School Uniforms Essay, Research Paper
Cliques are an obvious part of every school across the nation. Whether the words, jock, preppie, skater, or goodie-goodie, are brought to mind, almost everyone thinks of their high school and how distinguished the groups were back then. Most schools probably did not have many noticeable effects from the different cliques there, but some schools show it more than others do. Cliques are a major problem for some junior and high schools across the nation, because of all the fighting and discriminating that goes on between them. Even though we are past that stage in our lives, cliques will always be around. When RELATED TO AUD* Cliques are a common problem in junior high and senior high schools today. I am going to inform you of the problem of cliques in schools today, the solution of school uniforms, and how to implement that solution in schools.
Many schools, most commonly located in smaller, rural areas, have no problem with their students and the cliques they form. This is because there are not as many kids and they are more likely to be friends with each other. But, in the larger populated, more diverse schools, this is not always the case. Some groups of friends in school get so caught up in themselves, they think they are better than others are and that is when the fights start. The most obvious example of this scenario was the Columbine situation. The two juniors in high school felt so much anger towards their fellow classmates, who picked on them every single day of high school, that they lashed out and shot twelve of them. Even though this situation was a terrible tragedy, it brought to the attention of school officials everywhere that cliques and discrimination was truly an important issue in schools today. In junior high and high school, the pressures to be like everyone else are huge. Brand names and designer clothes have an immense impact on how a child is accepted in school. What style is ?in? or what is ?out? is a major concern for young people growing up in a public school today. These are the factors that end up influencing what cliques and groups of friends most junior high and high school kids form. These teenagers forget about getting to know people and liking them for their personalities because everyone gets so wrapped up in looks. This is not the case in every school, but the numbers are growing for how important clothes and other material items are to adolescents in society today. This love for material things also increases the amount of stealing that goes on in schools. People taking expensive coats, shoes, and other items, from others, is a real problem. This leads to some cliques hating other cliques, which can end in with serious problems. Vandalism, physical fights, and even just evil stares, are all things that can occur when young students get truly upset at other cliques. All these things have a negative effect on the kids? learning environment as well as their emotions.
Another factor influencing these distinct groups is economic status. Children who grow up in low-income families suffer throughout their school years by being teased, laughed at, and ridiculed by their peers. These insecurities can effect the child for life. They can grow up having no friends and being told that they are no good, only because they can not afford nice clothes. This problem simply should not happen.
There are many things that could be done about this problem with cliques in schools. No one solution will work completely, but with the help of several, schools can become a much safer and non-discriminative. Developing a school uniform policy could help solve this problem before it even can start. Many public schools have begun enforcing a program in which all their students are required to wear a uniform of some sort. If children wear a uniform, they will never have a chance to pre-judge other children. When they see each other at school, they will be wearing the same clothes, so no one will be able to distinguish the other?s background or personality from simply looking at them. Certain things still may be obvious, such as shoes, accessories, or hairstyles, but much of the discrimination will be cut out. Seventy-five percent of schools with uniform policies noted an obvious reduction in peer pressure after the uniforms were enforced (NAESP survey).
Students who wear uniforms are safer than those who wear regular clothes are. Robbing other kids, or beating them up, simply to take their expensive clothes, is no longer an issue. Also, if intruders are entering the school, they are easily spotted without a uniform on. A school in Long Beach, California, implemented a uniform policy in 1994. Three years later, their school crime rate had fallen by seventy-six percent.
For the low-income families with children in schools, the uniform policy ensures them just as equal of an opportunity to be educated. These poorer kids will have a higher self-confidence, since they are dressed like everyone else in their class. This will possibly lead to more class participation and a higher self-esteem.
Everyone in the schools benefit from this uniform program. People will be judged by their character and personality, rather than what kind of clothes they wear. This gives kids a chance to get to know each other well and teaches them communication skills. Also, from the uniforms, discipline in the classroom is influenced. The uniforms, unknowingly to the students, promote a better working environment and good behavior. The outfits take away from clothing distractions and help kids to concentrate on their work. The children take school more seriously, according to the U.S. Department of Education; they feel more business-like, as if they are in ?work clothes?. Fifty-two percent of schools with the uniform policies noticed a positive effect on student achievement. Even though school uniforms will not eliminate the group barriers and unsafe school, it will make a great reduction on them. Principal Ramon Leyba, from Phoenix, Arizona, states, ?The main result [of new school policies] is overall improvement in school climate and a greater focus on improved positive behavior. A big portion of that is from uniforms (Building American Schools).?
Parents are the strongest group to push for these uniform policies to be enacted in schools (Attitudes). This is the first step to implementing the solution. Someone has to take charge and organize the procedure. If not the parents, then the school board, principal, teachers, or even the students themselves need to bring the idea to someone?s attention.
The main problem with the uniform policy actually being implemented is the people who oppose it will have some things to say about their side. The first argument they will raise is about how these uniforms will violate the freedom of expression stated in the Constitution. A child?s rights are not the same inside and outside of school, to begin with. They can not wear anything they want as it is right now in public schools anyway. Even though the child will be restricted to the clothes he or she wears to school, they will still be able to express themselves through their hair, shoes, and other accessories they choose to wear. This is wear real creativity will show through, not just the ability to buy a shirt from a store, but a true style. Also, the school may choose to have a casual Friday sometimes, where the students can wear normal clothes. This gives the kids something to look forward to. Another problem may be the religious items some students are required to wear. They may still wear these, since a school is not allowed to prohibit them from being worn. A third problem with uniforms may be from the low-income families. They may be worried about costs. This uniform policy, however, will be cheaper for everyone, since they have to only buy so many of the same thing. And, for the people who can not afford the price of the uniforms, special fundraisers will be set up to make the money. In addition, alumni can donate their uniforms to the kids who need them.
After all the problems are worked out, the school needs to decide what the uniform will consist of. Many people think of the old fashioned plaid skirt look when thinking about uniforms. There are many options for schools to choose from. Common ideas, which the students would like, are a khaki, navy blue, or black bottoms. These could be pants, skirts, shorts, or jumpers. Then a white, red, or navy polo shirt to chose from also makes up the uniform. This example is preferred among students because they at least have a slight choice about what they would like to wear, while still matching everyone else.
Cliques are a common problem in junior high and senior high schools today. Now that I have explained to you the extent of the problem, the solution of developing a school uniform policy, and how to implement the uniforms into the schools, I hope you realize what needs to be done to solve this growing problem.