Staff Editorial: uniforms and dress code impact students


Photo By Elli Swanson

As a part of the dress code, students are not allowed to wear their hood up during school for safety reasons. Along with hoodies, students are also not allowed to wear any clothing pieces and show shoulders, or any other revealing items.

There has always been controversy with the educational outcome between students at schools that do wear uniforms and schools that do not. People believe that uniforms can lead to fewer distractions to students and they can focus more on their education. Although people believe that, students overall would prefer dress codes over uniforms because of the freedom it gives students to wear what they want.

Schools with uniforms allow for students to spend less time in the mornings deciding what outfit to wear, there is also not as much judgment to students throughout the school.

At this age, students view others a certain way by how they dress, which can lead to judgemental actions or bullying. If students are required to wear the same outfit as everyone else, that could decrease the chance of verbal harassment to students outfits in the building.

Along with less judgment, if students wear uniforms every day to school, they do not have to take the time in the morning or evening to plan an outfit. Within that time period, a student could focus on more important things like getting more sleep.

On the other hand, the opposition would argue uniforms take away students’ rights to express themselves and show who they are through their clothing.

Schools with uniforms do not always give the freedom of allowing students to express themselves through their clothing even if shown in an appropriate way. Everyone has different styles and to be able to wear their choice of clothing to school, shows people who they are as a person. When students wear their own styles, they are able to express themselves and be more confident in school.

Even though some schools with uniforms let you wear something in your hair or shoes, it still does not fit the description to some people of allowing students to express themselves.

At St. Croix Preparatory Academy, students are heavily required to follow the rules in the student handbook. If a student were to want to wear some sort of accessory or jewelry it must be neat, modest and not draw any attention to it.

The use of uniforms gives a more professional tone in a school setting, which can change the mood of students that school is an educational area, not a time to hang out. Research states that with the use of uniforms students have better attendance records, test scores and decrease in suspensions.

Senior psychologist Alan Hilfer, says that the wearing of uniforms takes away self-expression for children. At this given age children needs for individuality increase and their resentment towards uniforms does as well. Children will turn to other ways to express themselves which could be inappropriate hairstyles, jewelry, or makeup.

Although some individuals believe students should be able to express themselves through their outfits, there has always been the question of can students still express themselves without wearing revealing outfits. Students can continue to show who they are through their outfits with them still being school appropriate.

The use of dress codes can attempt to prevent students from dressing inappropriately, while still being able to express themselves through their clothing.

With the advantage of allowing students to wear what they want, some people [still] take advantage of the freedom in clothing choice.

Certainly, uniforms can prevent students from wearing inappropriate outfits, but the use of dress codes has encouraged students to dress accordingly to the rules. With the use of dress codes, it gives students a sense of choice and expression. It also teaches the importance of a respectable appearance that can lead to more self-esteem.

Many students do believe that dress codes are important, but that the school has failed to make them visible to all students.

In the Stillwater Area High School student handbook, it describes the importance of why students should dress appropriately, but not what is allowed and what is not. As shown under student attire, it says that students are expected to maintain an appearance that is neither distracting nor disruptive to the educational process, but nothing under what exactly can and can not be worn.

Should Stillwater High School require uniforms?

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When students see people wearing outfits that do not fit the school dress code description they begin to think those type of clothing pieces are okay to be worn during the school day.

There is not enough re-enforcement from the teachers, students do not know whether or not which teachers will stop them from wearing what they are wearing and which ones will not. Students have noticed that the teachers who more strongly agree in following the policy will point out to a student on what they are wearing.

The teachers who are worried about how a student might react is less likely to tell a student to change, because of students assuming the teacher was looking at them in an inappropriate way.

There are different opinions and aspects put into the idea of school uniforms and dress codes, and how different schools decide to act on them and the effect it has on student education.

Overall, dress codes seem to be the more suitable option. Students can wear what they are comfortable in and by having rules with school attire, it limits students from dressing inappropriately from school as long as the rules are enforced.