I believe all people have the right to express themselves. However, with rights come responsibility, a concept most people ignore. Having a "right" is to be free to express one's self. Consequentially, having a "responsibility" is doing it constructively, in such a way as to not violate policies, laws, and others' rights. There is a definite difference between a dress code and a school uniform. I support enforcing a school dress code, but is implementing a school uniform necessary? No matter how students dress, they will still pass judgments on their peers, uniforms do not necessarily save money, and children are forced to conform to the same standards. While in school, teachers have a responsibility to teach and students have the responsibility to learn. Both have the right to exist in their environment without harassment and the right to express their individuality. Some people have found some expressions crude, obnoxious, and distracting. To combat the problem, the idea of mandating school uniforms was introduced. This notion of making everyone appear "uniformed" in order to cut down on violence and negativity in school, is absolutely mislaid.
School was designed to equally teach all children not only book knowledge but also offer practice in cooperation with others on a social scale. The home was designed to teach children right from wrong, to respect and obey authority, and how to socially function properly with others. Sadly, the parents have left it on the hands of the teachers and administration to raise their children. Parents in modern terms have become lazy and have sent their children off to be raised by someone else, while they lead their own lives, not fulfilling their duties as a fulltime parent. They do so with the best of intentions, but it has lead to many problems. It is not the school's responsibility to teach neither morals, principles, nor the entirety of social interaction. This is a responsibility of the home and parents. Proper behavior should be taught at home and re-enforced in school. If the rules are violated, proper punishment should follow. A violation at home should result in a "home based" punishment. A violation at school should result in a "school based" punishment and a "home punishment," each requiring appropriate punishment for the violation.
Kids have the right to express themselves in a non-violent way. Many times children express themselves by wearing shirts of different rock bands, different brands of jeans, Polo tennis sweaters, or even dyed hair and body piercings. Just because a certain person or group does not like one or any of those things does not give them the right to dictate what someone should wear. Uniforms are supposed to stop kids from passing judgment on their fellow classmates by eliminating designer brands of clothing and other forms of identification of groups. Even with the implement of uniforms, students are going to pass judgment on their peers, if not on the way they are dressed, then their hair color or hairstyle, height, weight, their choice of accessories, what type of perfume they are wearing, or even the way another student carries himself. Regardless of what students are wearing these days, they are still going to form cliches and talk about each other almost just as easily.
School Boards seem to believe that constituting a school uniform will help out the less fortunate classes with saving money on clothing. In order for a student to go to school everyday, he will need plenty of uniform outfits to last him through the week. This is going to cost just as much as someone who has seven outfits to wear everyday to a non uniformed school. Regardless, the kids are going to want to buy designer clothes no matter what for the weekends when they don't have to wear uniforms. Unless the child is going to wear one of two uniforms all week long, it is still going to be costly, and still, washing a small load of laundry everyday will also become expensive.
The most important argument in this case is the fact that instituting school uniforms means teaching children to conform to the same standards, stripping them of their individuality, especially at such a crucial age where individuality is beginning to form. Kids can show their interests, beliefs, and personal styles through what they decide to wear. Dress codes are important in keeping things from getting out of hand, such as slogans from beer companies, inappropriate to the age of elementary through high school students, and exposed areas of skin, distracting to those also learning. The answer is obvious, conformity will not solve our problems in schools, but it is the parent's job to teach his child respect for himself and others he is in contact with.
We all have rights, but we cannot forget the responsibilities that are attached to these rights. It is the parents' jobs to teach their children proper morals, how to function in society, and the importance of a conscience. It is the teachers' responsibilities to give children the book knowledge needed to become educated citizens. And it is the students' responsibility to respect and obey authority. Regardless of the situation, students will be students, and we cannot change the way they interact with uniforms. All of the things that uniforms are supposed to solve are things that should be taken care of in the home. Parents need to take back their role as the authority over their children. Schools need to return to their proper and intended function. Children need to respect authority, their peers, and themselves.