Monday, 16 January 2012

School Dress Code

School Uniforms - Dress Codes Vs Uniforms

In his 1996 State of the Union Address, President Clinton said, "If it means that the school rooms will be more orderly and more disciplined, and that our young people will learn to evaluate themselves by what they are on the inside, instead of what they're wearing on the outside, then our public schools should be able to require their students to wear uniforms." Although originally only popular in private schools, school uniforms have been the topic of much debate in homes, schools, and courts since the first public schools began requiring that students wear uniforms in the 1980s. Since that time more and more schools, public and private, are opting for uniforms. In fact, 15.5 percent of public schools required uniforms in the 2007-2008 school year, according to the Department of Education, reflecting an increase of about 6 percent from a decade earlier.

school uniform
Illustration, image source from

Dress Codes Versus Uniforms

Dress codes generally differ from school uniforms in that they set rules about what cannot be worn but do not specify what must be worn. For example, a dress code may require that skirts and shorts be a certain length or may ban printed or potentially offensive T-shirts, certain types of jewelry, large or baggy clothes, clothes with holes, visible undergarments, strapless tops, or other types of clothing that the school administrators deem inappropriate or distracting. Uniform policies are generally more restrictive and require students wear a particular color and style of clothing-sometimes even dictating where the clothing must be purchased. In some schools, however, dress codes entail so many rules that they are nearly as restrictive as uniform policies and may require only solid colors or polo-style shirts. Both dress codes and uniform requirements have been contested in court. Some have even landed in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Written by John Head. John is a pure academic who enjoys studying a variety of societal issues. My homepage discusses ethics training and the importance of corporate compliance.

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