Real Moms Talk

School uniforms: Whether you're for them or against them, this hot debate refuses to go away.

Little Girl in School Uniform

Arguments in favor of children wearing uniforms:

  • Students experience less pressure in deciding what to wear each morning.
  • Uniforms cost less overall.
  • Student attendance improves.
  • Encourages discipline.
  • Students takes less time to get ready in the morning.
  • Children are free to concentrate on lessons.
  • Uniformity promotes a reduction of violence in schools.
  • A decrease in peer pressure to wear trendier brands.
  • Uniforms can be reused and recycled.
  • School intruders are more easily identified in a school of uniformed children.

Former President Clinton is perhaps the most famous and influential advocate of school uniform. In a March 1996 speech he said:

"If it means that the schoolrooms will be more orderly and more disciplined, and that our young people will learn to evaluate themselves by what they are on the inside instead of what they're wearing on the outside, then our public schools should be able to require their students to wear uniforms."

As in every debate, there are two sides to the argument. Here's what those who are against uniforms say.

  • Uniforms detract from a child's individuality.
  • Students will always find ways to express themselves, leading to less desirable forms of expression such as tattooing and piercing.
  • Schools should be a place where diversity is celebrated.
  • The cost of uniforms is prohibitive, especially when a family includes more than one school-aged child.
  • An unfair additional cost to tax-payers sending their children to a public school.
  • A financial burden to lower income families.
  • A child in a uniform may be the target of bullies from a different school.
  • Uniforms may lessen the child's comfort level while attending school.
  • Enforcing rules about uniforms is difficult.
Current 2013 uniform stats: 
  • 23% of schools across the United States require a uniform.
  • The leader of the school uniform pack, 95% of public schools in New Orleans require a uniform.
  • The average cost to clothe an individual child in a uniform is $249 per school year.
  • School uniforms make up 1 billion in back-to-school sales.

Now that we have heard the arguments on both sides, what do moms really think about this debate? SheKnows interviewed three moms on opposite sides of the debate. Here's what they said:

Toinette Campbell, mom of two boys from Burbank, California: "Uniforms? I love them. The key word being uniform. It gives kids a level playing field and gets them away from one-upmanship on designer labels. It also gets kids used to taking care of their clothes. Getting rid of status symbols prevents children from being teased because they aren't wearing $150 jeans."

Carol O'Neil, mother of two boys from East Kilbride, Scotland: " I am totally for school uniforms as they keep children dressed the same and stop all of the nonsense with kids wearing designer gear. If kids are dressed the same, then they are less likely to be bullied." (In the UK, uniforms are compulsory in both state and private schools.)

Eduarda Schroeder, mom of two daughters from Chandler, Arizona: "Uniforms can be a financial burden for poor families because they are an additional expense for parents who pay taxes for a free public education. I am more in favor of a dress code."

As time continues on, it looks as if the line still stays down the middle in regard to school uniforms. However, while moms may have varying opinions on the issue, 95% of teachers believe that school uniforms promote a positive learning environment and improved behavior in students.

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Comments

Comments on "The pros and cons of school uniforms"

David April 07, 2014 | 9:29 AM

I do not think my school should wear uniforms because it is how you fell and you can express how you feel

Spencer April 06, 2014 | 11:54 AM

Allie school is the place to show individually yourself you don't get a partner from walking down the street you get to know them at school show them who you are not what a school board makes you be. On the topic of uniforms being allowed or not, let schools decide not the government

Lion April 02, 2014 | 12:26 PM

Whoever likes uniforms is a good person!

Lion March 31, 2014 | 4:34 PM

Uniforms rule!!!

Lion March 31, 2014 | 1:56 PM

Yea,uniforms are good and u all should faover uniforms :( losers!! In 1980's there were uniforms everywheree and now they are not :(

Lion March 31, 2014 | 1:51 PM

Haden u should improve you grammer !!! :( I like uniforms YAY! :)

Haden March 28, 2014 | 2:19 PM

I still hate uniforms but some peolple are poor and cannot afford expensive cloths and everyone who is against uniforms listen to this what would you do if you were poor and had no extera money for more than one outfit a month what would you rather have a uniform so people dont know that you are poor or free dress and let everyone see that you wear the same shirt for a month.

anonymous March 23, 2014 | 2:47 PM

Really?!? School uniforms aren't bad, I should know. They really are helpful

Kendall March 21, 2014 | 11:13 AM

I WILL DIE IF MY SCOOL USES SCOOL UNIFORMS

Bef March 21, 2014 | 10:31 AM

School uniforms are wrong there a disgrace to other kids

NICOLE March 21, 2014 | 7:37 AM

school uniforms are like the first century

skye March 21, 2014 | 7:31 AM

I HATE SCHOOL UNIFORMS...................................................

apple jack March 19, 2014 | 6:20 PM

school uniforms are SSSSOOOOOOOOO BORING they willl not let you express yourself in the way you want to the princibles shouldn't be allowed to do this the just want us to be miserabel

shala March 19, 2014 | 11:19 AM

i hate school uiforms just becuase it might not get peolpe teasted it cost a lot and kids might not like them.

Sapir panbit March 17, 2014 | 5:54 AM

I think uniforms should be mandatory because you can save time and money, and you can also get less bullies

Allie March 16, 2014 | 4:40 AM

I thought children go to school to learn, not to express themselves or their individuality. They can do those things outside of school time, surely? School uniforms are the norm where I come from. Most schools have a PTA-run second hand uniform shop where uniforms that have been outgrown can be left ready for sale at a minimum cost. However, the first couple of years where there are no second hand items available can be tough. So some schools who are introducing a uniform or changing it, may do a few items at a time: this year, everyone needs to get green trousers, shorts of a skirt, worn with a plain top. Next year, they'll add in the top half. Also, often state schools will have a variety of items to chose from - so personal choice within the list of uniform items. Girls can maybe choose between a skirt, shorts or trousers. Boys between shorts or trousers.

Parkersgotswag March 12, 2014 | 6:55 AM

they stink and they are sooooo uncomfortable

Sofie March 10, 2014 | 8:44 AM

I wore school uniforms up until college. I used to hate them but I learned to appreciate them in high school. I didn't need extra time in the morning to get dressed because I knew exactly what I was going to wear everyday. I never felt like my individuality was suppressed. We were allowed to wear jewelry and nail polish if we wanted. Even those small things can make your personality come through. We also could have whatever kind of backpack we wanted. Mine was purple because it was my favorite color. Other people put patches of their favorite bands all over theirs. We also had blazers that we could decorate with pins. We were allowed to wear shoelaces that were bright colors. There were all sorts of things we were allowed to do that expressed our personality. I think uniforms are a good idea because it teaches kids to be disciplined. It also teaches them how to carry themselves and be presentable. It taught me that.

olivia March 08, 2014 | 7:42 AM

omg i hate uniforms. If they want to make school miserable they might as well make school on the week ends. uniforms dont stop bullying either kids will still say they look better even though they are wearing the same outfit.

julia March 01, 2014 | 9:52 AM

school uniforms stink!! so u would want to spend at least 100 dollars or more for a outfit?! you can go to any other store and find a outfit for at least $20. and school uniforms do not let children express themselfs and cannot feel special. so i say NO to school uniforms.

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