Does the Lower School really need uniforms?

. Most uniforms in schools are usually very gendered, meaning skirts are for girls and pants for boys. This can make transgender, gender-fluid, and gender-nonconforming students feel excluded or even bullied in an extreme case.

Illustrated By: Tommy Verhey

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Uniforms are a common in schools around the nation and the world, especially at most private and religious schools. There is a wide variety of reasons why a school chooses to require uniforms for their students, ranging from enhancing school spirit all the way to safety on school campuses. Although uniforms have their benefits, they can also take away from individuality and freedom of expression, cost more money for parents, and they can also cause discomfort to the student.

The lower school campus requires uniforms for all students, while the middle and upper school campus dress codes. These uniforms may be part of a tradition, but it’s an outdated tradition. Uniforms are not needed.

One central problem with uniforms (not only at SPA but everywhere) is that uniforms give students a lack of expression and individuality. Uniforms cause students to close up their personality and put on the same shirt and pants every single day, instead of letting them express themselves and wear clothing that shows who they are and what they like or believe in. 

There are several cases in which this has happened, including Students from Friendly High School located in Maryland, in which 75 different students received suspensions due to breaking their uniform code by wearing pink shirts to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month, said Washington Post writer Oveta Williams. Also, the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada published a statement that school uniforms are a breach of human rights because students should be allowed to express themselves by picking their own clothes and outfits.

Another significant problem with uniforms for schools is the gender stereotypes they can cause. Most uniforms in schools are usually very gendered, meaning skirts are for girls and pants for boys. This can make transgender, gender-fluid, and gender-nonconforming students feel excluded or even bullied in an extreme case. Without these uniforms, all students could wear what they desired to, without being isolated.

 Uniforms can cost much more than regular clothes in the long run, due to kids changing after school into another, more comfortable outfit for the remainder of their day, causing parents to purchase double the amount of clothing. In York County, PA, It was even reported that students were skipping classes because their families couldn’t afford the pricey uniforms, showing another reason why uniforms are quite troublesome.

Many teachers and members of different school boards believe that uniforms improve attendance, preparedness, and more because students do not have to spend time picking out their outfit late at night/early in the morning. But David L. Brunsma, a Professor of Sociology at Virginia Tech, reported from his studies on 10th graders that uniforms have “no effects on pro-school attitudes, academic preparedness, and peer attitudes toward school,” and found that uniforms are not only pointless for middle and upper schoolers but found that uniforms are “equally ineffective” on both elementary and middle/high school students. 

So, although uniforms are still in effect at SPAs lower school, they should most definitely be removed. These uniforms are unhelpful, unhealthy, and uncomfortable for students to wear for several years, even though they won’t be needing them all the way through their k-12 years. As middle and upper school students, rise together and help ban uniforms not only at SPA, but around the world!