Time to ban school uniforms

Juan Casas, Courier Staff

Uniforms have been used as long as recoded history, and for a variety of reasons. Everything from military service to incarceration. So, the question is whether or not K-12 students ought to be forced to wear uniforms. I believe that forcing K-12 students to wear uniforms is a societal mistake and endangers the commonwealth.

When I was a child, growing up in the southwest side of Chicago, I was forced to wear uniforms during my K-12 experience. That is one of various reasons why I loathed my high school experience. I felt trapped in my own clothes, a prisoner of society. I did not have a choice and it was this lack of choice that made me rebel and drop out of high school my freshmen year. I demanded my freedom, to dress as I saw fit, to learn what I wanted to learn and to be who I was destined to be, free and independent.

The current K-12 American education system is a manipulative chronic destroyer of dreams. The public education system forces students to conform. In school, you are told what to wear, what to do, how to think and what to learn. The education system does this instead of teaching students the differences in clothing from business attire to casual. Instead, they should also teach students how to think and how to learn. Instead of promoting cultural pluralism, they teach Americanization.

Instead of teaching students about their cultural history, they teach European and colonial history. Instead of teaching students to be open to the differences of others they teach conformity. The education system teaches intolerance. This is why the standard of education has dropped from the top-10 to the end of the list when compared to other developed democracies. Yet, proponents of school uniforms argue that uniforms do benefit both students and their education. The popular argument supporting uniforms is that they promote unity in the student body and reinforce discipline. The argument states that students with uniforms cannot alienate each other based on what they wear. Also, that uniforms reinforce discipline by making students submit to the orders of what they can or cannot wear.

Although, on the surface the arguments might sound reasonable they are not. When it comes to unity in the student body, students are already alienated and discriminated against and ruthlessly bullied by their classmates. Also, forcing parents to buy uniforms for their children that can only be used for school purposes places an unnecessary financial burden on families with lower incomes, because they have to choose to either buy the uniforms for school or regular cloths for everyday use. Finally, the idea that uniforms promotes discipline is simply not true. When soldiers go into battle and follow the orders to the letter, it isn’t because they were given a uniform it is because they have been trained. Same goes for students, putting them in a uniform will not magically make them disciplined, it takes education and training to reinforce discipline in anyone.