Here in England, most, if not all, of our high schools require school uniforms. Each school has particular colours that they class as “the school colours”, and our school uniforms are made up of them – my school’s colours are navy blue, black, grey and white. Most school uniforms include a blazer and/or a jumper, trousers or a skirt, a shirt and a tie.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I like my school, I like our logo, and I like being part of a community. The thing that I don’t like is that I am being told what to wear, and what to look like, by a place that I think should be allowing students to grow.
I believe that school uniforms can be restrictive as they don’t allow students to explore how they express themselves through clothing. I understand that yes, they can make you part of a community. I understand that yes, they can eliminate clothing as a cause of bullying. But they also eliminate the chance for students to grow and express themselves through their physical appearance.
Other things that my school doesn’t allow are dyed hair; jewelry, piercings more than one in each ear; makeup; and boys having hair that is “too long”, among others. Hairstyle and hair colour, as well as piercings, makeup and jewelry, can be really important in expressing yourself as a teen, when you’re desperately trying to figure out who you are. Banning these things leads students to let go of their individuality and encourages them to morph into another person in the crowd, when they should be jumping out, shouting “this is who I am, and I am proud of it”. Being unique is important, and I just don’t see how you can do that when you are being told that you must dress the same way as everyone else.
As for the argument that school uniforms help to stop bullying; many students are still bullied at school, despite wearing the school uniform. Students can be bullied for a multitude of reasons, including physical appearance, whilst still wearing a school uniform.
Overall, I’m not saying that schools should stop having uniforms altogether, I just think that there could be small adjustments made that would help students feel more comfortable in what they’re wearing each day, and I believe that allowing students to dye their hair or wear makeup could allow students to feel more comfortable and confident in themselves, without changing the actual uniforms too much.