Opinion: School uniforms absolve conflicts that non uniform schools have

Ellie Vasbinder, Assisstant Print Editor in Chief

They stifle kids’ individuality. They’re ugly. They’re too expensive. Uniforms are often seen as something that stops students from expressing themselves, or just bothersome because they aren’t exactly “trendy”. However, schools that require uniforms have several benefits that non-uniform schools do not.

A strict dress code mandates everyone to wear essentially the same outfit, which reduces the pressure on students to wear a certain fashion trend, or purchase specific clothing brands that may not be affordable. Uniforms create an environment where no one has to feel ostracized because they cannot afford top brands, which in turn breaks the barriers that poverty and wealth naturally create. Research by the Schoolwear Association found that 83 percent of teachers thought “a good school uniform could prevent bullying based on appearance or economic background.” With that being said, students can build genuine relationships with their peers instead of making friends based on popularity.

If anyone is thinking it’s redundant to buy school uniforms to combat socioeconomic differences, a 2013 survey from the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) found that approximately 77 percent of respondents spent $150 or less per child, per year, on school uniforms. On the other hand, the National Retail Federation found that during the same year, parents spent close to $231 per child on back-to-school clothing. 

In addition to this, uniforms would take students less time to get ready in the morning. Instead of worrying about what they will wear to school, their outfit is already there for them when they wake up. Ninety-four percent of parents surveyed that school uniforms eliminate wardrobe battles with their younger kids, according to the NAESP. From the same survey, 93 percent said it saved time.

Lastly, uniforms promote safety. Because there is an etiquette to the way students are dressed, intruders can be spotted quickly if they are not dressed in uniform. This speeds up reaction time when taking lockdown.

Uniforms can stop kids from feeling left out, are cheaper than back-to-school clothing, save time for parents and students alike and promote safety against intruders. The idea that uniforms stop individuality may seem important on the surface, but in the long run the pros of uniforms outweigh the cons.