The debate over school dress code is not new. For decades, parents and policymakers have debated the need of school dress code and otherwise. There are many parents, students and academicians who love the idea of having a dress code. There are many who don’t like the practice.
The reality is that there are certain technicalities, both in favor and against school dress code. There are certain realities as well which are entirely subjective. Some people like the appearance of uniforms and they cannot be blamed because kids do look good in certain dresses. But there are certain uniforms which don’t make kids look cute or feel good. They make students rather uncomfortable. The school dress code debate may be far from being settled but there can always be an objective analysis of the school dress code pros and cons.
It is best to not look at uniforms from the perspective of subjectivity but from the rational point of view. Hence, consider the school dress code pros and cons before forming an opinion or taking a standpoint.
List of Pros of School Dress Codes
1. School dress code makes everyone equal. Imagine a situation where kids get to wear what they wish to wear. Now, there would always be some rich kids, relatively poor kids and kids from middle class families. The rich kids would always have the luxury to buy what they want and their clothes would, in all possibilities, be more expensive and thus more attractive than that of the poor kids or those from middle class families. It is not right to expose kids to social and economic inequalities at tender ages. Kids will get exposed to that in the real world when they grow up but when they are being groomed and raised, it is best to avoid signs of inequalities. In many studies, it has been noted that kids often face pressure to dress well in the absence of a school dress code. Seeing some kids dressed in expensive garments can make other kids feel bad, insecure and also depressed. A school dress code does away with all such worries. An education institution should try and do everything in its power to make everyone feel equal and a dress code does contribute to that.
2. A school dress code often makes things more affordable for parents. In most cases, the uniforms cost less than what normal dresses would. Contrary to a practice that makes buying many dresses imperative, which would be the case in the absence of a dress code, parents would have to buy only a few uniforms and they can be worn again and again and regular washing makes them wearable again. Parents would not have to buy dozens of new dresses every few months. Buying a couple uniforms for one academic year is good enough. Parents can save hundreds of dollars if there is a school dress code. This is one of the greatest advantages of dress codes.
3. It is often propagated that a school dress code helps students to focus more on their academic performance. Having a dress code instills a sense of responsibility and discipline in students. They pay less attention to what they are wearing and how they are looking. In the process, they get more time and their mind is more focused on academics. There are some limited studies that have inferred that a school dress code does help students to get better in studies.
A school dress code does away with some of the possibilities of bullying and teasing, especially those that are based on attire and style. Since there is little scope to opt for a unique style with a dress code in place, it is unlikely that kids would get picked on by others for the way they dress or how they look.
List of Cons of School Dress Codes
1. While a school dress code is a social and economic equalizer, it does prevent the freedom of a child to wear what he or she wants. A kid may not want to wear a particular uniform. Having a dress code would be imposing the rule or thrusting on the kid the need to wear a certain dress. Some kids may not look their best in a uniform. They may not find the uniform comfortable. There can be personal aversion to the very idea and practice of a dress code. Such instances are not taken into consideration at all while determining a dress code.
2. Imposing dress codes on students and thus thwarting their ways of expression through attire may lead the kids to vent their wishes through other means, which could be through makeup, jewelry or even piercing. These are not desirable alternatives and parents need to keep a watch over this. Dress codes have often been criticized for this reason.
School uniforms do not always make for comfortable wearing. It depends on the materials, design and also the student’s physical attributes. Some schools have expensive uniforms which can burden the parents with additional financial obligations.