Essay on Freedom Of Expression : School Uniforms

Essay on Freedom Of Expression : School Uniforms

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School uniforms as they are used today violate the core principles of our constitution. The first amendment guarantees the right to freedom of expression. “Among the basic rights is the right to hold and to have the exclusive use of personal property. One ground of this right is to allow a sufficient material basis for personal independence and a sense of self-respect, both of which are essential for the adequate development and exercise of the moral powers. Having this right and being able effectively to exercise it is one of the social bases of self-respect” (Rawls, 2001, p.114). School uniforms limit the exclusive use of one’s personal property therefore, limiting their sense of self-respect.
When students do not conform to uniform policies, they face consequences, and this chips away at their sense of self. “Having the social bases of self-respect and non-humiliation; being able to be treated as a dignified being whose worth is equal to that of others. This entails provisions of nondiscrimination on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, caste, religion, national origin.” (Nussbaum, 2006, p.77) If students receive consequences for being themselves they lose a sense of who they are. They learn that a piece of who they are or wish to be is unacceptable to others in society. The long-term effect of doing this to a specific group of people over an extended period of time will result in a deeply segregated society. “Its causes are embedded in unquestioned norms, habits, and symbols, in the assumptions underlying institutional rules and collective consequences of following those rules” (Young, 1990, p.41). Schools are institutions and should not have the power to shape the least advantaged sen...

... middle of paper ... without the pressure of staying within the lines defined by a white dominant culture. They should have the luxury to make a mess out of what is considered fashionable and be complemented for their originality. The current rationale for school uniforms is not enough to strip children of their individuality. Certainly one can understand that sameness is promoted in the spirit of eliminating judgment; however, when it is not carried out equally it is an absolute violation of justice. To place a policy on how a poor group of children dress because of a perceived cultural difference, or fear of potential violence has paramount unintended consequences. It opens the door for low-income students to internalize an inferior place in society, understand that they are unqualified for certain freedoms, and therefore, need to assimilate to a culture other than their own.

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