Latest update: December 26th, 2013
Sarah opened her bloodshot eyes, exhausted. She looked at the time. It was 8:45! Suddenly, Sarah flew out of her bed, which caused her to bang her foot. She raced to the bathroom (limping). She washed her face and quickly skipped to her room. She looked on top of her dresser for that day’s clothes, but they weren’t there! Sarah rummaged for her clothes all over her room, but to her “luck,” her outfit was nowhere to be found. All of a sudden Sarah remembered that she had forgotten to select her outfit the previous night.
If only Sarah had a uniform! Wouldn’t her life and the lives of other students be so much easier? Most teens believe that their school administrators enjoy bothering them by forcing them to wear odd-looking shirts and skirts. If they only knew how uniforms help students interact with each other without the fear of not fitting in, they would adore the whole idea. I strongly believe that all students should wear uniforms.
In 1996, President Bill Clinton encouraged uniforms, saying it was essential to an education program. If schools had uniforms, it would be easier to spot a lost child when outside of school grounds. Uniforms would decrease the chances of students getting beaten up for their designer-made cardigans, etc.
At a school in Long Beach, California, after one year with uniforms, school crime decreased by 36%, fights decreased by 51%, weapons offenses decreased by 50%, and vandalism decreased by 18%.
Every child wants to “fit in,” and not be the “uncool kid.” This is why teenagers steal, from a high-end store or a schoolmate. Some kids even get bullied for their appearance. So they just make believe they are too sick and not have to suffer what they call “torture.” With the implementation of school uniforms, teens don’t spend hours trying to figure out what to wear or not to wear to school. Uniforms allow students to properly focus on academics and less on what “the crowd is wearing.”
Many families worry about not having enough money for their children’s uniforms. As children can be denied an education because of their family’s economic struggles, all schools requiring uniforms must include provisions to assist less wealthy families.
A less well-known theory concerning the pros of school uniforms is the “halo effect.” According to researcher Mark Posner, the “halo effect” refers to the idea that while uniforms may not change student behavior, the uniforms may change the way teachers and other adults perceive the students who wear them. Researchers discovered that uniform-wearing students not only behave better, they also do better academically than those who don’t wear uniforms.
Uniforms are not the answer to all problems, but in all public schools where uniforms were required, attendance and test scores increased, while violence of all kinds decreased. Most importantly, students gained confidence and self-esteem and felt “better than ever before.” The power of all these benefits is in your hands. You might be thinking, “Me, I’m just one little student out of hundreds. I can’t change anything. Who and why would someone listen to me?” Don’t be so pessimistic. Talk to your PTA and school board representatives. Show them this essay and all the other information out there. Start a campaign to make uniforms part of your education. You never know what your actions might (and will) lead to.
About the Author: Leah Hatanian is a 10th grader at Masores Bais Yaakov in Brooklyn.
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