The School Uniform: Outdated or Necessary?

children-602967_640School is back in full-swing and with it come the debates.  There always seems to be so much to debate when it comes to our children and their education, and this week we’re talking all things dress codes and uniforms.  Are they wildly outdated and sexist?  Or are they necessary to level the field?

This past June a principal at a high school in Guelph, Ontario was reprimanded by the school board for the comments he made to the student body about dress and Crop Top Day went viral after a Toronto school suggested to a female student that perhaps her crop top was not appropriate for the classroom.  Students and parents were quick to voice their disapproval for dress codes, some even going as far to threaten to sue for sexual discrimination.

There are supporters of dress codes and uniforms though.  Andrea Mrozek, the executive director of the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada, believes that dress codes do not infringe on individuality and may even limit peer pressure and bullying. Some even believe that uniforms go as far as “raising the bar” for success.  Central Peel Secondary School recently implemented a school uniform, and the former principal and parents all agree that issues surrounded dress were diminished and students more encouraged to bring their A-game.

It’s a heated topic among students, parents and administrators with each side feeling passionate about the issue.  We want to know what you think so leave us a comment and make your voice heard.

Recent articles to get you thinking:

Are school dress codes sexist and oppressive?  – Margaret Wente, Globe and Mail

School dress code protest giving uniforms new life – Aleksandra Sagan, CBC News

School dress codes are part of life – Christina Blizzard, The Toronto Sun

School dress codes have valid purpose, administrators say, as opposition grows louder – Douglas Quan, The National Post

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8 thoughts on “The School Uniform: Outdated or Necessary?

  1. I went to Catholic schools from grades 1-12 and though I didn’t enjoy wearing a uniform, I came to appreciate them when I went to college and had to decide what to wear every day! My children attend Catholic school and wear a uniform. As a parent, I love it because there is no argument about what is acceptable to wear to school. I believe that schools should have at least a dress code for students, especially in middle and high school. This is a time when kids want to express themselves, but often it is not appropriate attire. As the mother of a high school boy, the girls being in uniform is a GOOD thing! He would never be able to concentrate in class if the girls were wearing tight pants and crop tops!

    • Sydney, I agree with most of your sentiments but I can’t tell if you are joking or not about your high school boy being able to concentrate in class depending on what the girls are wearing. Do you think it is on the female student to make sure the boys are able to concentrate? It seems most anything can fall under the “makes it hard to concentrate” category if it isn’t mainstream – hair cuts and color, shoes, backpacks, etc. I’m not trying to get into an argument but I am interested in your opinion. I went to public schools with no dress codes back then and am the parent of a toddler, so I am no longer in the thick of day to day school issues. Thank you!

      • I was definitely not putting the ownership of lack of concentration on girls. I have an 11 year old daughter and I am very aware of what she wears and I make sure it is appropriate. With that being said, teenage boys think about one thing a lot and it is very easy for them to be distracted by girls in school and anywhere, for that matter. So honestly, a dress code will merely assist in lessening distraction, not eliminate it. This is simply my perspective at the moment! I agree that other elements can distract such as shoes, designer clothing, hairstyles. I support uniforms because in my private school perspective, it eliminates the social status elements and puts everyone on the same plane.

      • I definitely see benefits to uniforms – especially leveling the playing field for so many kids whose families don’t have the financial means to “keep up with the Joneses” in terms of the latest and greatest. And the benefit of not having to worry about what to wear each day. But I also recall learning so much about myself and my friends by being able to express ourselves through the clothing we wore. Perhaps it’ll be one of those never-ending dilemmas. 🙂 I appreciate your response! Thank you.

      • The beauty of it all is that you can get to know someone on a different level, then develop the relationship more outside of school when you can wear whatever you want! I think the best time for uniforms in school is in middle school which is when a majority of changes occur in a child. It’s also when kids can be the meanest.

  2. I’ve gone to catholic school and public school. During my catholic school days, I wore the plaid jumper or pants, and my peers and I would dream of the days we could wear the vest and skirt of the older girls. When I went to public school, I was teased about brands of clothing, and it was hard trying to fit in with the “cooler girls” who had “better” clothes than I did. I remember pretending to be so upset with my mom for buying me off brand tennis shoes, because I didn’t want the girl making fun of me to think that I chose them. I think uniforms in general are a good idea. They level the playing field. My son goes to a private school, the kids have a dress code, but it is a bit more lenient than mine was. A choice of 4 solid color tops, and navy, khaki, or black dress pants, or skirts for girls. There is room for some individuality, but not enough to make any one person stand out as good or bad. Unfortunately, womens/girls bodies are sexualized to such a degree in our society, a girl showing a bit of midriff, or a tight shirt, short shorts do distract others. It is also true that girls often like to dress like this for the attention it provides. My daughter just graduated from public high school, and would show me images of what some girls would tweet-outfits they would wear in and out of school…. I would say in most cases, girls dressing in revealing clothes do so with the intention of getting attention. A dress code that universally doesn’t allow for certain types of clothes to be worn by boys OR girls would be appropriate, although probably most boys aren’t going to try going to school with short shorts 🙂

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