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The Instigator
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The Contender
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School Uniform Should be Compulsory

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/27/2019 Category: Education
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,943 times Debate No: 120058
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (0)




My opponent can go first.

I am arguing that school uniform should be compulsory, And my opponent will argue against this.

This is my proposed structure for this debate, My opponent does not need to follow it if they do not want to, But if they do not they should indicate what structure they would like to follow:

Round 1: Pro introduces debate, Con introduces arguments.
Round 2: Both Pro & Con introduce new arguments and rebuttals.
Round 3: Both Pro & Con introduce new arguments and rebuttals.
Round 4: No new arguments are introduced, Pro and Con make rebuttals and summarise previous arguments


I believe that making school uniforms non-compulsory has more to do with a futuristic ideology and a student's creativity, Than many other factors. Allow me to explain.

Enforcing a strict code about anything, Affects students more than others. Take uniforms - if you forget to wear them, Or mess up your uniform, Which in most cases gets washed daily and re-used, You get punished. You are forced to believe that it is, In some way, Illegal to dirty the uniform. Would it improve the lives of students if they are forced to wear the something every day? Of course, Discipline never is unwelcome, But there are novel ways to implement discipline other than making students wear the daily noose to school.

It reflects freedom, Not to have a strict uniform code. It is hard to explain in words, But I'd like anyone reading this to imagine if, At any time, A robot can perceive freedom. Can a machine, Made to serve its "lord" even at the behest of its existence, Perceive true freedom? When you are told over and over again that you cannot explore different choices, When you are strictly punished for expressing your free will against the uniform code, Can you ever understand freedom?

We must always feel at home everywhere. There is great truth in this. For instance, We make friends to feel a familial bond when seeing them. We try to become cleaner, So that when every place is clean, It seems just like home. Clothing has a huge importance in this. Apparently, The very fabric you wear affects your work ethics and emotions. Try putting on the same bleak shirt daily, And see how cranky you get.

There is also the time factor. With exam schedules shortening and the daily race expanding, Students have no time. Time is barely enough to complete your studies, But then again you have to wash and iron your clothes. See what I mean?

I wish to point that students cannot be forced to, And should not be forced to accept a uniform code. Let them be free to consider school home. I believe liberal discipline is the best discipline.
Debate Round No. 1


I would like to begin by thanking Con for accepting this debate. Good luck. :)

First I shall rebut the arguments my opponent made in Round 1.

I forgot to mention this in the first round, But my stance on school uniforms is that they should be compulsory, But exceptions should be made if needed (sorry about this, I should have clarified myself earlier). My opponent mentioned that "if you mess up your uniform, You can get punished". This is neither something which I support, Nor something which occurs in primary or secondary schools (in my experience at least, Perhaps some schools which I have not attended do this). Life is unpredictable and schools recognise this. If a student accidentally damages his/her uniform, And they do not have any others (which they often do) they can (and should be able to):
a) Obtain permission via a written note by their parents that excuses them from wearing the uniform until they can either purchase a new one or clean the old one, Or if this is not possible:
b) Burrow a uniform from the school"s second hand uniform store (for free if necessary); note that all second hand uniform items are thoroughly cleaned before they are allowed to be used.

You also mention liberal disciplines are the best discipline when it comes to what children wear at school. While I do agree that liberal disciplines are the best when it comes to (for example) what you want to wear to work as an adult (as long as you are not wearing anything inappropriate/offensive), I believe this because adults are (for the most part) responsible enough to pick appropriate clothing, And also treat other people with respect. However, I do not hold children to the same standard. Children come from various different families, And have families with various incomes. A major problem with not having school uniforms is that bullying can occur when a child with rich parents buys him expensive clothes to wear to school, And then that child acts hostile to children from lower income families who do not have clothes that are as "flashy". School uniforms places everyone on the same level, Thus eliminating discrimination based on what the children are wearing. One could argue that that this is punishing the people from higher income families just for being rich, But the problem is that these are children; not adults, And therefore it is likely that the children have done nothing to obtain the money which they have (there are exceptions to this of course). Another issue with giving children too much freedom in this aspect of their education is that children are still developing, And many (not all of course), Especially when they are younger, Do not understand that they should respect other people regardless of their wealth. Adults (with some exceptions) are more respectful to one another on average, And while there is bullying in the workplace (and this is a serious issue), It is not as common as bullying at school, And when it does occur it isn"t as often about clothes. In the same fashion, I believe that adults with nut allergies should be responsible enough to avoid food containing nuts in their daily lives, And there should not be a "nut ban" in the workplace. However, Children (particularly young children) are not as responsible, Which is why I support nut bans in school. I bring up this point to show how liberalism is important, But is not always the best idea for school children. The robot analogy my opponent brought up is a false equivalency, Because students only have to wear school uniforms when they are in school; not when they are at home or out with friends/family, So they do experience freedom: just not as much in school. Robots, On the other hand, Never experience freedom at all. In fact, Having a lack of freedom of choice in terms of what clothes to wear to school may make some people even happier when they earn more freedom after school. For school children, I believe that equality is more important than freedom.

You mentioned the time factor. The issue with this is that having compulsory school uniform saves time, Not wastes it. This is because it eliminates any time required to choose clothes for school everyday; I mentioned the money factor earlier and, If given a choice, Some people may want to wear a variety of different clothes to school on different days as to not look financially disadvantaged, Which causes them to spend more time on picking clothes for school. You mention washing and ironing your clothes, But people generally have more than one school uniform, Which eliminates the need for washing and ironing their clothes every single day, Or if they cannot afford this, They can obtain uniforms from the second hand uniform shop at school. Also, Washing and ironing the clothes is done even if students do not wear school uniform. Thus, Having school uniforms does not waste the time of students, And may even save time.

Another benefit of school uniforms is that it creates unity. You mentioned that we must feel at home when we are at school, And I would argue that school uniforms actually help to promote this, By creating a sense of unity. When everyone is wearing the same school uniform, It helps to make one"s peers more relatable and allows them to perhaps become friends with them more easily (this is especially beneficial in younger years when people are first developing their social skills). I mentioned earlier that a lack of school uniforms can create division between rich and poor people, As well as bullying, And it also causes someone wearing "poor" clothes to not be relatable to someone with "rich" clothes. Having common clothes causes nobody to feel like an outsider.

In addition to this, School uniforms make students easily identifiable as being students of the school. In the past couple of years, There have been a few incidents in my city where adult sex offenders have come to high schools to abuse students. They were immediately recognised as not being students by teachers and chased off the school, Since there were not wearing uniform. If there was no uniform, The teachers could have thought that the offender was just a senior high school student, And would not realise their dangerous intent until later. I admit that this is something that does not happen often, But when it does, Having uniforms are always the best policy for student safety.

Therefore, School uniforms benefit school children as they allow for equality, Unity, A safer environment, And they save time for children.


I'd like to clarify the points I made in Round 1, And perhaps shed more light on my responses to Pro's R2 arguments.

First and foremost, That schools do punish defaulters for coming in an incomplete uniform, Or a dirtied one is very much true. I relate to this as I used to live in Asia for over 3 years, And the school system there is rather strict.
However, Even in a general case, All one can see from the recommendations you made about "defaulting students" is that school uniforms merely complicate things. If we are to look at it from a neutral perspective, Wearing our own clothes eliminates the need for punishments or for students to feel intimidated or scared of the "uniform code". I believe that students live in fear due to the rigid codes of uniforms that most schools implement. Thankfully in the states, Most schools do not have this, But looking at it from the students' viewpoints, Uniforms are but an unnecessary burden.

Countering your argument on liberal discipline (and I complement you for putting forth a strong argument there), Your concerns on bullying takes this debate to a new topic - bullying. Economic segregation, While existent, Is not very common within the classroom, Especially when it comes to hostility. In fact, Statistics show (and I'm afraid I cannot quote the sources here due to ambiguity over identity) that the sort of economic bullying you talk about is almost non-existent. I recommend a thought provoking article, That can also educate us on bullying and the reasons behind it.
https://patch. Com/minnesota/roseville/bp--10-reasons-why-students-bully-16552bf0
Don't misunderstand - I am not deviating from the topic we are debating here, But merely infusing more knowledge into my argument. Also, I do not see how uniforms can actually bring about "equality", Like you say. Of course, Everyone is dressed the same way, And there are no untoward signs of hierarchy, But it rarely is due to the clothes people wear. Even coming from a poor household, And let us focus on some countries in Asia, As this is rare in the states, A student's uniform will be different from one from a richer family. I was used to this sight when in Bangkok, The poorer ones wear tattered uniforms, Bleached and unclean, The richer ones' being freshly ironed and neat. Uniforms, To counter your argument there, Do nothing to stop bullying, More precisely economic bullying.

Too much freedom, I agree, Is more detrimental than beneficial. But isn't the basic freedom of choice (of what to wear) well within reasonable limits? Again, If we are talking about control over what students wear, I have never opposed valid rules set to ensure discipline in schools - if anything, Students who wear disrespectful/inappropriate clothing must be strictly disallowed from continuing as such. Your argument, "liberalism is important, But is not always the best idea for school children" is wrong, At least in the context of this debate, As I mentioned liberal DISCIPLINE, Not complete and arbitrary "freedom".
You see, The term is difficult to define - Liberal discipline, And this to clarify everything, Must be coercive yet forgiving, Rule-bound yet reasonably free. Preventing students from going to the bathroom during classes is anarchical. Setting proper break times for them to do so, Is liberal discipline - while it has rules that must be followed, These rules do not, In any way, "confine" or "prison" a young student in any way.

Again, My metaphor to robots seems to have been taken a little too seriously. I shall repeat, It was but a metaphor. Also, While I do agree that these uniforms stay at best until the students reach their homes, To think that one should sit in the same sweaty clothes that he/she changed into in the morning, And fastidiously tighten their ties, Almost metaphorical to nooses for convicts, Is saddening. I shall say this one more time - students deserve freedom. Imagine bringing up a future society schooled in places where they ought to wear the exact same thing day in and day out - can such a future fathom the concept of freedom? It takes one to experience true freedom, For him/her to advocate it themselves. Equality is in no way "better" than freedom - equality arises OUT OF freedom, And it is when people believe that they are truly free, Even in the midst of others, That society becomes equal.

About the time factor, One cannot argue much against the fact that ironing and washing your clothes everyday takes much more time than choosing what to wear, Which will at most take about 3 minutes. Economically speaking too, Aren't uniforms less viable? You see, You cannot expect people to wear uniforms out of school (you said it yourself). As a result, Parents buy a set of uniforms, And on top of that they must buy the daily clothes. Having no uniforms saves money, As the clothes you wear at school can be worn elsewhere, Too.

I once wrote a poem on unity, That had me allude to it given your argument on it -
"yet what equality lies when we wear
suits of grey and black, When people look not
at your robes but at your skin
when you want them to see your image, They see your sexuality
o society, The future is wretched"
The fact is, Racism or minority intolerance stems not out of the clothes you put on, But on other, "truer" defining characteristics. True unity cannot be obtained from uniforms, For (and this is a metaphor), Would you think your grandpa goes to school because he wore a uniform?

Regarding safety (very robust argument there too, Good job! ) there are several other ways of identification. Classes have roll calls, Students have ID cards, And some schools even have CCTV cameras. In fact, The best defense is the one based on logic - while uniforms do ensure that strangers stand out, There are no limits on whether they themselves could be wearing uniform. The options are endless for criminals these days, And while I hope such events do not occur, Not having uniforms is every bit about as safe as making them compulsory.

Hence I shall end my arguments here - giving students freedom is the priority. School uniforms, As I have pointed out, Waste time and money and fail drastically in creating a free environment for students, Where they can understand the true meaning and value of freedom, And in turn build a future with freedom for all, For equality is but a consequence of a free society - where free minds dwell, Equality shall follow.
Debate Round No. 2


Hi all, Pro here. I have been feeling unwell for the past couple of days, Is it okay if both myself and my opponent 'skip' this round (to even out the amount of rounds we participate in), Then in Round 4 we both provide our final rebuttals/arguments?
Sorry for the inconvenience,


I understand the problem, And for the sake of fair, And friendly debate I shall forego this round as well.

Awaiting your arguments for Round 4
Debate Round No. 3


Thank you Con for understanding. :)

Firstly, I would like to clarify the main contention of my argument: while I do believe that schools should have compulsory uniform, I do not necessarily agree with the way every school that has compulsory uniform enforces their policies regarding school uniform. You mentioned that in Asia, You went to a school with a strict system, And that you could be punished for wearing a dirty uniform. This is not something I agree with at all, And I do not believe schools should be this strict with regards to uniform. Schools should have compulsory uniforms (for the reasons I already mentioned), But they should be lenient with regards to dirty or lost uniforms (this is what the schools I attended were like). This issue of dirty clothes is not unique to schools that have compulsory uniforms either. For schools that do not have school uniforms, I believe that students should not be punished if they accidentally dirty the clothes which they wear. You also state that wearing our own clothes eliminates the need for unnecessary fear of the rigid codes of uniforms which school students have; this is an exaggeration. While there are many students who disagree with the concept of uniforms being compulsory, Students tend to accept that uniforms have benefits and they are certainly not "fearful" of it. A survey conducted in Nevada found that 90% of students dislike wearing a uniform to school, But 54% of students think uniforms do not compromise their identity and 41% thought that school uniforms reduce gang violence. School uniforms may not be universally loved, But they are certainly not feared or demonised by students.

You linked an article regarding the causes of bullying. The issue with this is that the article does not prove whether economic bullying is common. In nowhere in the article does it say that the list of causes is exhaustive; bullying is an extremely complex issue and there are many possible causes for it. In addition to this, Economic bullying can "fit within" the causes that are listed in the article. For example, Cause #10: Untaught. This can include economic bullying, As many children (especially younger children) may not realise that they should not judge people based on how they look or dress, As they were never properly taught it, And as a result participate in economic bullying. While there is a difference between a rich student wearing a clean uniform and a poor student wearing an untidy one, It is not as large as the difference between a poor student wearing dirty, Cheap clothes and a rich student wearing clean, Expensive clothes. A large proportion of child psychologists in Australia have said that having compulsory uniforms remove distractions for students and removes pressure for them to keep up with the latest fashion trends. Uniforms may not eliminate bullying, But they do reduce it.

My school gave students a choice as to which business you can buy your uniform from (all businesses sold the same school uniform for a given school), And also had a second hand uniform store. (I believe this is something all schools should do). Some businesses sold uniforms for a low price (you could sometimes buy a complete uniform for under $30), And it was often cheaper than if you had to buy regular clothes for school. Even if you did not have to wear uniforms to school, It means your parents would have to purchase more normal clothes that you can wear to school/outside school, Compared to if they did have to buy school uniform. As a result, Having school uniform can be more affordable for some parents. Regarding the time factor, Some people (in schools that do not have compulsory uniforms) spend a lot of time picking what to wear for school because they feel pressured into wearing something that will lead them to not be judged by their peers. As I already mentioned, Ironing and washing your clothes needs to be done regardless of whether or not you wear school uniform. Therefore, School uniforms are beneficial in terms of economics and time.

Your poem on unity is very well written (good job! ) but it is inaccurate. Yes, It is definitely true that people judge each other based on race/skin colour/sexuality etc. (and this is a huge problem), But people also judge each other based on clothes, And this is not limited to school. Imagine turning up to a formal job interview for a medical clinic wearing a singlet (with no shirt), Shorts and thongs. Obviously, Before the interviewer even starts asking you questions, He/she will probably already be subconsciously negatively judging you, Regardless of what your race/skin colour/sexuality etc. Is (and you will be significantly less likely to get the job). Judging people based on their clothing is (unfortunately) something many people do. While uniforms do not completely create unity, They will bring students closer to unity. A similar argument can be made with regards to safety. Class roles and ID cards won"t always work either - the criminal can prey on students during break time, While the supervising teachers will not know every student and therefore will not know if everybody is a student of the school or not. Also, CCTV cameras are extremely expensive (my school had fake CCTV cameras because it could not afford real ones, And they pretended that they were real to scare off criminals, But someone in my school"s bag was stolen, And when they asked if it was caught on CCTV, It was revealed that the CCTV cameras were not real. So now everybody knew that the cameras were fake and they became effectively useless). Uniforms will not make it impossible for criminals to enter schools, But they make it significantly more difficult.

With regards to liberal discipline, I would argue that school children already have enough freedom. For example, During break time they are allowed to do anything they want (as long as it is within the rules), And when they get back home from school they have a lot of freedom in many aspects, As long as it is within their parents rules (including what to wear). It is not worth it to give school aged children too much freedom with regards to what to wear to school, Because you have to sacrifice so many other important aspects of a child"s school life that I have already mentioned (for example, Unity and equality). School students should have freedom, But not too much freedom.

While school uniforms do not completely eliminate bullying, Or completely allow for unity, Etc they certainly do provide a step in the right direction with regards to those issues. Therefore, Compulsory school uniforms for students are the best policy.

I would like to thank Con, This has been a very interesting and challenging debate. Good luck with Round 4. :)


That you believe and agree that schools must be lenient and considerate with regards to school uniform is indeed understandable - this is the hard truth in Asia. I never went to school there, But I lived there, And these were daily observations for someone like me. My main point is that if uniforms were done away with, There would be no such events occurring - no strict rules, No exceeding punishments. Of course, Rules should exist - students cannot come half naked - but dictating a very basic freedom, That is the freedom to choose what you wear, Should be promoted. We cannot have schools denying that freedom. An independent survey, Mirroring the one done in Nevada- returned at least 81% of students saying that they don't like uniforms. A districtwide survey in Florida found 70% of students saying they did not agree to the uniforms policy.
Researchers have even proclaimed that there is no valid evidence whatsoever that supports claims that school uniforms are beneficial. As for students' opinions on uniforms, In the majority of schools, (and these are spread more in the Asia Pacific) uniforms do have an impact on grades - that's right. In addition to attendance and classroom discipline, Uniforms do affect the results of a student - for a student who cannot afford to clean his/her uniform on a daily basis or due to some reason cannot come in spotless uniform everyday, If uniforms are not fearful, What are they?

Of course, The uniform code does mitigate bullying - no doubt about it. The question is whether students must really depend on that more than other things. If uniform was so beneficial, Then ask yourself, What about college? Yet bullying in colleges is far less compared to schools - this is no rocket science. Uniforms don't have a major impact on bullying. That bullying due to "economic reasons" did not make it to the list of the report I linked, Which, I shall take the liberty of announcing, Was authored by an eminent educator, Just reflects its relative obscurity amongst other reasons. Uniforms do nothing to promote the "equal image" that prevents bullying. In fact, The equality is reduced in most cases - to the eyes of a teacher, A student with a Head Boy badge appears "better" and more reliable than someone who's not elected. Isn't this a sort of dormant discrimination based on uniform?

You say that uniforms victimize poorer students, Leading to an economic sort of bullying. Uniforms don't promote unity then, Right? Uniforms must be done away with because of this - if a student can appear poorer or richer just from their uniform means that in reality, Uniforms discriminate. Making them compulsory only promotes, Not inhibits, Such forms of bullying.

My opponent has claimed that uniforms are cheaper - when parents don't need to buy an extra pair that their children CANNOT wear outside of school, Isn't it economically less viable than having them pay for uniforms. Instead, One's daily clothes can be a much cheaper option. Time - is it logical to think that choosing alone takes so much time, As to make uniforms more viable? The stereotype of the trendy girl/boy who wants to do everything fashionably must be dealt with here.

I appreciate the complements about my poem. On a side note, That got me the first place in a school-wide poetry competition. Certainly, The clothes someone wears impacts their image in general. I agree. Yet let me put it this way - does this confined image reflect anything of the person's true character? I revisit my point of self expression and freedom - a person best suits himself to the surroundings in the clothes he defines himself by. So for someone to express themselves and to have the freedom of choice is an invaluable benefit.

Regarding safety, The cases are scattered. Very rarely do in-school crimes occur, According to at least 3 statistics by a verifiable authority - in most cases, Crimes involving students take place outside of schools, Where the so-called uniform safety that we debated on takes place.

Freedom at recess was not the freedom I was referring to. I was talking about the basic freedom to choose what you wear, The freedom to convey the message you wish to express. In a society that's rapidly progressing till modernity, One must expect that students are familiar with basic freedoms. It becomes, As one commenter rightly predicted, A freedom vs equality debate. Freedom trumps equality. In fact, As I pointed out, If one can distinguish amongst students by their uniforms (are they ragged or ironed/white or dirty) reflects poor unity.

My points, So as to summarize -
Not having uniforms does away with any problems that arise out of them - strict punishments, Low grades, Etc.
The statistics show that students would much rather not have uniforms. In fact, There is no single piece of conclusive evidence showing that uniforms are beneficial in any way.
Uniforms convey a rich/poor divide - those with tattered, Unkempt uniforms are treated as relatively poor compared to those with clean, Neat uniforms. Hence, If anything, Uniforms disregard unity.
Uniforms are less economically viable - why must parents buy an extra pair of clothes that can only be worn at school, When a child's normal clothes can be used, Saving money.
There is no logic that choosing one's clothes takes time. Hence, Not having uniforms, Saves, Or takes as much time, As having compulsory uniform.
Freedom is promoted when students are allowed to express themselves. A uniform kills that expressive freedom. Hence above all else, One must see the aspect of liberty of choice of one's clothes, That is necessary as the society moves forward.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by greengoblin123 3 years ago
Hi all, Pro here.
For some of my argument, When I submitted it it looked different to when I reviewed it.
For example,
'survey conducted in Nevada found that 90% of students dislike wearing a uniform to school, But' became:
'survey conducted in Nevada found that 90% of students dislike wearing a uniform to school, But'.

The b in but was originally not capitalised, But it was after I submitted. This happened multiple times in my argument. Is this normal on this site?

Thanks. :)
Posted by greengoblin123 3 years ago
Hi all, Pro here. I have been feeling unwell for the past couple of days, Is it okay if both myself and my opponent 'skip' this round (to even out the amount of rounds we participate in), Then in Round 4 we both provide our final rebuttals/arguments?
Sorry for the inconvenience,
Posted by Thoht 3 years ago
Good R1 so far. Try to explain why freedom is important. What benefits does society receive from greater freedom, That we have to weigh against what Pro will hopefully argue for, Equality.
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