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The debate of school uniforms has been an age-old centerpiece for students, parents, and schools all around the world.
by Brayden Downey and Ruby Aderhold
When you think of school uniforms, you probably think back to the “old days” where a spitball was just a wrong answer away and the last thing you wanted to do was hear your calculus teacher give an hour-long lecture furiously scribbling equations onto the chalkboard, however that's not the case anymore, at least for the most part. Many private/charter schools within the United States still have school uniforms. This allows students to focus on the more important aspects of their education instead of worrying about what they're going to wear tomorrow or worry what their peers might think if they don't have the newest Nike Tech.
Another thing that uniforms help do is promote safety. In middle to lower class areas where gang-related crime is a problem, school uniforms help keep students safe by preventing students from wearing clothing that could draw attention either intentionally or unintentionally that could lead to them becoming a victim of a violent crime. Students also blend in with one another inside of the school making it easier for students to slip past other groups of students that may try to single them out or find ways to bother them.
So what’s the problem with school uniforms? Why are they so heavily debated? Well, there are actually lots of reasons why both students and parents would be upset over uniforms. One issue would be extra expenses. School can be costly at times given the amount of supplies parents may have to buy for their children. A school uniform added on to that could be aggravating. On top of that, many students dislike the idea of having the free will to decide what to wear being stripped from them. Being able to have that independence is highly important, especially for children so they can learn to make their own choices in the future.
And though it’s believed that uniforms decrease distraction in the classroom, they can actually cause significant distraction for neurodivergent students. It is estimated that every 1 in 100 people in the world has Autism Spectrum Disorder, so it is safe to say that there are likely many students who have ASD. People with ASD can find certain textures to be highly uncomfortable or distracting. So itchy school uniforms could be distracting for students who are neurodivergent.
To put it simply, it really just comes down to too many factors for a lot of schools to standardize student uniforms. Most public schools today don't use student uniforms as it gives students more so called freedoms as many students might call it.
On the other hand, many schools do still require students to wear uniforms; however these schools tend to be privately owned institutions, academies, boarding schools, etc.
All in all, there isn't really a one-size-fits-all uniform solution to this debate.
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