Over the last ten years, the need to develop and enforce a modest uniform dress code has become a looming reality that is hard to ignore.
In private schools, uniforms are usually the first pick, either for religious reasons or because the community voted for them. When students enroll in a private school they must conform to the uniform dress code as a rule. On the other hand, public schools do not require uniforms, although they are starting to question why? Administrators, parents and even students are beginning to see that modest uniforms provide amazing benefits and improvements in regards to student safety, focus on school work, and creativity. Student safety has always been the overall concern for many US public and private schools.
Uniforms are enforced to reduce crime activity and identify strangers within the school.
A two year study in Long Beach, CA shows that enforcing uniform dress code along with school security drastically improved student safety in areas of sexual harassment (74%), assault and battery (34%), possession of weapons (52%), possession of drugs (69%), vandalism (18%), and fighting incidents (51%). Another study in Sparks Middle School, Nevada, shows a 63% drop in police catalog reports about gang activity, student fights, graffiti, property damage, and battery in 2012, upon the institution of a school uniform (http://school-uniforms.procon.org/).
Although others may argue that modest uniforms do not make a very big improvement for student safety, these facts are hard to ignore. Not only do school uniforms reduce violent outbreaks and gang activity, they also call attention to non-students and strangers on the school premises, which provides the staff with the ability to manage and monitor visitor traffic and protect students against unwanted visitors.
When every student is wearing a uniform, their attention can be focused on school work rather than appearance.
“A 2010 University of Houston study found that elementary school girls’ language test scores increased by about three percentile points after uniforms were introduced.” (Dressed for Success? The Effect of School Uniforms on Student Achievement and Behavior). Chris Hammons, Principal of Woodland Middle School in Coeur d’Alene, ID, stated that uniforms “provide for less distraction, less drama, and more of a focus on learning.” (Dressed to Distraction, by Joel Donofrio).
In culturally mixed schools where uniforms are enforced, students don’t feel pressured by their peers to forsake their religious or moral dress standards. Also, students that have a poverty stricken background, do not need to break the bank just to fit in. Uniforms are more affordable than a new stylish wardrobe for every new school year.
A common ground uniform dress code eliminates these kinds of distinctions among students, creating a more relaxed environment for kids to be themselves. Although others may argue that uniforms promote conformity, it is conformity that can divert the students focus to learning, it create’s a safe place for children to be more like their true selves without focusing on the pressures of their appearance. Without these worries, these students can devote more time to class work.
Uniforms do not solve this problem completely, but they certainly help.
There is an unspoken message that goes with a school that has no dress code requirement.
This message is: We do not care enough about student safety and learning to put these requirements in place.
A school that cares about student safety, student focus on school work, and creativity, is a school that cares about each students well being. They want to see their students be successful. So they do the grunt work to enforce their dress code, shrinking the cultural and social gaps between students and providing a better/safer learning environment.
Want to put your child’s focus on learning? Enroll them in a school that cares.
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