same
time, remove peer pressure amongst students to try to fit in so they can
concentrate on their school work. President William Clinton agrees with this
saying If uniforms can help deter school violence, promote discipline, and
foster a better learning environment, then we should show strong support to the
parents that try them.(21) By mandating uniforms in public school, school
officials hope to see a reduction in crime and violence. According to
statistics, there are notable decreases in school violence and illegal offenses
after the enactment of a school uniform or standardized dress code policy.(Lewis)
Can uniforms really help in deterring violence and crime? Many parents and
teachers say yes. Supporters of uniforms say social and economic classes would
no longer be revealed by students clothing and the school system will have
more of a sense of community.(Nittel) Providing that a childs clothes does
make a difference in school violence, then uniforms are exactly what our
children need. Some parents feel uniforms will put the students emphasis on
schoolwork instead of dressing cool, and they will help to lower school
violence. Almost five years ago, the Long Beach School District made headlines
when it became the first school district in the country to make uniforms
mandatory for its elementary and middle school students. According to Phoenix
school officials in Long Beach, California, attendance and test scores improved,
incidents of students fighting decreased by 50%, student crimes decreased by 36%
and student suspensions decreased by 32% after they enacted a uniform
policy.(Will) Also other there were other steps to improve student behavior.

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Increasing the number of teachers patrolling the hallways during class changes,
were also taken by the district around the same time the uniform policy was
introduced. Dress codes were initiated in private schools as a standard. As
violence, competition between students, and distractions from the educational
system increased in public schools, administrators began to consider uniforms as
a solution to the problem. In Baltimore, Maryland, school administrators found a
44% drop in assault and battery charges, a 50% reduction in assault with a
deadly weapon, a 41% cut in occurrences of fighting and a 74% drop in sexual
offenses. They also found drug abuse to be down by 89% and vandalism had dropped
by 8%.(Stacey) These results and others caused many school districts to consider
uniforms for their own schools. Uniforms seem to give students a sense of
responsibility. It says that clothing is not that important. With this
realization the students began to forget about their clothes and refocused their
attention on education. Consequently their test scores and attitudes improved.

One teacher stated that I have never seen so many children change their
overall attitude in the classroom in just a matter of a few weeks. Studies
show school uniforms are more successful in elementary schools, where students
are not so intent on their individuality.(Stover) And, experts recommend placing
students in uniforms at a young age so they become accustomed to a program. This
allows there to be no focus on material items and the childrens focus remains
on education from the start. Stover(1990) states that most supporters of
uniforms agree the program will not succeed unless school officials gain the
support of a large majority of parents from the beginning. President Bill
Clinton endorsed school uniforms in his 1996 State of the


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