It is true that high school students’ feel like their freedom is limited when they are at school; they can’t say, do, or wear certain things. Enforcing school uniforms in high schools limits those freedoms even further because students no longer have freedom of expression. Not only would students now have to wear uniforms against their will, but they would also be limited to how much of themselves they can express in a school environment.
It has been said that school uniforms prevent bullying and enforce positive discipline, but those statements can easily be argued. Although bullying rates in the school which requires uniforms might decline, this puts those students with uniforms at a higher rate of bullying from students at different schools. School uniforms might also enforce discipline in school but students will find other ways to express themselves which leads to less desirable actions and acting out such as getting tattoos or piercings (libertarian-logic.com). Along with those points, school uniforms are challenging to enforce in public high schools. Students find ways around dress codes especially when they are taken to such an extent. Having school uniforms in a public school can also bring financial burdens to lower income families. Families who are poorer pay for their kids’ education with their tax money; they end up having to pay extra money out of their pockets to purchase school uniforms (occupytheory.org). Kids will also still desire branded clothing whether or not they have school uniforms, so school uniforms don’t take away clothing expenses. Introducing school uniforms to public schools creates cultural exclusion as well (wisegeek.org)
Although the cons outweigh the pros for imposing school uniforms in public high schools, there are some advantages to having uniforms. Even though schools cannot absolutely enforce discipline, they can encourage it. Due to research, it has been proven that school uniforms improve attendance which in turn has a slightly greater graduation rate as well. They also diminish economic and social barriers between student groups at school; this decreases the bullying rate slightly and prevents gangs from forming on campus. However, even if school uniforms encourage discipline, there are other ways students can act out and other disciplinary actions would be taken. Though they also diminish social barriers, students are distinguished by different things and also get bullied for those reasons. Cliques of students will also continue to form, even if social barriers are lessened.
School uniforms not only take away from a student’s expression, they also become a financial burden for families of lower income who send their kids to public school. Even if the purpose of school uniforms is to enforce discipline and create successful students, teenagers will still be teenagers and school uniforms will not be an effective outlet for public high schools.