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Let's Weigh the Pros and Cons of Mandatory School Uniforms

The school uniform debate is a whole lot more complicated than you might think

On the surface, it seems like the great school uniform debate shouldn't be that controversial of a subject. We're only talking about clothes, here, after all. However, uniforms are actually an extremely polarizing topic and have led to many a heated argument among the parents of school-aged children.

It all comes down for what's best for the children, but should kids really be required to wear a uniform to school every day? We've broken down both sides of this decades-old debate.

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Pros of school 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.

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Former President Clinton is perhaps the most famous and influential advocate of school uniform.

"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," he said in a March 1996 speech.

Next Up: Cons of school uniforms

Originally published July 2009. Updated January 2017.

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