School Uniforms Limit Students’ Freedom Of Expression


Tatyana Jeter, Staff

There have always been debates on the differences between school districts about things such as lunch, delays/closings, sports teams, and academics. What students can wear is yet another topic of debate.

Every school has its rules. In some private schools, for example, students can’t have certain colors of hair, girls are restricted from wearing pants and loose jewelry, and boys have to wear khakis. On top of that, many expect students to wear uniforms.

“We had to wear a white scarf, blue gown and our shoes had to be all black,” explained sophomore Noor Raza who attended a Muslim private school.

But this is also true in some public schools, too. Students cannot wear regular clothes like they do at CHS.

Many believe that BCPS schools, because they are public schools, don’t have a uniform policy, but at magnet schools like Sudbrook Middle, Deer Park, and Southwest Academy, students are required to wear uniforms each day even though they are public schools. Schools often make these choices because clothing could be a distraction and affect their learning in class.

To some CHS students who used to wear uniforms at previous schools, wearing one was completely normal and not a bother at all.

“I didn’t really care because it was easier to just get up and put it on instead of looking through my clothes to find something to wear,” explained sophomore Vicki Zhang. She once attended Sudbrook Magnet Middle.

Uniforms can be a good thing because they reduce peer pressure and bullying, and some say they save students time in the morning because they don’t have to put so much time into finding something to wear. Uniforms can save parents money.

Many teachers would support mandatory school uniforms.

“It would be a great way to help stop students picking on each other due to the fact that everyone would be wearing the same thing,” explained Math teacher Marianne Davies.

On the other hand, some might argue uniforms have an negative effect on students’ self-image because  they are unable to express themselves.

“I don’t understand how some schools try to force students to wear uniforms; everyone should be able to wear what they want,” explained sophomore Deandre Jones.

School uniforms may delay the transition into adulthood. Denying teens the chance to make their own choices may make them ill-prepared for the adult world. Uniforms could be driven by commercial interest rather than educational. For example, private schools require their school logo uniform which may cost $15 for one shirt, but most families cannot afford to pay the expenses.

Many would agree that uniforms limit students’ rights to express their uniqueness.

And uniforms don’t always solve problems. A study at Texas Southern University found a 12% increase in discipline incidents after the introduction of the uniforms to the university.

This debate could be ended with a few simple adjustments. Both sides can be satisfied to some degree by giving students with uniforms a chance to get creative with them.