For certain schools, it is important that students wear a school uniform in order to maintain order among them. School uniforms are common in religious and private schools, and some public schools require them.
Attendance and Academic Success
According to a 2005 study, researchers found that an Ohio school that recently implemented a uniform policy saw an increase in attendance as well as in the total number of graduates for the 2005 school year. There have also been instances of fewer suspensions in schools that require students to wear uniforms or adhere to a strict dress code. The general belief is that since all students are wearing uniforms, there are fewer distractions in classrooms of students worrying about what they and others are wearing. School uniforms also help to boost morale and school spirit since students are wearing their school colors together. They look more unified, which in turn creates a feeling of community and cohesiveness while reducing feelings of competition.
Efficiency and Cost
Students who wear a uniform to school spend much less time getting ready in the morning than students who don't wear uniforms. They don't need to spend time thinking about what to wear or having to try on several different outfits. This allows some students to get more sleep since they can wake up later in the morning knowing they don't have to spend as much time getting dressed. They are also more likely to have time to eat a nutritious breakfast before school, which gives them the energy they need to focus more in class.
School uniforms can also reduce the clothing costs for parents. Students who attend schools without a uniform policy may be more concerned about wearing stylish or expensive clothing. Parents of students who attend a school with a uniform policy spend up to $150 less on clothing each year, as stated by the National Retail Federation.
Bullying and Violence
School uniforms help to eliminate bullying due to the fact that everyone is dressed the same and children cannot be teased for wearing something unusual or different. Uniforms can create an environment of equality since students from different economic backgrounds wear the same clothing, which can reduce bullying of those who may not be able to afford stylish or expensive clothing.
School uniforms allow school intruders to be easily identified, which is extremely important in a world of school shootings. Similarly, if a student is kidnapped or leaves school at an unauthorized time, they are more easily identifiable to the authorities if they are wearing a school uniform.
Arguments Against School Uniforms
Some people argue against students having to wear uniforms because it conflicts with their rights to self-expression. They believe students should be able to express their personality and creativity by dressing the way they want. Some parents also feel that having to pay for uniforms conflicts with their right to send their child to a free public school. They feel that uniforms impose an extra expense they should not have to incur to provide their child with a free education. They argue school uniforms actually create a larger target for bullying, as students from other schools easily single out students in uniforms. Some students may also feel resentment toward their school for making them wear a uniform, which can cause behavioral problems that would not ordinarily exist in schools where uniforms are not mandatory.