School uniforms in public schools have been an issue of debate for students, parents and educators for many years. Since the 1987 when the first public school implemented a school uniform dress code policy, parents, students and the school administrators have found many reasons to both favor and oppose school uniforms. However, school uniforms benefits far outweigh the negative outlook on the situation. School uniforms foster a community spirit oppose to the dress-identified cliques within the school. Although many students and parents feel that school uniforms interfere with their rights for self-expression, it also allows for opportunity for students to learn to express themselves in other ways. School uniforms provide students, parents and educators a sense of security due to the elimination of crimes involving theft of apparel.
The school uniform debate has many topics of mutual interests such as the emphasis of membership and group identity. The school administration feels as school uniforms will prevent anyone individual student to stand out amongst the rest. However, parents and students believe that school uniforms are being enforced to prevent the formation of gangs or cliques. Cliques are more of a natural gravitation to individuals like themself so students may still group themselves by nationalities or even by school programs, such as band, cheerleading and sports. These forms of cliques however are not viewed negatively as they are also forms of peer support and their purpose is based on school experiences. In these types of groups, students are more focused on being the best at the talent which is what educators strive to instill through their lessons. Where you end up in life should be based upon your natural talents and the amount of hard work put into achieving a goal, not on how much you can afford to spend on an outfit and the people you associate with in this category.
The debate over school uniforms in the public school system is seen by parents and students as an exertion of power by administrators who they feel should focus more on using tax dollars on improvements in the schools. School administrators feel that the initial problem in the school is the lack of motivation in the students and feel as they should set their focus on the students and how to regain order in the classroom. Students and parents also feel that schools are relaying the wrong message by enforcing school uniform dress code. They feel that wearing school uniforms gives the impression that conformity prevents conflict. Whereas, educators do believe that a large part of the conflict between students is based on students that harass those who families may not be able to afford the latest fashion or the jealousy of those who want to be a part of that crowd.
The debate over school uniforms will continue for years to come until everyone comes to a realization that educators are working towards one goal; helping the student achieve their full potential. However, we live in a country where we all have choices and expect our voice to be heard therefore as long as students feel this privilege is being stripped from them, this debate will continue for years to come.