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Should Students Have to Wear School Uniforms?

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French Toast Official School Wear, a school uniform supplier, stated in its article titled "Why School Uniforms?," available at FrenchToast.com (accessed Aug. 29, 2014):

"It's time to eliminate from schools the status and respect many students give to clothing labels and price tags. Student attention needs to return to learning in the classroom, rather than how they look when they are in that classroom. Mandated uniforms can serve to shift the emphasis from competition back to academic performance and personal achievement...

Uniforms create a feeling of oneness and belonging. Everyone can be on the same team. As on athletic teams, uniforms are worn for immediate identification and to inspire a feeling of 'oneness.' Put on your team uniform and you suddenly belong. A sense of loyalty emerges from inside, as does an extra effort to perform at the student's best...

Uniforms add measures of safety in identical dress. Gang identification is obscured. Group violence and theft are dissipated... Children are no longer identified by their 'colors.' Uniform dress alleviated the feelings of imminent danger for students who were afraid they might inadvertently dress in gang colors...

Uniforms also raise students' expectations of themselves. When dressed neatly and seriously, students tend to behave seriously. Often teachers find calmer, more polite, more attentive students. Students seem to feel more confident in the way they look, and so they have more confidence in themselves..."

Bill Clinton, JD, 42nd President of the United States, stated in his Feb. 24, 1996 radio address, available at the American Presidency Project website:

"I believe we should give strong support to school districts that decide to require young students to wear school uniforms. We've all seen the tragic headlines screaming of the death of a teenager who was killed for a pair of sneakers or jewelry or a designer jacket. In Detroit, a 15-year-old boy was shot for his $86 basketball shoes. In Fort Lauderdale, a 15-year-old student was robbed of his jewelry. Just this past December in Oxon Hill, Maryland, a 17-year-old honor student was killed at a bus stop, caught in the crossfire during the robbery of another student's designer jacket.

School uniforms are one step that may be able to help break this cycle of violence, truancy, and disorder by helping young students to understand that what really counts is what kind of people they are, what's on the inside, to remember that what they're doing at school is working, not showing off their own clothes or envying another student's clothes...

If it means teenagers will stop killing each other over designer jackets, then our public schools should be able to require their students to wear school uniforms. If it means that the schoolrooms will be more orderly, more disciplined, and that our young people will learn to evaluate themselves by what they are on the inside instead of what they're wearing on the outside, then our public schools should be able to require their students to wear school uniforms."