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Demerits of School Uniforms

School uniforms have been part and parcel of private and parochial institutions in the United States and globally. School uniforms have drawn heated debates between proponents and opponents who hold divergent views concerning their benefits and demerits. In the U.S., school uniforms are most preferred by elementary schools, followed by middle and high schools. However, this paper focuses on the cons of school uniforms, especially during an era when public schools in the United States have begun adopting them into their system.

School uniforms limit students’ freedom of expression, which is guaranteed by the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution (Ahrens and Siegel 49). The dressing is a primary form of self-expression because it allows individuals to express their fashion, style, mood, religion, and sexual orientation through their dress cord. Unfortunately, school uniforms restrict students’ ability to express themselves because they are only limited to the specifications stipulated by the school management (Ahrens and Siegel 49). As a result, students are forced to embrace different unimpressive fashions and are prohibited from showing their mood, style, or sexual orientation.

School uniforms put extra financial pressure on middle- and low-income families already facing immense challenges. Unfortunately, buying school uniforms is a burden to most families who are already experiencing financial strain to care for their children and pay rent. Therefore, school uniforms should not be mandatory to spare disadvantaged families from the financial strain needed to purchase school uniforms (Naven et al. 320). Moreover, parents incur extra costs of school uniform repair or regular purchases because of wear and tear.

Students often feel uncomfortable in school uniforms because of their designs, including collared shirts, ties, and tightly knit buttons. Many students are forced to sweat, while some have restricted movements due to the dress code that forces them to wear pants, neckties, and collared shirts. In addition, students lose their concentration and desire to focus in class because they feel uncomfortable in their school uniforms. Thus, most students do not feel normal in their school uniforms which makes them uncomfortable. Hence school uniforms are unsafe to wear because they lack comfortability as students may be at risk for suffocation because of the tie and tight collar shirts.

Enforcement of school uniforms may increase corruption as school management and principals may enter an agreement with local manufacturers and control prices at parents’ expense. In addition, school uniforms may create a perfect opportunity for schools and school management to make extra bucks, a form of fraud and corruption.

School uniform policies prohibit freedom of choice as students from different cultural backgrounds are forced to conform to a common dress code (Ahrens and Siegel 49). The U.S. Constitution allows students to choose their religion, with some specific religious groups like Islam favoring the hijab and kanzus. However, school uniform policy restricts students from such religious denominations from practicing their culture (Hass 93). In most schools, Muslim students may be prohibited from wearing their hijab, and students from Hindu may be forced to forego their headgears due to the strict school uniform policy.

In conclusion, school uniform policy should not be mandated on innocent students who the U.S. Constitution has given the right and freedom of expression and choice. Students should feel comfortable with their dress codes, which will enable them to perform better in school. School uniforms also lead to socio-economic inequality because middle- and low-income families are forced to incur a burden because of regularly purchasing school uniforms.

Works Cited

Ahrens, Deborah, and Andrew M. Siegel. “Of dress and redress: Student dress restrictions in constitutional law and culture.” Harv. CR-CLL Rev. 54 (2019): 49.

Hass, Bat-Sheva. “The burka ban: Islamic dress, freedom and choice in the Netherlands in light of the 2019 burka ban law.” Religions 11.2 (2020): 93.

Naven, Lynn, et al. “The influence of poverty on children’s school experiences: pupils’ perspectives.” Journal of Poverty and Social Justice 27.3 (2019): 313-331.


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