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  • K-12 Clothing

The Pros and Cons of School Uniforms

Updated: May 23, 2022

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For children across the globe, the start of the academic year is marked by the almost ritualistic back-to-school shopping trip. But what clothing children should buy, and wear to school, brings a lot of debate. In some places, school uniforms have become a trademark of the education system, and in others, children can wear what they choose. In this article, we will give you a high-level overview of the pros and cons of each.

There is plenty of debate about whether or not school uniforms should be required in all schools. On the side against uniforms, people point to the cost. According to a 2013 survey from the National Association of Elementary School Principals, 77 percent of respondents estimated the average cost of school uniforms per child, per year, was $150 or less. According to the National Retail Federation, in 2013 parents spent up to $231 per child on back-to-school shopping. Since 2016, that number has continued to increase. Non-uniform back-to-school clothing purchases are expected to be as high as $235 per child. Shoes add about $130 additional dollars.

Another argument against uniforms is that school uniforms actually pose a risk for children as it makes them more noticeable. Since uniforms are an indication of childhood vulnerability and innocence, the garments could act as harbingers of danger in terms of bullying and assault.

Finally, those against uniforms argue that they stifle individuality and creativity by pushing forth a narrative of oneness. Many say that this restricts students from fully unleashing their creative personalities.

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On the other side of the debate are those who support uniforms and they start by turning one of the "cons" on its head. They say that the stifling of creativity and individuality is actually a positive. It gives students a feeling of unity and togetherness that helps build healthy relationships and an attitude of teamwork.

Similarly, the second argument is about sameness: uniforms promote equality among all students. By directing all children to wear the same pieces of clothing, uniforms eliminate the chance of bullying based on one’s clothes. In some cases, uniforms even help dispel differences in social and economic standing, effectively building an inclusive environment for all.

Finally, one of the biggest advantages that school uniforms hold is their ability to allow children to focus their attention on their education instead of their clothes. If all students in a classroom are dressed the same, children are less likely to worry about their appearance and unlikely to discuss the appearance of others. They can then put their attention towards working hard and achieving stellar results at school, something that will greatly benefit them in the long run.

So, it then comes down to the question, of whether or not uniforms are the right choice for your school, be sure to explore the pros and cons listed above. As a uniform provider, we are always looking to hear from our community. If you have other pros and cons, please share below or by reaching out to us directly.

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