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Dress codes for public schools

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/23/2012 Category: Education
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 24,653 times Debate No: 23113
Debate Rounds (5)
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Votes (1)




Dress codes should be mandatory nationwide for many reasons and I will first start out by addressing my first point and the debate should carry on from there.

My first argument as to why schools should mandate school uniforms is in urban school districts violence and safety, among rival schools, gangs, and simply any dangerous being that can come in the building, teachers and faculty will be able to distinguish a kid who is not suppose to be in the school.

In this article there was a murder of a student and the reason was this, "Classes had been out for a couple of hours. Still the fact gang members are seeking out victims based on clothing."

So while this student was out of school and wearing the wrong colors in the wrong neighborhood gangs spotted this kid possibly thinking he was a rival gang member and he was killed. It is more than possible that if this student had a school uniform with his schools logo in the upper left hand corner he may still be alive today.

Another point I have is having school uniforms will save money for parents and also make the child feel less threatened. Well start with speaking about the child feeling less threatened. In the elementary school the age group of students are undergoing their awkward phase and helping them where a designated school uniform will ensure the student to feel a little more comfortable with the idea that other students around them are wearing the same clothes. This could increase the confidence in the class room by a less fortunate student noticing the people in the class with nike's and all the name brand clothes.

In this article it speaks about how the young students are psychologically told that they are trying to instill a positive professional facade which could than in turn fluctuate to a positive, more confident self in the class.

Leading into my last point for this round is the financial problems individuals have can be a positive solution to them.

We will take this woman in the article to be our example she is a mother in college and she has a child so already she is paying well over 10,000 dollars in expenses for her schooling and we have to keep in mind that they need food, shelter, heat, water, electricity and all the essentials in life. By having her child be a participant in a school uniform the financially stressed mother becomes relieved at the fact that she only has to pay 130 dollars a month as oppose to buying name brand clothes as stated in the article. Going back to my last point in this given situation the child will defiantly be a social outcast if the child is wearing clothes other than the top name brands and that will drop his confidence and performance in his studies. Many parents especially in our economical situation will benefit from this alter change in dress codes at school so they will have more money to take care of the necessities.


Dress codes should not be mandatory in school nationwide. My first argument is that forcing children and teenagers to dress alike, takes away their individuality. All people need a sense of expression and many people do it through their clothing. If all teens and children were forced to dress alike, they would not be able to develop properly. Also when they are out of school, they will feel as if they do not know who they truly are because of lack of self-expression. Next, when uniforms are put into schools, the focus of the school then becomes on the children and teens wearing the uniforms properly. Teachers will have to measure lengths of skirts and pants and make sure everyone is following the code properly. The uniforms will be taking away much needed time for learning in the classroom.
As you mentioned above, uniforms create safety for teens and children in certain neighborhoods. The article mentioned how gang members were killing people who wore a certain color because he might be part of another gang. If the uniform was the color that the gang decided to use as their target, the members would not take a second look before shooting him or her dead. They would not look for a school logo to see if they should kill or not. Also, many schools have rivals with each other and school uniforms would only help students to pick out what students go to which schools. Therefore, more violence would occur because everyone would know who goes to each school and what students they do not like. Also, there are many child predators in the world today and putting a school name on an everyday outfit only gives these predators more information about a potential victim. School uniforms would not create a safer environment but would increase violence and crime rates across the nation.
You also mention that having uniforms will cut down on the cost parents have to spend on school. Uniforms can be much more expensive for people than just regular clothes. Getting a uniform is an expensive, additional outfit for the child or teenager to wear. These children do have to have other clothes to wear other than their school uniform so spending money on clothes is inevitable. Buying a pair of jeans for $20 and a shirt for $15 is much cheaper than having to purchase dress slacks, blazers, skirts, socks, and shoes all together ranging $150-$200. Not to mention as school policies change, the purchase of new uniforms will also have to be purchased. And if the children have to wear uniforms should the faculty wear uniforms too? If so where will the money come from to fund all the uniforms for the staff?
Debate Round No. 1


If students dress the same they will be able to preform better in their school work and will actually then make the students preform better.

"Councilmember Jose Huizar (former president of the LAUSD's Board of Education) hailed this proposal as a harbinger for greater "order," "focus" and "higher achievement" in classrooms across the district."

"the U.S. Department of Education found that school crime decreased 36 percent, sexual offenses fell 74 percent and fights between students dropped 51 percent after the policy went into effect."

I pulled out the major importance of the article to show you that in this Los Angeles city switched to have a uniform policy and look how much they benefited from it they did have focus and the crime dropped significantly. Now LA is a very urban and most parts of LA are dangerous so to see the numbers like this really makes it considerable for schools to change their policy.

Also I cannot address your uniforms costing too much for the parents because there is no article.

Another point I would like to bring up is the Labeling Theory.

Just so we both have a common understanding of the Labeling Theory the link above contains a description of the labeling theory. Lets take a group of students and one teacher which is there teacher for the year. In the class there is a boy with a button down shirt a nice pair of pants and shoes. Another is a girl with an appropriate length skirt with nice shoes and nice top. Now on the other side of the classroom is a boy with baggy pants a pair of beaten up Jordan's a shirt that is an arrow pointing down to his crotch area and above the arrow saying $5 foot long and a gold chain. Now there is another girl and she is wearing flats with a skirt in which her cheeks are almost hanging out and wearing a shirt that says don't bother I am not drunk yet. The teachers automatic opinion of the well dressed students is a positive outlook on them the teacher predicts that they are the students who gets straight A's does all their homework and treats the well dressed kids like A like students. So in turn the well dressed students will fit the label they were given and become Model A students. While the Teacher with the not so well dressed students will treat them as juvenile delinquents, who cut class miss homework and fail all the tests, and those students will fit their label and be late or cut class and be the trouble students and fail out of the class and shuts them off too learning all together.

Now picture this situation but the students all wear the same uniform. The teacher can only label the students in a positive matter. That way now all the students reflection is positive which than makes all of the students become successful in the learning place. The teacher than doesn't put any of the students at risk for forfeiting their interest in learning and all the distractions of outbursts will disappear and the students would be more focused on the subject.


Here are some articles on how expensive school uniforms can be:
Here you can read about three different situations where parents had a very difficult time paying for school uniforms. Obviously this is a major issue as to why school uniforms should not be made mandatory across the nation.
When students are all forced to wear uniforms, they are all forced into conformity. None of the students have their own identity or way of self-expression in the school. This can lead to the students having difficulty in the future dealing with people who have different personal taste in appearance. School is a perfect time for children and teenagers to experiment with whom they are and form an identity. School uniforms would take that opportunity away from them and force them to do so later in life. It would be very hard to try to apply to college or get a job if you have no sense of identity to yourself.
Also, school uniforms are not very comfortable. This is not the type of clothing children neither feel comfortable in nor should be wearing. Why should little boys be dressing up to look like corporate CEO's when going into a first grade classroom? Wearing uniforms would have children miss out on the opportunity to express themselves and lead a normal childhood.
As, you mentioned above the Labeling Theory does come into play. Teachers defiantly favor students who dress appropriately and do their work in a timely fashion. But school is based on grades not on who the teacher favors. Just because a teenager has a shirt with a logo on it that the teacher does not like, she or he cannot give a lower grade to the student just because she or he doesn't like what they wear. If a student earns a grade they deserve it. If a teacher is basing their grade on what students wear I would have to question the type of education they would be receiving.
Many schools today have dress codes that are enforced in schools. Students are not allowed to wear whatever they please. Schools have rules such as no tube tops, no short skirts and no t-shirts with in appropriate language on it. Students seem to agree to these rules because they are allowed to dress as they please and just follow the rules. By making them wear uniforms, the school district is taking away their right to dress as they see fit. If this does happen, student will want to rebel and act in deviant ways because they feel the need to get attention because they are all looked at as the same in school.
Debate Round No. 2


Here is an article in which it shows that teachers do label and the labeling theory is negative:

One more note on this section labeling is another word for judgement which all people including teachers have this judgement can have a negative effect on students but if we make the students wear uniforms they will lessen the risk of being a victim of their teachers judging them.

The clothes are not that expensive because they are just a pair of kakis and a polo t-shirt for boys and a skirt and polo shirt for girls too. The parents will just have to buy clothes for three days a week. For the whole year and the clothes will be good for a couple years so the parents will save money in the long run.

Today we live in a society in which we are late or slow at getting ready in the morning. If the student has a designated uniform to wear they do not have to spend time searching for clothes at night or clothes in the morning and it will allow the student to either sleep a little bit early or make it to school on time. Also it is easier for the person getting the child ready for school in the morning. With the clothes already being knowledgeable of what they are going to wear to school the parent can prepare breakfast and lunches while the child is getting ready.

" and average attendance has reached an all-time high at nearly 95 percent."

With the new school uniforms the students are making it to school on time at an extremely high percentage. Which will go back to what I was explaining about the student having more focus on the topics that are being presented in the school.

Also when the entire school is in uniform together while wearing uniforms it shows their school spirit and pride and that can include a kid who is not athletic and can reach out toward the student to make him feel a part of something.

"Many experts believe that when the entire student body is dressed in uniforms, they develop a stronger team mentality. When they are all dressed alike, their all-for-one-and-one-for-all comradery is boosted." (Michelle Kouzmine)

With this new mentality the student has it is possible that if there is a socially awkward kid in the class he will feel as if he is on a team with someone and maybe that is just what he needs to break out of his shell. This uniform idea can boost new friendships and bonds with people that may have not been so close if the were not in unison. Also when the children feel like a team they will feel more comfortable participating in class, or working in groups and helping there fellow classmates out they will all achieve greatness together.

Besides the kids that are in school are not in a fashion institute or are there to look like they are going out for an evening they are there for one purpose and that is to learn and them wearing uniforms will help them concentrate more on school work than on their clothes and other peoples fashion statement.


"I'm against school uniforms simply because a lack of school uniforms isn't what's causing all the problems. As George Carlin once said: "We don't have time for rational solutions.""
School uniforms are being used as a solution for all school problems. How exactly is wearing a uniform going to stop teenagers from acting in appropriate, skip class, yell at teachers, smoke or drink? When you are forcing children and teens to all be the same they are going to retaliate in some way. Behavior does not come from someone's clothing. It comes from a person environment.
Also, making students all wear the same clothes will teach them to be followers and not leaders. How are teens and children supposed to learn to be their own person and stand up for what they believe if they are forced to conform? All of these children will be scared to voice their opinion and go with the crowd.
The costs of the school uniforms are much more expensive than just a polo and kakis. Most school uniforms are embroidered which add extra expenses onto them. Also, as children grow, new uniforms must be purchased. The main time children grow is between their elementary and middle school years. Additional alterations and even completely new uniforms would have to be purchased.
You also mention how school uniforms take less time to pick out in the morning. That is true picking out clothes for school does take time when there are so many choices but it will not be any faster when someone forgets to wash their uniforms and now they are stuck rushing and late to classes. Students who are allowed to dress freely are able to choose from an array of clothes not just 2 or 3 set outfits.
Teenagers do not want to listen to rules because they feel as if they are adults and should not have to take direction from anyone. They will find their way around wearing the uniforms or transferring them to make them more comfortable or flattering. Girls will cut their skirts and boys will untuck their shirts and there is no way of stopping this. Then the school will have to focus on mandating the teenagers about how to wear their uniforms and school policy. Time will be taken out of class to reprimand these students.
Here is an example of these such teenagers:
Here is a group of teenagers all going to the top prep schools in NYC all requiring them to wear uniforms. These students all drink, smoke, party and sneak around. Obviously these uniforms have no effect on their behavior.
If school is not about fashion then why is making all students look the same such a top priority? Maybe some students learn better and can focus when they are comfortable? How many people show up to take the SAT's or ACT's wearing a polo and kakis?
Debate Round No. 3


In my argument I never said that students will all together stop smoking, drinking, cutting class and yell at teachers. What I meant was theses risks will go down. Which is where the labeling theory comes into place is if we can introduce young students to have uniforms, the teacher will be less likely to judge the students based on appearance. Lets be honest if you are a teacher or not human beings have a tendency to judge other individuals based on there appearance. Also my theory about giving students uniforms at young age will create a friendly environment which will make them feel a little more positive at school. If students at a young age had a traumatic experience with a teacher their thirst for learning will diminish and that will cause the student to react recklessly in class. But if the student is in a positive environment he or she will feel better at school and will learn to be respectful in the classroom situation. Which is why if the students wear uniforms the risk of teachers judging the students will be lowered.

Here in this article, (if you scroll down a little bit you will see a chart) In this chart it explains the schools that are all above the United States and some schools below it.

In that article it shows that the South Korean schools all wear school uniforms,

" usually distinguishable by the uniforms their students wear"

South Korea according to the chart I provided wear uniforms to school and although I will admit to you that Korea's school programs are intense a uniform maybe a factor of their performance. When you were a little kid, who did you look up too? Usually it would be one of your parents. And when you woke up in the morning you would see them leave the house dressed up nicely in a professional manner. If we give this uniform dress code we can make the kids feel as if they have a job like their mom or dad. This will be important because it will give the child a sense of responsibility and he or she would show great progress in their school work because they would want to amount to the greatness they see in their parents. Also giving the students a uniform will make them feel as if school is a job which it is and will make them want to be grown up. And children always want to be seen or try an act as if they are adults.

In the article above it speaks about a safety issue which I have spoken about before

"1. Reducing conflict stemming from socio-economic status, i.e., conflicts stemming from comments and personal attacks about who has better clothing and so on.
2. Reducing ways in which gang members can identify themselves which, in essence, is a form of intimidation and creates fear.
3. Reduces the risk of students being robbed to and from school, or for that matter in school, of expensive clothing, jewelry, etc.
4. In the case of uniforms, could help school administrators identify non-students, trespassers, and other visitors in the hallways who stand out in the crowd."

Number 2 is the most important one if the gang members can not identify themselves by showing their colors they will not be able to sell their gang to other innocent individuals which the reason school should make uniforms mandatory is to see scores and discipline go up and violence to drop.


Yes, teachers like all humans are going to judge people. But what does teachers judging students have to do with their grades or behavior? A student wearing a polo shirts and kakis will have the same behavior as a student where a t-shirt and jeans. The point of school is for children to get a good education. People are going to judge you your whole life, why shelter the children from it now? Children need to learn that everyone is different and the need to accept people differences. If we dress all the children the same they are going to expect that that is how the world is. They will never be able to except people who have other tastes. School should be a place of expression where children get to show their creativity especially in their wardrobe. Sometimes just wearing a favorite shirt on a bad day can make someone happy. Students need to learn right from wrong sometimes getting in trouble helps them sort out good behavior from deviant behavior. In life, people are not going to give you exactly what is correct handed on to you on a silver platter. Children need to learn through the unwritten curriculum in school of making friends and learning social norms.
Also, you mention that children look up to their parents and they should be able to dress like them. I agree with you on that. Nothing is better than being a parent and having your child want to be just like you. Little girls will try on their mother's shoes and boys will try on their father's ties. But childhood is such an important time for young children and they only have about 10 years of childhood whereas adulthood is around 50 years. Children should get to enjoy themselves and have fun and wear goofy outfits! It's the times the get to express themselves and show what they like and what they are interested in. Children should not be forced to become mini adults walking around in schools. They will have plenty of time to do that when they are adults in the workforce.
Next, you mention the safety issues in school. The most important thing today in school has to be safety. With bullying and bomb scares, people need to know who belongs in the schools and who does not. Many schools today have the children and teenager wear student id necklaces at all times. These id's include a picture, school name, grade and an id #. This is a lot more accurate than just a school uniform. If someone really wanted to get into the school and the only security was the uniforms they could just watch the children come in and out of the school each day and make a replica of the uniform. Uniforms are not a good way of making schools safer.
Although school uniforms might help students feel better about their socio-economic status, this is a status that they will carry throughout their entire life and they need to learn about each status.
Debate Round No. 4


To answer your first question before wrapping things up, If a teacher sees a student dressed poorly they may get the wrong impression of the student which will rub them the wrong way. The effect of this situation will be the teacher will give this student a little more trouble which will than in turn make the student act out. Now because of this disruptiveness in the class room it will be difficult to get the full learning time period in when there are all these distractions going on. Also people in the work force dress professionally if we teach the children to dress like this now we can teach them professionalism now which is what we are trying to bring out in the students. Now in our society it is a corporate world and people compete for who looks the best. School is a place where we teach children to dress the part for the right situation, we are teaching them what society expects from us and what employers search for.

"95% of the employers interviewed said a jobseeker's personal appearance affected the employer's opinion of that applicant's suitability for the job.
91% said they believed dress and grooming reflected the applicant's attitude towards the company.
61% said dress and grooming had an effect on subsequent promotions as well."

If we teach the children to be dressed up in their clothes now than in the future and then they would be prepared for the real world.

My last point and article is:

"It does affect how other people perceive us, especially when we are meeting people for the first time, the look is important to give first impression. If I wear a cheap old T-shirt like a beggar, the respect and expectation that I gain from people around me will be poor. Hence, I might get second class treatment."

If the students wear the wrong clothes the teacher may perceive them to be bad students which is why the uniforms should be effective in school because the students will most likely have the same equal treatment as every other student.

So in conclusion I would like to bring up all the benefits of making schools mandate uniforms for the students: It provides a sense of a team, shows respect to the teachers and shows they have respect of learning, lowers the risk of violence in schools, saves parents money, introduces the way you should dress in the work place, provides more focus, and helps grades increase. If all we need to do is change one rule to get students to perform better in school than I ask why not? The school uniforms are beneficial to the school environment because it creates a positive atmosphere and hopefully the students can enjoy school so much more. Also the students won't be uncomfortable in their school uniforms because if we introduce it at a young age they will be used to it in the years to come. So school uniforms should be a mandatory part of school nation wide so that we can see our future children of America excel.


Childhood is a time for self-expression. These children will learn how to dress like an adult when they have to. Our parents did not have to go to a school that wore uniforms and they learned how to dress and act appropriately. Teachers will not treat a student differently just because of their clothes. They may treat them differently if they misbehave or if they make a disturbance in the classroom. As you point out in your examples, uniforms give the children a sense of maturity, but your examples focus on corporate America. These examples talk about adults getting jobs and wearing clothes that make them look and feel professional. This debate is over children wearing uniforms in school. These children do not need to impress a future employer or dress the part of a CEO. They are going to school to get an education. They can worry about being an adult when the time comes.
Yes, it is true that people will judge a person based on what they wear. A person wearing a t-shirt and jeans will be treated differently than a person wearing a designer suit. Some of the worst students a teacher could have is a student who wears the nicest clothes. Children need to learn from the environment around them. They need to be able to see the differences between each of their peers. We should not be hiding children from the reality of the world. By putting all of the children in the same outfit, we are taking away their own personal identity. Self-expression at a young age is crucial for child development. If every child and teenager across the nation is forced to wear a uniform and act like school is a business who knows how these children will develop.
Here are all of my reasons concluding why school uniforms should not be mandatory for all students across the nation. Children should be able to express themselves freely especially throughout the clothes they wear. Giving children and teens uniforms, will give away personal information about their lives like wear they go to school. In today's society it safety is a major issue and if a child is seen wearing a blazer with the school's name on it, a perpetrator will know exactly where to find that student. Also there are already many forms of security in schools such a personal id's for each student, a school uniform is unnecessary. School uniforms can also become very expensive as they need to be replaced after students grow out of them. Some families do not have the extra money to spend on such fancy attire for their children to wear just to go to school. Students should learn about the different social classes and be exposed to how others grow up. By making every student look the same, we are taking away their identity. Classrooms will be forced to be focused on who is wearing their uniform right or if a young girl's skirt is too short. Class time should be about learning the lesson, not what the students are wearing. Teenagers will be sure to retaliate if we take away their sense of identity through wearing uniforms. This could lead to them trying to express themselves in different and more dangerous ways. For all of these reasons, school uniforms should not be instated in public schools across the nation.
Debate Round No. 5
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Vote Placed by 1dustpelt 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro made great points, and Con did not refute them. Spelling and grammar for the formatting, Con's was very hard to read. Pro refuted most of Con's arguments.