The History of School Uniforms in the United States Essay

The History of School Uniforms in the United States Essay

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The history of school uniforms in the United States public schools begins with small underprivileged school of Cherry Hill Elementary in Maryland and the domino effect that happened soon after in the years after. The popularity of school uniforms can greatly be credited to the Long Beach, California study and President Bill Clinton’s speech on the topic. At first, school uniforms were only for the private or Catholic private schools however the school uniform trend spread to other public schools to adopt the “preppy look” and success. This has now set new standard for the United States school system. A brief history of school uniforms will give a significant insight on the growing development that is transforming American schools.
In the fall of 1987, Cherry Hill Elementary of Baltimore, Maryland was the first school to instate a uniform policy. Cherry Hill was predominantly an African American school with lower to middle class families. Since they were the first they now call it the “School Uniform Project” as uniforms began to expand to schools across the nation. According to David Brunsma in The School Uniform Movement and What it Tells Us about American Education, this uniform policy was implemented after a student of the Baltimore elementary school was shot and wounded over “a ninety five dollar pair of sunglasses” (p. 16). This incident gave the school officials even more of a push to implement the policy in order to restore togetherness and order into the school system. According to the a Baltimore newspaper, The Sun, one parent said, "What we are trying to do is bring this school together as a family. Anyone who cannot afford a uniform should come to us and we'll work something out." With the support of school officials an...


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...percent, and Chicago with eighty percent. Overall states twenty-three percent of public and private schools have adopted a uniform policy. And lastly an average annual school uniforms sales amounts to $1,300,000,000.
Mark Twain once said, “Clothes make the man”. This quote applies to the issue on school uniforms. Are they making the students of America’s public schools more responsible and orderly? The statistics seem to say yes. There is no doubt that schools across the nation are seeing the improvements are adopting the policy themselves. The benefits of school uniforms include decreasing violence, helping students reduce peer pressure, greater concentration on schoolwork, and school officials are able to recognize intruders. What a student wears may sound trivial however it is worth the investigation because it is changing the American public education system.



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