What Do Kids Think About School Uniforms?

Susie McGee
teen boy in uniform with backpack

What do kids think about school uniforms? The answer to that question can vary greatly depending upon whom you talk to.

School Uniform Issues

Most parents, educators, and students are quick to weigh in on the issue of school uniforms, citing their reasons for and against an across-the board-uniform policy. While many kids instantly dismiss the idea of school uniforms because they want to be able to choose their own clothes, others point to more compelling reasons for why they should or shouldn't wear specific clothing. In any case, in order to answer the question, "What do kids think about school uniforms?" you have to look at both sides of the issue from students' viewpoints.

Parents and educators often point to academic and behavior standards to support the school uniform requirement. The theory behind this thought is relatively simple. Kids who dress more professionally will study harder and behave better. It is also thought that uniforms reduce the occurrence of violence in schools because it reduces arguments that are clothing-related, particularly when these argument stem from gang-related paraphernalia. Many educators also believe that the lack of uniforms within a school means more distractions among students who view and compare clothing choices on a daily basis.

What Do Kids Think About School Uniforms: Pros and Cons

What do kids think about school uniforms? Regardless of what the adults might believe, kids also have definite opinions on the topic of school uniforms.

Uniform Cons

The vast majority of kids don't want to dress alike, and they feel that in doing so, they lose their individual identities. Other reasons why kids don't want to wear school uniforms include the following:

  • School uniforms are ugly. They don't follow any of the current fashion trends, and many uniforms have been essentially the same for generations. Kids feel that uniform colors and styles are too old-fashioned.
  • School uniforms restrict individuality. Kids love to experiment with their clothing and accessories. They already often feel constricted by the rules and regulations of the classroom, and the requirement of school uniforms only further emphasizes that restricted feeling.
  • School uniforms do not save money. One theory behind uniforms is that they save families money. However, kids are quick to point out that they still want to buy stylish clothing to wear outside of school. This means that students must essentially have two wardrobes. However, if they didn't have uniforms, they could wear a lot of their same clothes to school.
  • Uniforms aren't flattering to all body types. Uniforms requirements often require tucked in shirts for boys and girls and skirts for girls. Some kids feel that these clothing styles aren't very flattering to certain body styles, and they increase students' feelings of insecurity.

Uniform Pros

There are some students who support the idea of uniforms, although they may feel like a minority. Their reasons for agreeing with the implementation of uniforms include the following:

  • Uniforms eliminate clothing competition. Kids who wear uniforms don't feel the need to compete with each other on buying the latest, and sometimes most expensive, clothing brands.
  • Uniforms eliminate choices. Some kids love the idea of not having to decide what to wear each day. Instead of spending time putting together outfits, they simply put on their uniforms.
  • Uniforms create equality. Kids who are proponents of uniforms also point to the fact that everyone looks the virtually the same, cutting down on socio-economic cliques throughout the school.

Obviously, the topic of school uniforms will continue to be debated with kids and adults weighing in on both sides of the issue. The ultimate decision, however, usually lies with a school district's board of education. While parents and their children can share their concerns and opinions with school officials, often their only recourse if they disagree with the system's clothing requirement is to change schools.

What Do Kids Think About School Uniforms?