Student Dress Codes

An ongoing debate in the realm of public education is the need for student uniforms or at the very minimum a school dress code. Typically administrators and some teachers along with a smattering of parents are among those who believe that having a dress code is necessary to the successful operation of schools. Most of the people opposed to a dress code are students.

People who agree with dress codes do so because they are said to, “Reduce gang influence, minimize violence, and help to identify trespassers. Parents benefit because they are no longer pressured to buy the latest fashions, and they spend less on their children’s clothing. Uniforms are also claimed to help erase cultural and economic differences among students, set a tone for serious study, facilitate school pride, and improve attendance.”(http://eric.uoregon.edu/publications/digests/digest117.html)

Opponents of dress codes believe contend that school-uniform policies “Infringe upon students’ First Amendment rights to freedom of expression; interfere with students’ natural tendency to experiment with their identities; are tools of administrative power and social control; offer a piecemeal approach to issues of racial and economic injustice.” (http://eric.uoregon.edu/publications/digests/digest117.html

Over the past two weeks 120 students have left their school district in a city outside of Detroit, MI in protest of their new school dress code that is being called too strict. The dress code does seem reasonable at first glance. It states that students: “Cannot wear T-shirts with logos, no flip-flops and no baggy pants.”

What message are the parents who are withdrawing their children from these schools sending to their children? I think that the kids are at ristk to believe that if they do not agree or like the rules they can just leave the situation. This may work for them now, but in the reality of the work world they either will conform to stated policies or be dismissed. I say let the kids wear the clothes that they want to outside of school. Follow the uniform guidelines while they are in school. In addition, I think there are better things to get upset about within the American educational system such as lack of funding for music, sports and arts programs that are plaguing our nation’s schools. Or how about lack of resources for teachers, low performing schools, school violence, and drug and alcohol abuse among pre-teens and teens.

Personally, I think students should wear uniforms of some type. This could mean a pair of khakis and a solid colored polo shirt for both boys and girls. I believe that skirts can be torturous for young girls especially in the cold Midwest, and would make them an optional uniform item.

What do you think? Are you in favor or opposed to a school dress code?

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