Some schools have a policy stating that students must wear uniforms to class. Normally associated with private schools, uniforms have become more common in public schools, too. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, uniforms are required at about 22% of U.S. public schools.
Many schools say uniforms make it easier for students to focus in class, and that uniforms promote inclusion. But some students think uniforms are uncomfortable, and that kids should have the freedom to express their personality through their clothing.
Are uniform policies the best way to keep kids focused on learning? Or should students be allowed to wear what they want?
TIME for Kids asked readers to weigh in. Here, two of them share their opinion about whether or not students should be required to wear uniforms at school.
COURTESY SUNNY PARK
by Yuna Chong, 9
Santa Clara, California
Uniforms are as much about safety as they are about inclusion. Teachers don’t have to worry about losing sight of students at the playground or on a field trip. Also, when kids wear uniforms, both the older and younger students feel like they are part of the same group. I wear a uniform and feel like my school is one big team. I feel included.
I think it is harder to bully someone about his or her clothes if you are all wearing the same thing. When everyone is dressed the same, you don’t have to worry about how you look or about wearing the latest trend. Parents can save money, as well! And in the morning, I can save time because I don’t have to choose what kind of clothes I should wear.
COURTESY GABRIELLE PENROSE
by Emerson Sperling, 12
Sterling Heights, Michigan
I don’t think kids should have to wear a uniform. If students are wearing the exact same thing, they can’t express themselves. Kids should feel like they can be their own person. They shouldn’t have to match. During school hours, we should also be comfortable.
If we’re in scratchy shirts and uncomfortable dress pants, we’re not going to focus very well. I get that the teachers don’t want us focusing on everyone else’s clothing, but it’s still uncomfortable to be in a uniform all day. Also, parents have to go shopping and spend a lot of money on the uniforms.
If students could wear normal clothes, we’d be able to express ourselves, be comfortable, and not spend money on outfits that we never wear at home.
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