Wednesday, August 26, 2015

School Uniforms

The topic of school uniforms is very touchy when talking to students, faculty members, and even outsiders (the public eye). To me, there are several pros and cons to making school uniforms mandatory in school. For example, school uniforms may deter crime and increase student safety. Long Beach, CA took a survey before and after their two year period of district-wide K-8 mandatory uniform policy, and they noticed several differences. Reports of assault and battery in the district’s schools decreased by 34%; assault with a deadly weapon dropped by 50%; possession of weapons (or weapon “lookalikes) decreased by 52%; fighting incidents went down by 51%; possession of drugs went down by 69%; sex offenses were cut by 74%; and vandalism was lowered by 18%. There are several other schools that have also done their own report and showed improvement after school uniforms were mandatory. 
One concern of school uniforms is that they restrict students’ freedom of expression. The First Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees that all individuals have the right to express themselves freely, and the US Supreme Court stated in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (7-2, 1969) that “it can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” There have been other incidences when the appearance of a school’s subjects have been taken all the way to the US Supreme Court; my question is: is it that necessary? Before making a decision on which stance to take, I encourage you to do your own research; the results you find may shock you.  
--Faith Gilbert

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