Sunday, November 23, 2008

Final English Paper: Uniforms Can Help Public School Students

This was my final paper due for the term. I learned what I wanted to. I'm glad it's over.:)

Type of Essay: Argumentation
Subject Given: School uniforms do/do not help public schools
Grade Given: A
Fun Notes: I was thrilled when I turned my rough draft in only to have my professor tell me that it was ready to be turned in as a final. Yipee!

Uniforms Can Help Public School Students

Often times the debate of whether public school students should be required to wear uniforms can become a heated personal battle. When a school requires their students to wear uniforms, the administration is showing an effort to eliminate a few of the problems that are faced in schools today. By requiring uniforms, they will give students the chance to find other ways to express themselves besides clothing. They will prepare each student for the future by teaching them conformity. They will eliminate the symbols that clothing can be, as well as, encouraging their school to become united in purpose.

Critics of school uniforms fight against them, saying that uniforms will take away their uniqueness and sense of self. The words of Mahatma Gandhi come to mind when he said, “They can not take away our self respect if we do not give it to them” (qtd. in Covey 72). It is scary to think that a person may feel that the clothes they wear are all that defines them. In the school setting there are many opportunities given for a person to express themselves, through writing, project presentations, and extracurricular activities, just to name a few. Self-respect and a person’s uniqueness is something that is within the soul of a person. Requiring uniforms may be just what is needed to encourage students to look deeper within themselves to find other ways to express their identity.

People also contest that the requirement of school uniforms in the public schools is against a person’s freedom to choose. They battle against conforming to new rules and restrictions. When this subject was discussed on an online forum one of the forum members had this to say, “One of the things that schools are supposed to teach children is that at some point in life, they are going to have to get a job and conform. At that point, they will not have "freedom of expression" They will dress according to the code of the business; they may even wear a uniform. I don't think it's doing the child any good to complain to Mommy and Daddy every time the school does something that keeps them from expressing themselves. The Question is; do we prepare them for the real world, or do we take the easy way out and pretend that they will always be able to do exactly as they wish” (Padgett2)? Let’s take the time to teach them now!

Requiring that uniforms be worn in the public schools will never solve all of the pressing problems that schools face today. However, they can ease the burdens. Unfortunately, in today’s society the clothing that a person wears determines a certain status symbol. Symbols that might define a possible income amount one earns or what music a person listens to, clothing today can even symbolize whether a person is gay or straight. The saddest aspect of these status symbols is that students have been known to murder another student because of apposing views and status symbols. For example, according to free-lance writer Sandy Maple, “Larry [a California junior high student] was gay and liked to wear feminine clothing and makeup to school. Apparently, this angered classmate Brandon McInerney so much that he felt it necessary shoot Larry to death as he sat in class” (Maple). Though this is not a common story, persecution in schools because of clothing that determines a symbol is still an issue. Uniforms eliminate these negative symbols and show only one, that of a student or a teacher who belong to the same school.

When a student leaves for school each day ideally that student should be focused on school rather then who they will or will not be impressing that day because of the clothes they are wearing. Requiring that everyone wear uniforms eliminates this stress. It also eliminates the time that is spent ahead of time trying to decide what to wear. This gives the student more time that they could use to focus on their studies.

In final, uniforms may not solve all of the issues that educators face in the public school system. However, uniforms will give the students the chance to look inside themselves to find ways to define themselves. They will prepare each student for the inevitable conformity that they will face in their careers. It will eliminate the status symbols that clothing can set. Finally, uniforms will give students the opportunity to focus on the world of knowledge that is open to them through a more united school.

Work Cited

Covey, Stephen R. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. New York, 1990
Padgett2. City-Data. Posted at 08-06-2007, 08:27PM.
Maple, Sandy. “ Dress Code Blamed for Teens Murder.” ParentDish. 18 Aug. 2008


Heidi Hamilton said...

That was a great paper, Lena. Although I would have DIED to wear uniforms when I was in school, I sure support them now for my own kids. More than anything, at least it would simplify things.

Harmony said...

Congratulations on the A you made a great argument. I think it could really take a lot of the stress out of school.

Melonee said...

Your paper turned out good! Definately deserved the A you got!

So many parents seem to think that uniforms would solve issues at school, but I tend to disagree. Kids are just plain cruel sometimes and if they can't seperate each other by the clothes they wear, then they'll just find another way, be it hairstyles, neighborhoods, the cars parents drive...

Unfortunately, I think the problem is much larger than clothing. I know a few people who's kids wear uniforms and they all say that the kids know which brand uniforms are nicer and make fun of kids shoes. There are larger problems with society and those are the ones that need attention, IMO.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Popular Posts