There are strong arguments for and against dress codes in schools. People who think schools should have dress codes argue that they encourage better behavior among students. Those who argue against dress codes say that they do more harm than good, including inhibiting free expression.
The case for dress codes emphasizes that they are essential for decorum and respect in a school environment. Arguments for dress codes include:
- They eliminate peer pressure to fit in.
- They prevent gangs from forming.
- They improve academic performance on exams.
- They encourage school spirit.
- They make it easy to identify people who should not be on campus.
The case against dress codes emphasizes how important it is that students wear what they want for financial and emotional reasons. Arguments against dress codes include:
- They cause students to be bullied by kids at other schools.
- They codes are hard to enforce.
- They are more costly to parents, especially if they involve uniforms.
- They prevent students from feeling like they can express who they are; they discourage individuality.
- They are a false solution to school violence.
Studies into the matter have produced conflicting information, causing a divide among researchers. While the impact of dress codes has proven inconclusive, some public schools have banned items like American flag shirts, leggings, and anything they deem to be disruptive to the classroom environment.