In 1993, Will Rogers Middle School in California’s Long Beach County School District began discussing the idea of a school-wide uniform policy. That fall, Will Rogers became the first school in Long Beach County to have a mandatory uniform policy. Other schools in the district soon followed drawing national attention, including a personal visit from then President Clinton. Recent memories of school shootings around the nation caused President Clinton to urge other school districts to move to uniforms in his 1996 State of the Union Address. This started a seemingly endless debate over school uniforms in public schools. In order to be legal, every uniform policy has to have an option to not participate. Students that “opt-out” attend other schools that do not have uniform policies.
Most Republicans and the more moderate Democrats are in favor of uniforms while the more liberal Democrats oppose them. People in favor of uniforms support them for several reasons cited in a US Government manual on school uniforms:
• decrease in violence and theft—even life threatening situations—among students over designer clothing or expensive sneakers,
• prevention of gang members wearing gang colors and insignias at school,
• instilling students with discipline,
• helping parents and students resist peer pressure to buy expensive clothing,
• helping students concentrate on their school work, and helping school officials to recognize intruders who come to the school. (“Manual” par. 2)
People against uniforms oppose them for several reasons: uniforms violate the first amendment right to freedom of expression, the claims of the supporters are not true, and problems in the schools are much bigger than a little ans...
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...lace, I think a big part of the improvement in statistics was due to the implementation of uniforms. While a strict dress code, or uniforms, would probably improve the statistics, it is not the best option.
I think the best option is a mandatory identification badge. Students would be required to wear a visible photo I.D. at all times when on campus. One school I visited had badges worn on a necklace. This policy has a few of the benefits of uniforms, like intruders being easily recognizable, but it does not impose on the student. This is a very realistic option. A great deal of employers require their employees to wear name badges while they are on the job (Nurses, Factory workers, etc.). Most employers do not specify a uniform to be worn. Uniforms are not the one-word answer to today’s problems, but uniforms and/or ID badges could be used as part of the solution
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