School uniforms are common in elementary and secondary
in many nations.
The European country that has the most widespread use of school uniforms
Britain. The practice of prescribing
clothing has spread from there to many
formerly British territories (including
Japan is another industrialised country where school uniforms are nearly
universal. In most of continental Europe and Scandinavia, school uniforms
are however not common. Russia abolished school uniforms in its public school
system after the replacement of communist party government in the early
1990s. Cuba still dresses its children in the "pioneer" uniform.
In North America, i.e. the
United States and
Canada, school uniforms are generally not
used in public (e.g. state-sponsored) schools. However, independent schools
often have school uniforms. In the 1990s, there was a trend toward (re-)introducing
uniforms in American public schools, and especially so in low-income areas.
This was at first motivated by a need to counter "gang clothing",
but has later also been seen as a way of improving morale and discipline.
Those arguments are controversial among many parents, and that fad seems
to have peaked. The American kids who are most likely to wear a school uniform
today are either very poor or very rich.
Proponents of uniforms argue:
- they reduce cliques (or gangs) and peer-envy based on clothes
- they allow the student to focus on schoolwork rather than on socialising
- they add a professional air to the school environment, resulting
in better morale
parents don't have to spend on vogueish
brand attire. They can buy several
pieces of the same clothing and rotate them. They can even be later
transferred to younger siblings.
Common arguments against school uniforms are:
- they violate the students' right to self-expression
- they are costly (this may or may not be true)
- "one-size-fits-all" style does not suit all students'
- they do not actually result in any scholastic improvement
- many uniforms are not gender neutral, which may lead to exploitation
- (specific to present-day United States) use of public-school uniforms
implies a failing school system and could even reduce property values.
Traditionally, school uniforms have been subdued and professional. Boys'
uniforms often consist of dark
dress shirt, plus a
in cold weather. A girl's might consist of a
blouse. The gender-specific uniforms have
been another point of contention, and some schools permit female students
to choose either skirt or
trousers. The use of a
or suit-like jacket has come into favor in some areas. Some school uniforms
proposed in US public schools have discarded the formal style and have opted
for bright shirt and
khaki pants, or shorts in the summer.
British night clubs often organize uniform
theme parties where patrons are asked to
wear adult versions of the uniform. This
kind of use of a childrens clothes may be
controversial in context of heavy drinking
and sexual behavior. Angus Young from the
Australian musical act ACDC often wears
on scene his school uniform.
Starting from term 2004-2005, the French
law on secularity and conspicuous religious
symbols in schools forbids Islamic
Sikh turbans and Jewish yarmulkes.
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