There is need for a viable option which allows our children to be independent individuals whilst at the same time receiving maximum protection in their learning environment. Whilst the use of school uniforms offer the opportunity for students and non students of an organization to be easily identifiable, does covering every child with the same fabric allow for students to express themselves as an individual who has the right to choose a preferred type of clothing.
The school uniform controversy although around for decades is still quite vibrant in our public arenas. Although politicians and certain administrators claim that the wearing of a uniform reduces the level of violence at school and improves academic performance there is a resounding lack of empirical evidence to support this viewpoint (Brunsma and Rockquemore, and Northern).The author of this paper intends to demonstrate that the wearing of a uniform is but a drop in the bucket of methods of reducing the negativity associated with poor academic performance and behavior problems. In addition, claims of improving academic performance through the implementation of a uniform policy have strongly been refuted by researchers and educators alike (Brunsma and Rockquemore, and Northern). There are several other justifiable means of improving the overall conduct and performance of students at school and on the streets.
In 1998 Brunsma and Rockquemore conducted a scientific research to investigate the claims made by proponents of the use of school uniform. The researchers examined assertions that the wearing of school uniforms reduces the abuse of drugs by teenagers as well as the problems in their behavior. In addition, they investigated the likelihood of the use of school uniforms causing an improvement in school attendance and academic achievement. Initially, Brunsma and Rockquemore acknowledged that Long Beach Unified School District was the first urban school district to operate with a mandatory uniform policy. In fact, advocates of the uniform policy at Long Beach insisted that the uniform policy was the only factor involved in the positive outcomes at the school district. Contrastingly, the authors noted that opponents to mandatory school uniforms were adamant that the use of school uniforms encountered ‘legal’ and ‘financial’ problems. Further, they noted the ‘questionable effectiveness’ of the wearing of these uniforms (53). Thus, the researchers in their attempt to test the relationship between uniforms and the four major outcomes made by advocates of the uniform policy utilized data from the National Educational Longitudinal Study conducted in 1988 with 8th grade students. Their results were astounding for in all four cases the researchers discovered that the empirical evidence did not support the claims made by the advocates. Instead there appeared to be the need for alternative thinking on the cause of the positive effects of the use of uniforms at the Long Beach Unified School District. Brunsma and Rockquemore were quick to note that there was other ‘reform efforts’ implemented at the same time as the uniform policy at the Long Beach District (60). The researchers concluded that the negative correlation between the mandatory uniform policy and academic achievement was perhaps asymptomatic of the ‘quick fix nature’ of reform policies at schools. Interestingly, in her article entitled, “School Uniforms, Academic Achievement, and Uses of Research”, Bodine highlighted possibly erroneous conclusions in Brunsma and Rockquemore’s article. In fact, Bodine contrasted the results obtained by Brunsma and Rockquemore with the results of an Educational Testing Service article. Bodine emphasized the differences in the reasons put