The Instigator
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4 Points
The Contender
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11 Points

Students should wear uniforms

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/23/2011 Category: Education
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 5,777 times Debate No: 16098
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (4)




Schools should not force students to wear uniforms because it violates freedom of expression and freedom of speech, which are in the First Amendment. It also will not prevent bullying as people can still bully based on disability, gender, race, etc.


I thank my opponent for posting an interesting debate.

My opponent says that students should not be forced to wear uniforms because if violates the first amendment.

This is not true. Schools are either privately run or government run institutions that have the primary function to teach students about well rounded subjects such as mathematics, science, history and so forth.

When you attend school you lose several of your rights. For example, the 2nd amendment states that all citizens should have to right to bear arms. Should students be able to carry guns on campus based on the second amendment? Are high schools violating our rights? Are Jr.high schools violating our rights? Of course not.

The first amendment also gives us the right to say just about anything we want, does that mean I can go around a school and use derogatory terms when speaking to people of different races, genders, and sexual orientation? I may be allowed to use the word, N*gger, K*ke, and F*ggot on the streets and it would be a violation of my rights as an American if I were forced to stop but in a school it shouldn't be tolerated and teachers have every right to punish me for using such language.

In conclusion many of our rights as citizens are curtailed when we enroll in the public and private institutions of schools who enact and enforce certain policies to make schools have an effective learning environment.

I claim that schools need to have uniforms to instill good discipline in students.
It makes students look proffesional and forces them to take good care of their uniform as if it were their work clothes.
When students are forced to take responsibility of how they look they look more proffesional.
When students dress proffesionally and conservatively they tend to be more focused in school and perform better.

I agree that students can experience bullying at schools with uniforms.
That I acknowledge, but the Pros outweigh the Cons regarding forcing students to wear school uniforms.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for accepting the challenge. It violates the first amendment because it says you have freedom of speech and freedom of expression. Both are not what you lose when you attend a school with no uniform. Racism and genders being discriminated is obviously going to be not allowed, because schools are supposed to be good places, and not places where people use racist terms.

My opponent also says uniforms instill good discipline. This is not true, as many people don't wear the uniforms anyway, so therefore, get in trouble for not doing so. Students may look professional, but they might not act professional. I know many who have been forced to wear uniforms and they still saw jerks. Many kids take good care, but like all other clothes, have to be cleaned and it does not work well in the washer and dryer, according to many who have had school uniforms. My source is some of the comments on here about this topic:

My opponent also says that students tend to perform better. You my friend are wrong. The two biggest high schools in my town are one that has no uniforms, and one that does. The one with no uniform gets better grades than the one that does. Going to public schools, I would still disagree because NONE of the public schools in my town have uniforms, and many of the students are good.

And one last thing to bring up, they don't look professional in uniforms. In the high school that wears uniforms (I've been there for a field trip), they are terrible looking uniforms. They didn't even look professional. My clothing was far more professional looking than their uniform.


According to the first amendment I have the right to verbally be a jerk to other people, I can be a racist and a bigot.
According to the second amendment I have the right to carry a six shooter revolver if I so please.

Schools are public and private institutions, if it is private then it is providing a service to it's customers and requires them to dress a certain way since it is their business and they can do what they want, kind of like restaurants, "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service".
Companies have the right to choose what people wear on their property otherwise they won't provide you the goods and services they provide.
The government also has the right to choose what people wear on their property as well.
When someone else owns the property you happen to be on, you have to abide by their laws whether it be a private entity or the federal government.
If you don't like the rules of those that own the property where you go to school then you have the option to be home schooled.
It is not a violation of your rights or civil liberties when you willingly go on someone Else's property and choose to abide by their rules and policies.

Let's say you were a smoker, outside you can smoke, but you are over at my house, if I don't like smoking, I have the right to either have you stop smoking or leave. Am I violating your rights?

Schools also ban guns, foul language, bikinis, cigars, etc. All of which you can posses off of school property and are allowed to posses under the U.S. Bill of Rights.
Would it be a violation of ones civil liberties if someone wearing a bikini was cursing while producing a revolver and smoking a cigar on a school was asked to leave?
Of course not and it shouldn't be considered a violation of ones rights if the school asks you to wear a shirt of a certain color if they so please. Their property, not yours, their rules, not yours.

Since my opponent is going off first hand experiences, I will as well.

In the schools my friends and I went to, students were still jerks no doubt, but we as a school were far better academically. When we went to high school most of us did very well because the school we went to before was a private religious school that enforced a rather strict dress code.
We were already very responsible, very well disciplined students.

Most people from my school were taking classes that were a higher level than others at the same age who came from public schools.
Now I'm going to take what you say about your personal experiences as facts, assuming they are truthful.

It could be very possible that the school that had worse students with uniforms than the students that are allowed to choose what you wear, are simply bad students. Taking care of an wearing a uniform certainly won't turn delinquents into honor roll students but you can't prove that wearing a uniform, somehow makes students perform worse, which is your responsibility as the instigator.

The U.S. service academies (USAFA, Annapolis, West point, etc), also have strict rules regarding uniforms, these are some of the highest ranking colleges in the world where they train men and women to become very competent officers in the military. Officers are the ones who are in charge of nuclear weapons, radars, large groups of soldiers, fly jet fighters, etc

The instructors and the officers in charge of these establishments agree that if their cadets were allowed to wear whatever they wanted, discipline would be severely compromised, despite the fact that a cadet may still be a jackass or have a bad personality, they would perform better in their activities both academic and athletic.

I'm not going to accept your "source" since that is simply hearsay and have no way of verifying those comments of being accurate.
I was already going out on a limb accepting what you say as accurate.

You are the instigator so you have the burden of proof to show how having uniforms is somehow worse than being able to wear whatever you want.

I have already made a thorough argument explaining that it isn't a violation of ones rights when you are on another entity's property and are forced to follow the rules they set.

You have to prove that having uniforms are somehow bad other than use the argument that they violate one's rights, which they don't, and I can list a good enough amount of private and public schooling institutions that require students to wear some kind of uniform that are either on par or exceed other schools in performance.
Debate Round No. 2


This debate has come down to 3 things:
1. Violation of rights
2. Grades of students who wear uniforms
3. Personal experience

We forgot to mention in the debate that the cost of non-uniform clothing is less than of uniform clothing. This is another flaw with uniforms. The flaw is that low-income families cannot afford uniforms, because the cost of uniforms are 250 dollars, which means kids that already buy lots of clothes will get even bigger expenses and lower-income and unemployed families cannot afford it.
They can`t wear something that expresses their interests, they can not wear anything that expresses their emotions and other things. Students do not like to wear the same thing over and over again, which is why I only know of 1 school with uniforms within 50 miles of me, and that is a catholic school and those uniforms are ugly. The strict dress code policies are to prevent non-existent problems at most schools. At the high school with uniforms, I still heard the f-bomb on the way back to the bus to pick us up from the field trip. This is because school uniforms DO NOT impact the behavior of many kids. If you took a group of bullies and made everyone wear white polo shirts, it wouldn't stop them from being a bully, it would just mean bullies in white polo shirts.

As far as the US service academies go, this is about public schools or high schools with uniforms, not academies. It`s obvious they have too though, because they will be wearing the SAME uniform in the military, and even then, some jobs have no uniforms, just a dress code like my school does. Our dress code lets us wear any color or anything as long as it is not too revealing and does not contain references to drugs, alcohol and violence, among other inappropriate references. Simple dress code, and only 2 or 3 bullies in the whole school.

Another thing my opponent forgot is how teachers don't have to wear the uniforms and the students do. That is total bias. It's the fault of the parents if a kid in a normal clothing school puts on a inappropriate t-shirt with drug references or something like that, not the school, because the parents should have checked the kids t-shirt if it did happen, and not let it slip.

I wasn't forced to follow the rules they set because I am not a part of the school, and the dress code at the school ONLY applied to students, not visitors like us who were just going on a field trip with about 5 other public schools in the area who were my age and watched 'Paper Clips', a movie about the Holocaust.

You already forgot to point out two new topics yourself, and I`ll point out my 3rd point you could of found yourself. Some kids drop out of high school or transfer to a one that has no uniforms so they can wear whatever they want, and some kids don't wear the school uniform at all and then teachers spend 10 minutes in class just because of a kid that has a family who can't afford the uniform. What would they do about low-income families?

Home schooling would be impossible for my family because my Dad has a big job in a plant in a company with 4 plants in 4 countries, and Mom works as an EA at a public school, so consider that before you tell me if I don't like the uniform idea that I should be home schooled.

Another thing with the cost of uniforms is that you need 4-6 uniforms just in case you spill something on it by accident. Let's say there are 5 uniforms that cost 300 dollars, which is actually a realistic price for uniforms. Just to buy 1 uniform and an one just in case, that would already be 600 dollars, and to buy all 5 in case an accident happens on the remaining 4, is 1500 dollars. That would be a pain if I was a low-income or unemployed family. Even worse that you have that much money for uniforms in a time where more and more families have low-income or unemployment from a economic disaster which we are having causing trillions of dollars in debt.

Audience, I beat all my opponents points by using lots of research and putting my own ideas up to outsmart the opposition.


Here is the cost of common articles of clothing that compose a typical school uniform.
Boys Shirt 8$

Boys shorts 3-5$
Boys long pants 14$

I know these aren't a universal standard and the costs vary but the fact that a major corporation sells school uniforms shows that many schools have their students buy articles of clothing from here.

Walmart, known for their extraordinarily low prices sells pollo shirts for 6$ each.

Wal-mart t-shirts barely beats the prices that major national retail outlets charge for school uniforms.

Now I actually provided links to where I got my price figures, unlike you, where you fail to show where even one school charges 250 dollars for a uniform.

This is even assuming that most students buy their clothes from Wal-Mart, which they don't. They buy from Abercrombie, American Eagle, Hollister, which sell simple T-shirts for as much as 20$

Hollister prices for simple T-shirts

Abercrombie prices for simple T-shirts

I buy from Wal-Mart and Target and my family is okay financially, but I've met several students who live in shammy houses and have closets full of designer jeans, and over-priced T-shirts.

Americans are well off and paying on average 8$ for a uniform shirt is not unreasonable.

It really doesn't matter what students like or dislike.
I hated math, still had to take math.
Therefore you statement "students do not like to wear the same thing over again" is irrelevant.
Some students like knives, I for one like guns, others like tobacco. Who cares? You can't bring those on campus.
You've had 3 rounds now to explain how what students like meant that it was necessarily good for them and you have not.

Regarding teachers and uniforms, that's something you forgot to bring up. I am not the instigator, you made the claims for me to refute and when you don't mention one, that is your fault.

Schools aren't looking to instil discipline or responsibility in their instructors, why would they make them wear uniforms?
It also separates student from instructor.
This also occurs in the military in a similar form. An enlisted man does not wear the same clothes as an officer nor do enlisted men have the same privileges. Giving those in command of one another more privileges and freedoms is good at defining the separation between the two parties.
My parents could stay up past 9:00 when I was 8, I couldn't ,was that bias or a violation of my rights? Does that mean I shouldn't have had a bedtime when I was 8? The answer to both of those questions is no.

And again, on someone elses property, you don't have the right to wear what you want. Unless you own the school you have no right to decide what they you should be able to wear.

"some kids don't wear the school uniform at all and then teachers spend 10 minutes in class just because of a kid that has a family who can't afford the uniform

Spend 10 minutes in class doing what? I'm going to have to assume you meant scolding the student for not wearing a uniform.

1. School uniforms are that much more expansive then the cheapest apparel around and are much cheaper then what kids wear when they decide what is in fashion.

2. Schools always work something out with families unable to afford certain services.
2a. Most people can afford a school uniform easily
2b. The few that can't work out plans with the school regarding payment and economic assistance.

Many schools, due to budget cuts, ask students themselves to print out their own homework because schools can't afford the ink and paper themselves. When a student didn't have a printer or the money to print out packets and booklets from the school, manage to either pay a reduced fee or pay nothing at all to get the necessary learning material. This is what will happen with school uniforms.

Then you have to abide by the rules your local school. Simply because you don't like a certain policy a certain private or public entity enforces does not mean you have the right to change that policy to fit what you "like".

There are several fast food buildings that don't sell food to people who don't meet a certain dress code. If a woman walks in without shoes or a man walks in without a shirt, they can't buy a hamburger. Does that mean McDonald's should be forced to change it's rules to comply with those that don't wish to follow it and can't get a hamburger anywhere else.

You have failed to show where a uniform costs 300 dollars per while I posted sites showing that uniforms were actually very reasonably priced and in many cases cheaper than what most kids wear.

You have also failed to post a single instance where a family actually went into debt due to expensive uniforms.

Audience, my opponents ONLY sources come from assumptions, and personal experiences, mainly regarding the claims he makes about uniform costs. I posted a site showing what a major retail outlet sold uniforms for and compared them to stores that sold cheap clothes and stores that sold clothes most children wear. Regardless or your position on this topic, my opponent "research" was inferior to mine.

I already agreed in the first round that bullying would still remain, I said that students would be more disciplined and more focused resulting in higher grades and here are my sources to back up my claim.

Here are a couple articles reporting on studies showing how attendance records and graduation rates improved

Here is a list of which countries perform the best in mathematics.

The top 5 countries in 8th grade math are, in order Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Honk Kong, and Japan.
All of these countries have school uniforms.

Audience, my opponents sources were hearsay, personal accounts, and can not necessarily be verified.
His arguments which derive from these supposed "sources" are therefore flawed and with out base.

I realize most of you probably agree school uniforms are bad and I'm not even sure where I really stand on this issue in real-life.
But to vote for Pro who offered no verifiable sources, built his entire arguments on these unverifiable sources, would be an insult to your own position.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by i8JoMomma 5 years ago
your momma should wear a long as she good in it...then she should come to my house and model it for me
Posted by quarterexchange 5 years ago
That may be very well true but you have to post, you know, sources saying that they cost hundreds of dollars.
Posted by Zammy67rocks2 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp, is it facts. 400 - 600 dollars is the actual price because you have to buy 3 or more backup uniforms
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by ilovedebate 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: idk what to say here
Vote Placed by KnowItAll 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Requiring uniforms does not violate the 1st Amendment.
Vote Placed by BillBonJovi 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con made better arguments I think
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro could have taken the BoP in this debate it was that imbalanced. Con, you need a lot more than just assertion.