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Should kids be required to wear school uniforms?

NEWS FACT At many public schools across the country, kids started the fall semester with a new look--uniforms. Uniforms have long been required in private and parochial [church-related] schools. For public schools, though, this is a recent and growing trend.

School officials give several different reasons for requiring uniforms. Most say that a uniform dress code helps students concentrate on academics instead of fashion. Others believe that uniforms lead to less violence, because there are fewer conflicts over gang colors and status symbols.

Paul Ruiz, a principal at Frye Elementary School in Chandler, Arizona, was against uniforms until he talked with other principals. "All said the same thing," Ruiz told The Arizona Republic. "They said it has an impact on keeping kids focused and reducing distractions." Uniforms make security easier too, he said. "When all the students look the same, you can identify people who shouldn't be [on school grounds]."

What Do You Think?

Should kids be required to wear school uniforms?


"There is absolutely no doubt that uniforms result in better discipline, academics, and values," says Tom Home, superintendent of public instruction in Arizona.

Cheryl Thomas is an assistant principal at Meridian High School in Meridian, Mississippi, which recently approved a uniforms policy. "We expect it to equalize things," she says. Uniforms will mean "less attention on clothes and social status versus what we're here for--and that is to learn."

Colby Lynch, a sophomore at Meridian, agrees. "It's going to be better," she says, "because nobody can say, '1 have more money than him or her, because I dress better.'"

Uniforms can also make parents' lives easier. "It will be good for parents to save money on clothes," says the mother of a Hartford, Connecticut, student. "It will be great!"


Clothing is a big part of a teen's search for his or her own identity. Hayley Grant, 14, attends Edith J. Hayes Middle School in Lexington, Kentucky. Requiring uniforms, she sags, "doesn't allow you to express your uniqueness and individuality."

There is no proof that a uniforms policy improves academic performance or reduces gang violence. A 2001 study by the Educational Testing Service found little difference in the amount of misbehavior in schools that require uniforms and schools that do not. So why should kids who dress properly "be punished for kids who wear their pants [so that] their underwear shows?" asks a parent in Philadelphia, Mississippi.

Adds Jordan Bramblett, 13, a student at Georgetown Middle School in Georgetown, Kentucky: "We aren't hurting anybody as long as our clothes are appropriate."

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Title Annotation:Debate
Publication:Junior Scholastic
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 4, 2006
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Next Article:Hurricane Katrina one year later: for many kids in New Orleans, the storm is not over.

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