Unlike in the past where the idea of school uniforms was largely embraced by private and religious-run institutions, in recent years, most public schools in the United States have started to adopt the idea of students wearing uniforms. However, wearing school uniforms restricts the students from expressing their individuality and it also creates a leeway for students to be bullied. Furthermore, encouraging students to have a standard dress code somewhat makes the learning institutions to deviate from their core purpose of instilling knowledge and useful values to enforcing rules and punishing students who fail to conform. Therefore, this essay expounds on the core reasons why students should not wear uniforms.
It is important to acknowledge that making students to wear uniforms limits their ability to express their individuality (Brobeck, 2018). Generally, uniforms force students to conform to a certain look and by extension, act in a certain manner when wearing the school attire both in and out of school. As a result, it is easy for learners to be perceived negatively simply because one student in uniform was seen behaving badly by locals in the community. Furthermore, the quest by some students to stand out may also be considered as an act of indiscipline or rebellion yet the students are only struggling to express their individuality. Schools are not just meant to educate but to nurture talent and encourage students to relentlessly pursue their individual goals. However, wearing uniforms does the opposite since it makes the students to conform instead of expressing and nurturing their unique interests.
Uniforms play a great role in promoting body shaming and making students to lose their confidence since they mostly accentuate individual flaws. The situation is even worse in schools where uniforms are gendered such that girls have to wear dresses while boys wear pants (Horace, 2020). Generally, body shaming has become so rampant in the present society and students are no exception to this. Furthermore, there are several stereotypes centered on body image including the idea of considering slim people to be beautiful while shaming the fat ones, those with body hair, and several other body issues. Thus, if students are made to wear short dresses and they are conscious of the body hair on their legs, then they may become too anxious since they will be misguided by the belief that everyone is focused on that flaw. However, if these students were allowed to choose outfits that they are comfortable in, then they will definitely do their best to cover their flaws and accentuate their strengths. Consequently, the learners will be more confident and more focused on their learning. Additionally, it will also be hard for other learners to easily identify the body struggles of different students and to make fun of them.
Even though school uniforms are meant to level the playing field by hiding the social and economic challenges of the different students, these attires do the exact opposite by emphasizing on class differences (Brobeck, 2018). Students from affluent backgrounds will definitely stand out because they can invest in more uniforms and even replace them at will. However, struggling students will endeavor to keep up but the faded or even torn outfits will always betray them. Therefore, instead of making students to wear similar outfits, it is better to develop guidelines on what learners can wear in school. Proponents believe that without uniforms the socioeconomic differences will be worsened since some students will use the opportunity to intimidate others with their designer outfits (Horace, 2020). However, students who cannot afford these outfits will be consoled by the fact that they have several, decent outfit options to choose from instead of relying on a few faded or even torn uniforms.
Learning institutions are important platforms that help to shape and define individual career paths. In line with this, students should not wear uniforms since the concept limits their ability to express and pursue individual goals. Uniforms also encourage a culture of body shaming while accentuating the class differences among students. As a result, the core focus of student learning is shifted to issues like protecting their body image and trying to fit in at the expense of meeting the required learning outcomes.