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School Uniforms? 
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Post School Uniforms?
Hey guys! I'd like for your opinions here! I'm writing an essay about schools uniforms and whether or not these should be mandated in school for my ENG 112 class.

Some background info: At my school, our only dress code is that pants can't be sagging, stomachs and other obvious areas need to be covered, clothing sayings can't be vulgar, and bottoms need to at least reach the wearer's fingertips when the arms are fully extended down the sides. We can't wear hats either, obviously. We have hardly any violations in our dress code and we only have a handful of fights (but that's going to happen at every school). Maybe it's just because I'm from a small school, and that's where you guys come in.

Through my research, I've discovered that with being from a tiny, rural school, I honestly have no idea what it's like in an urban or large-scale setting, and that might create some fallacies or loopholes in my paper. This whole "school uniforms decrease violence, gang activity, substance abuse, and dating violence" theme I've found in my research doesn't seem like a very concrete fact to me. I've also heard that "school uniforms stop kids from wasting time/money with picking out clothes or shopping, and they stop poorer kids from being ostracized or bullied." From my experience and witnessing with bullying, kids can just find something else about a person to make fun of. Kids somehow always find out who lives in the good neighborhood, who has well-to-do parents, or who drives a nice car, or who are just "weird social outcasts with strange interests."

I could refute any of the points I've found in my research, but that's not why I'm posting here. My purpose is, if any of you have experience with school uniforms (particularly if you live in an urban setting or outside of America), I'd like to hear about your experience with it. Do you guys think uniforms are a needed thing, and why, or could kids wear other (reasonable) clothing to school without it being some huge issue? It just seems to me that the people who would violate a reasonable dress code enough to make everyone feel unsafe are the same people who are soon to be kicked out of the school anyway. You guys can either post here or PM me, and if I'm really interested in your response, I might even conduct an interview with you to use in my paper! It would be awesome to get the forums' feedback!

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Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:03 pm
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Post Re: School Uniforms?
I went to rural schools too. The only dress code was that clothes had to cover you (no mid-rifts, no pants hanging below your butt) and could not of a type that broke easily (ie spaghetti straps). Mostly pertaining to decency.

Personally, I think the idea of uniforms is horrible. They are children, not soldiers. That is not teaching them discipline. It is turning them into little drones.

Of course it was also a pretty conservative school too with "unofficial" standards of dress. Some teachers made kids turn their shirts inside out if they did not approve of the name of a band that was on it. Of course it stopped after stories of kids successfully suing the school over such things made national news. It happened to me once. I wanted them to suspend me so I could get some money out of it.

Leave school uniforms to the ROTC and the sports teams. Give children their choice like any person deserves.

I don't know if this helps but just throw some questions at me and we will see what sticks.

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Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:19 pm
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Post Re: School Uniforms?
I went to a middle school with a reputation for having a lot of "bad seeds" or however you want to put it and the kids didn’t get any better when uniforms became a thing. They were just more innocent looking hoodlums. I get the arguments for it but really uniforms just lead to a more homogeneous more aesthetically pleasing population. But the population isn't any better or worse for it at least in my opinion/experience. I was still weird chubby band kid, it's not like throwing everyone in a polo shirt made people forget that. I personally felt more ostracized. I couldn’t even wear outward signs of the whole "weird kids into heavy metal" sub-culture. That was a huge confidence boost for my middle school aged self. The fact that a bunch of us wore band-t-shirts and a bunch of black clothing was dorky as heck but we had our own thing to latch onto and identify each other by.

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Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:20 pm
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Post Re: School Uniforms?
While my school doesn't have uniforms, and I've never been to one that does, we do have a very similar dress code to yours. The only things I can think of in mine that you didn't bring up is that boys and girls must have their shoulders covered (In other words, no tank-tops), and girls can only wear tights if they have a skirt or something on over them that also falls within the dress code.

While I can't say anything about being in a school that has a uniform, I can say that my school has 1400+ kids in it (And growing by the year) and we have not experienced any more fighting or behavior problems than what you have described. In my 4 years, I can only remember about one fight a year, maybe two. And they were certainly not 1 VS 15 kids type things. They were two kids who got in an argument, and I'm pretty sure the arguments didn't have anything to do with clothes.

I can also offer that, as someone who was bullied a lot in middle school, school uniforms would not have stopped the bullies from picking on me. If you would like specific details of this, feel free to PM (Or Skype since I'm on that now) me. I don't mind.

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Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:20 pm
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Post Re: School Uniforms?
Just to give an alternative position....

School uniforms? Why not? There's so much conformity in the education system as we currently have it anyway, why not have it extend to clothing? It would at least be consistent, and honest. Anyway, people dress up for other occasions, and for work. Some flexibility is likely a good thing, but still....

I wonder, though, how one would have a "school uniform" for home-schooled children....

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Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:23 pm
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Post Re: School Uniforms?
Radio, Seth, and Jeff, you guys gave me the exact responses I was looking for-- confirmation that most of these studies saying uniforms are good being hogwash.

Chewy, my paper is in support of freedom of clothing choice. I've found plenty of pro-uniform research to help me develop my argument, so I've already played the devil's advocate myself, but I'm specifically looking for those with experience in school uniforms, especially those in urban and non-American countries, to refute my points. I want someone with years and years of experience with wearing a uniform to challenge me.

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Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:35 pm
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Post Re: School Uniforms?
Hmm... I'll air my opinions as someone outside of the US (Malaysia) and someone who had studied in schools set in the city.

On one hand, having a set dress code for schools helps to maintain a sense of uniformity among all the students, regardless of their respective economic status. Whether you're rich or poor, you still need to wear something similar, and this at least will prevent any sense of superiority or segregation among them in terms of appearance. Only when I started watching American cartoons and shows revolving around school kids did I know of terms like jocks, geeks, goths and the like, which still perplexes me at times. This also at least might reduce the number of bullying cases caused by difference in appearance (though bullying is still an issue here, which can even lead to death in extreme cases).

On the other hand, this dress code might also be the reason why extremely poor kids can't go to school sometimes. This is more prevalent in the past, where poverty is still very high among the Malaysian population. There are families so poor, that they can't even afford school uniforms and supplies for their children. Schools tend to be very uptight about appearance, and having someone not wearing the same thing is a big no-no, sadly. The government did provide some aids for these kids, with free uniforms and supplies in the late 80's (I think), so the problem is very rare now.

Also, set dress codes do not drastically decrease disciplinary problems among students. As I had mentioned, bullying is still very much an issue here, as well as other problems like truancy and drug abuse.

I think there's a lot more I can say, but words escape me at the moment, and it's been a while since I had expressed any opinions on a subject (despondency and conformity and whatnot).


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Post Re: School Uniforms?
I never had experience with school uniforms but one of the advantages I've read is that they keep poorer kids from being picked on for not being able to afford nice clothes.

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Post Re: School Uniforms?
I find them snazzy and felt disappointed my school never adopted them.

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Tue Apr 09, 2013 12:24 am
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Post Re: School Uniforms?
Where I live, the uniform code is:

Either a black red or white collored shirt(shirt must be tucked(wether this applies to males only or both genders depends on the school in the county))

Black or Baige(that light brown color) shorts or pants/skirts(Skirt must reach knees) (and for males, a belt must be worn at all times)

Either black, brown, white, or a non-distracting(i.e. nothig bright) shoe color.

No distracting hair color(THIS RULE IS NOT ENFORCED)

No jelewry on males allowed, for girls, studs only(AGAIN, YOU CAN WEARANY TYPE OF EARING!)

personally, I hate dress codes, but that's only because they tend to cost more than regular clothes.

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Tue Apr 09, 2013 4:09 am
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Post Re: School Uniforms?
i hate uniforms......had to spend the first ten years wearing them now i can finally wear some normal clothes.

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Tue Apr 09, 2013 8:05 am
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Post Re: School Uniforms?
kurowolfe wrote:
On one hand, having a set dress code for schools helps to maintain a sense of uniformity among all the students, regardless of their respective economic status. Whether you're rich or poor, you still need to wear something similar, and this at least will prevent any sense of superiority or segregation among them in terms of appearance.

I totally get those points, and I'm all in favor of reducing bullying. It just seems to me that kids are still going to be aware of who comes from a wealthy family or not, regardless of uniform. Kids have a tendency to find these things out, and as cruel as kids can be to one another, it's rare (and not tolerated by the other students) that a student gets bullied for being too poor to afford nice clothes. Now if the student is getting picked on because he/she isn't wearing a $100 pair of sneakers or jeans, I'd say that there is a larger, underlying issue there. I don't feel like, even in America, "land of the obsession with material possession" as the stereotype goes, that the majority of us has an obsession with expensive goods. The small amount of others, however, usually have some kind of self-worth or self-image problem, something that uniforms would just act as a band-aid for, until the kids get into the real world and it all crumbles around them.

As far as fostering school pride goes, speaking as a student from a school in small town America where we take massive pride in our students (and our football), there are other ways to create a sense of unity among students than making them wear a uniform. We all have our high school t-shirts, and our big thing is going to the football games on Friday nights, even if we hate sports, just so we can have a good time with our friends. My area is so small that there's nothing to do in the immediate area, socially-speaking. My school does a massive amount for our teenagers, so we feel like we have a sense of community and belonging. I have to say, it works. We might not all get along, but we are definitely a tightly-knit community. We're family. We all have our moments, but in the end we know where our home is.

kurowolfe wrote:
Only when I started watching American cartoons and shows revolving around school kids did I know of terms like jocks, geeks, goths and the like, which still perplexes me at times.

This is an interesting point to me, and I wonder if it's consistent with other areas outside of America. I know from my British friends that they still have social cliques like Americans do, but they use different terms. I won't mention the names of the cliques in fear that they may be extremely derogatory. Guys from outside of America and the United Kingdom, do you have "social cliques" like we've been talking about? Have uniforms eradicated all types of social labels in your country, or did it just open a door for a different way of labeling/grouping/stereotyping?

kurowolfe wrote:
On the other hand, this dress code might also be the reason why extremely poor kids can't go to school sometimes. This is more prevalent in the past, where poverty is still very high among the Malaysian population. There are families so poor, that they can't even afford school uniforms and supplies for their children. Schools tend to be very uptight about appearance, and having someone not wearing the same thing is a big no-no, sadly. The government did provide some aids for these kids, with free uniforms and supplies in the late 80's (I think), so the problem is very rare now.


I, what, I can't even- Even if it's a very rare problem, and I'm sure it's probably less than 1% with how the community will help out, just the fact that there's a handful of kids out there who can't go to school because they can't afford a school uniform, I just, I can't even-

I'm sure we've most likely had situations like that here in America, but with how there's a law requiring kids be in school until the age of at least 16, and I'm sure most countries have laws similar to it, just, raaaaugh, I can't even think of what I'm trying to say here.

kurowolfe wrote:
Also, set dress codes do not drastically decrease disciplinary problems among students. As I had mentioned, bullying is still very much an issue here, as well as other problems like truancy and drug abuse.

*writes that down*

Seriously, kuro, thank you for the information! Your opinion and knowledge is greatly appreciated and it's helping me a lot with the formation of my essay. I really do respect your opinion, and I wasn't trying to make your school system sound faulty. I'm just thinking aloud with refutes for my own essay when I have to challenge some formal sources.

Anyone else with any experience you can tell me about?

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Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:56 am
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Post Re: School Uniforms?
School uniform is compulsory here. I've worn it throughout primary and secondary school.

My school uniform consists of:
  • A black v-neck jumper with our school's logo on it
  • A polo shirt with the school's logo on it(If your in the junior years(S1 to S4)
  • A plain white shirt(If your senior(S5 to S6)
  • A plain green tie with the school logo on it(If your senior, however this is optional)
  • Black or grey trousers or skirt
  • Black shoes

While you can't tell, who's poor or not, you can get bullied for other reasons. For example, from about 7 till I was about 13, I was bullied for my short height and squeamishness, which I couldn't care less about now, but I've seen others being bullied for other reasons too.

However, It's not all bad though. They at least keep you warm during our winters. Also, on the last day of each term there's a no uniform day where we get to wear what we want if we pay £2(Which goes to our school's focus charity of the year, or the senior prom when that's close). It's usually themed so everybody wears wacky costumes and all that, or you can do what I do and just wear casual clothes. xD

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Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:49 am
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Post Re: School Uniforms?
School uniforms are the best thing ever.

Just gonna say, I had to wear uniform in Primary and Secondary school (until about age 15). We did have an option to bring our own trainers in
during PE though. One kid had a good pair of trainers, one of my friends wasn't able to buy a good pair due to coming from a poor family. He was arguably bullied because of that (it doesn't help how he was wearing fakes, admittedly...but, well, wanting to fit in isn't a terrible thing). I can only assume the same thing would happen but worse if we didn't have a set school uniform.

Kids are downright evil. If you're different to the majority, somebody is likely to pick on you at some point in your life. I don't see any good reason to allow open dress code simply since I don't see a reason to give kids more ammo to use on the poorer kids.


Also, I think my school would sell uniforms for less for those poorer families. I'm not 100% sure on that though, sorry.

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Tue Apr 09, 2013 1:05 pm
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Post Re: School Uniforms?
I actually would not contest that uniforms would make children overall feel better about school. Why? Because they're an element that creates cohesion. Similarities between you and the people around you are what reinforce your sense of belonging.

On the other hand, attempting to force conformity is one of the major current problems with the education system. It is easier to deal with but in the long run actually attaining conformity (an act which actually requires making people of a community WANT to conform) causes stagnation issues. Things work well, therefore why change (even in the face of upcoming problems which require change, people who fall into comfort zones based on tradition and a sense of belonging will fare poorly).

So, pros: enhances the sense of cohesion among students. Cons: An institution which fares well in cohesiveness is often unwilling to change its poorer practices, which end up getting perpetuated and exacerbated.

The con is actually offset from the pro in this case--because often the leadership of an institution is unwilling to change its poorer practices no matter what the cohesion among the lower-ranked members is--because there's more cohesion among the upper ranks (they all have to wear business casual at the very least, and usually wear business, and actually attend meetings and make decisions together). If a school enacts a uniform policy, I would hope that its due to a good school board recognizing that it might help matters of divisive students (in which case, it might be unnecessary) rather than a bad school board assuming that uniforms will somehow fix problems that lie in other, worse issues they themselves perpetuate.

Oh, and I went to high school and half of college in north carolina too. The leadership for the high school was awful, though I would not want their job given how unnaturally difficult it must be to get rural hicks and sheltered city kids to work together.

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Tue Apr 09, 2013 1:34 pm
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Post Re: School Uniforms?
I would disagree with the line of thinking that justifies uniforms on the basis of cohesion and some naive notion that they prevent bullying. It's a false cohesion based on someone telling you "Hey you're all equal stop being mean to each other." That doesn't work at all. Cliques still abounded in my middle school. Poor kids were still made fun of (and if they weren't easy to identify as poor it's not hard to find a reason to bully someone socio-economic standing is not the only reason people are bullied it could literally be anything) I would go as far as to say less cohesion would actually benefit kids in the sense that they're allowed to craft an identity and that allows them to find a comfort zone with other kids that have similar interests. I made a lot of friends simply because we could both tell that we liked the same music based on how we dressed.

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Tue Apr 09, 2013 2:51 pm
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Post Re: School Uniforms?
@Aaron- There are definitely some kids who just completely suck. I'm really glad that there's only a few bad apples in every school.


*falls out of chair*
The Almighty Rick just gave his opinion on one of my threads. I kind of went into shock there for a little bit. :lol:
@Rick, I like the word "cohesion" and I'll probably use it in my paper.
Also, you went to school in North Carolina?! Do you mind PMing me and telling me the area/college?

rickgriffin wrote:
The leadership for the high school was awful, though I would not want their job given how unnaturally difficult it must be to get rural hicks and sheltered city kids to work together.

How is North Carolina any worse than Alabama? :P We're probably one of the least "redneck" states in the south.

@Seth, I had a long train of thought (read: what will probably be a huge portion of my paper) that was a tangent based on what you just said. For now, though, I'm listening and watching the output here.

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Tue Apr 09, 2013 6:06 pm
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Post Re: School Uniforms?
Beagle wrote:
How is North Carolina any worse than Alabama? :P We're probably one of the least "redneck" states in the south.

It is less redneck, but Alabama doesn't have nearly as severe a culture clash, even around the more "liberal" huntsville area

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Tue Apr 09, 2013 8:03 pm
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Post Re: School Uniforms?
rick im sorry but you have never been to a Houston school have you?

uniforms do nothing.......nothing in applying a sense of belonging....i really does not help if you are the only one of your ethnicity inside that school

check list time!!!!!

1) upon entering bus there are at least 2 adults monitoring you.
2) upon entering the school you must take off back pack.
3) put back pack on table to be looked thru.
4) subject self to a pat down.
5) go thru metal detector.
6) pick up bag.
7) note the armed police inside the school (at least eight.)
8) we get surprise wandings in class!
9) note how we cannot use any of the hundreds of lockers inside school.
10) note the k9 unit.
11) wow.....another metal detector walk thru.
12) note the fights inside the restrooms.
13) note the fights every period change.
14) note the fights in gym.
15) there are no less than twenty major fights at school per day.
16) (nice list huh) uniform, can still be used as gang colors....
17) cameras at every corner.
18) the food fights...
19) getting pelted with fruit is NOT fun!
20) go home to start all over again......


sooooooo any questions?

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Tue Apr 09, 2013 8:53 pm
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Post Re: School Uniforms?
I didn't say that they MADE students cohesive, I said they were an ELEMENT of it.

Given what your school sounds like, uniforms would be like putting a band-aid on a cannonball wound.

At the elementary school where I grew up in Missouri, there were exactly three black kids in the entire school. And . . . they were fine. Everyone went way out of their way to make sure they were treated nice. One of them even said that he generally felt awkward, like people were (honestly) treating him like he was handicapped or something.

Kids were still mean often, but the entire school was largely rural and rural-suburb with an average of a lower-middle income, as the only nearby big city was Platte, (Big as in it had more than one grocery store) after which you had to go to Kansas City or Independence. There wasn't a lot of variation in the school as it was. Culture plays a larger role in peace at schooltime than the presence or absence of uniforms do.

Middle school, which I had in a semi-large suburb of St. Louis, was an ENTIRELY different story

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Post Re: School Uniforms?
I will admit, having school uniforms where I came from didn't make me feel like I belonged, but it did make me feel like anybody wearing a different school uniform was a rival to me.

But I disagree completely with anybody who thinks school uniform wouldn't decrease the likelihood of poorer kids getting picked on more. Admittedly, it's a single point, but preventing bullying is one of the things schools need to do. In my opinion, if stopping a fair amount of kids being bullied requires school uniform, have everyone wear school uniform. What's a lot of kids being ticked off as opposed to a fair amount of kids hating school?

In any case, I looked at problems of uniform in an ethics class a bit ago. I'll try to find the video and send it to you Beagle. In any case, somebody in uniform is more likely to follow evil commands than those who aren't in uniform (at least in times of war and conflict). The video was focused on the problem of evil, but if adults were more likely to follow evil commands I don't see why kids wouldn't be more likely to follow commands in general. You could see this as a bad thing or a good thing, but I doubt teachers will order the execution of innocents.

(And sorry in advanced, no new points here, just my opinions on them all :P )

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Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:34 am
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Post Re: School Uniforms?
With exception of some of those security precautions, my middle school was a lot like that. It was the closest I have ever come to being in an actual prison. Fights, stabbings, theft, the whole things. We didn't have cameras and metal detectors because the school could not afford it.

rickgriffin wrote:
Beagle wrote:
How is North Carolina any worse than Alabama? :P We're probably one of the least "redneck" states in the south.

It is less redneck, but Alabama doesn't have nearly as severe a culture clash, even around the more "liberal" huntsville area


I disagree. You have never been to Wilkes county or Shelby or any of the other areas dangerously close to Tennessee.

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Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:38 am
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Post Re: School Uniforms?
I did not realize how close to me Rick went to middle school. What suburb?

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Post Re: School Uniforms?
You were actually best friends. Surprise!

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Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:27 pm
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We probably would have recognized each other when we met at MFF.

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Post Re: School Uniforms?
Most schools in Australia have a school uniform, including where I went. Whether or not the students wore it properly was a whole other matter. The teachers were quite strict about it (they'd measure the girls' dresses and skirts for length and give you paper pickup duty if your shirt was untucked) but as soon as they were gone most of the students went sloppy again.
I don't think uniforms are a bad thing - as Rick said they can create a sense of belonging, unity and cohesion as well as reducing apparent culture/class differences.
That said, I don't see any problem with people wearing what they want either. As long as there are no obscene or offensive logos and it doesn't look trashy or untidy I think it's fine. Students could probably concentrate better in whatever they're comfortable in than in an uncomfortable uniform.

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Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:01 am
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Post Re: School Uniforms?
In the last three schools that I have been in, there were school uniforms. They were the schools where I was the most miserable in, absolutely no chance of expression and only a constant reminder that no matter how hard you try, you'll be the same as everyone else. That's how I perceived it.

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Wed Apr 17, 2013 11:56 am
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Post Re: School Uniforms?
lasthunter wrote:
rick im sorry but you have never been to a Houston school have you?

uniforms do nothing.......nothing in applying a sense of belonging....i really does not help if you are the only one of your ethnicity inside that school

check list time!!!!!

1) upon entering bus there are at least 2 adults monitoring you.
2) upon entering the school you must take off back pack.
3) put back pack on table to be looked thru.
4) subject self to a pat down.
5) go thru metal detector.
6) pick up bag.
7) note the armed police inside the school (at least eight.)
8) we get surprise wandings in class!
9) note how we cannot use any of the hundreds of lockers inside school.
10) note the k9 unit.
11) wow.....another metal detector walk thru.
12) note the fights inside the restrooms.
13) note the fights every period change.
14) note the fights in gym.
15) there are no less than twenty major fights at school per day.
16) (nice list huh) uniform, can still be used as gang colors....
17) cameras at every corner.
18) the food fights...
19) getting pelted with fruit is NOT fun!
20) go home to start all over again......


sooooooo any questions?


Either your school is rediculously racist, or they took Sandy Hook WAY outta proportion (Strike me down now if the mentioning is an issue) Really sounds like you should HEAD FOR THE HILLS! Of course maybe you should really try to explain to the school that if they wanted to stop fights, they'd have to stuff cameras in every toilet of EVERY STALL which would violate alot of amendments, not that your school doesnt do that already.

I apologize for the medium sized block of text right there but honestly this checklist seriously bugs me and it sounds like your school is rather horrible, and more apologies if you actually LIKE that school, god forbid if you do.

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Wed May 01, 2013 3:54 pm
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Post Re: School Uniforms?
Sorry I kinda let this thread go for a while, guys. I received the grade for my paper on May 3rd... I made a 100! Thanks to all for your input, and a Mod can close this thread now.

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Mon May 13, 2013 9:20 am
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Post Re: School Uniforms?
Congrats!

And roger roger.

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