By Kim Rice
Private schools continue to maintain their preference for uniforms over individual dress. This may be due to evidence that school uniforms lead to a happier, healthier school environment where learning is students’ main priority.
Improved Academic Performance
Even the most casual school uniforms tend to look more modest and professional than the majority of clothes sold in major retail stores. Just as adults are inspired to put their best foot forward when they dress for work, students take cues from their school attire. Uniforms allow students to understand that school should be synonymous with enthusiasm and hard work. Crisper, cleaner clothes can also raise teachers’ expectations for students. When held to higher standards, students rise to meet them, leading to better academic outcomes overall.
Boosted School Spirit
School is a community culture, and it’s important that students are proud of the place where they spend most of their day. Enthusiasm for school increases a student’s chance of success, and belonging to a positive community of like-minded individuals can increase students’ feelings of self-worth. Shirts emblazoned with a school logo encourage school pride.
More Commitment to Discipline
Part of living a responsible life is learning to conduct oneself with discipline. Students are held accountable for wearing their uniforms in school. This can encourage them to act respectfully and appropriately for the environments in which they find themselves in other areas of life.
Uniforms also allow teachers to focus more on teaching and less on deciding if they should reprimand a student for a dress code violation. This way, discipline is purposeful and less distracting or embarrassing for students.
Bullying is an unfortunate side effect of living in an increasingly individualistic, complex and diverse world. Children and teens are often bullied about their social class, especially at a younger age when students are still gaining maturity and discovering who they are. Designer brands and well-worn clothing can both be a giveaway about a student’s financial situation. However, school uniforms eliminate many indicators of social class, making school a more welcoming place for students of all backgrounds and financial circumstances.
Increased Safety for Students
It is frightening to imagine an instance where a stranger infiltrates your child’s school to do harm. However, schools must be prepared to handle all safety concerns and issue the appropriate lockdown procedures during an emergency.
When everyone is dressed in uniform, it is much easier to spot potential intruders and address the situation right away. Quicker response time ensures better safety.
There is also evidence that a school uniform policy reduces gang-related violence, as students will be unable to use markers that indicate gang affiliation. Additionally, students will be prohibited from conveying inappropriate information through their clothes, such as depictions of weapons or acts of violence.
Saved Time and Money
Even though it may have been many years since you’ve had to worry about what to wear to school in the morning, it is easy to remember the time when everyone was dressing to impress. Middle schoolers and high schoolers may be especially eager to fit in with their peers. The decision about what to wear, from clothes to accessories to shoes, can easily consume an extra thirty minutes each morning. Uniforms eliminate these stressful decisions altogether. This ensures students can use this time for other tasks, like eating a well-rounded breakfast or spending time with family.
School uniforms can also save families money in the long run. Whereas it can be highly expensive to keep up with the latest fashion trends, it is simpler and more economical to purchase five outfits that can be recycled each school week.
Kim Rice is the director of communications & marketing at Fort Bend Christian Academy in Sugar Land, Texas.