SCHOOL UNIFORMS AS CULTURAL ARTIFACTS 6
SchoolUniforms as Cultural Artifacts
SchoolUniforms as Cultural Artifacts
Theimportance of cultural artifacts cannot be gainsaid as far asconveying the varied aspects of an entity is concerned. Culturalartifacts primarily underline items that are created by human beingsoffering information regarding the culture of its creators. Whilethere may be numerous cultural artifacts in the contemporary humansociety, few have been as controversial as school uniforms. Indeed,there has been an intense debate regarding whether or not studentsshould be required to wear school uniforms. This is especially in thecase of elementary schools and high schools. While there may bediffering opinions regarding this issue, it is evident that allstudents in the formative stages of learning should be required todon school uniforms.
First,school uniforms come off as immensely effective in preventingstudents from placing judgment on their colleagues on the basis oftheir appearance. Indeed, uniforms make it increasingly difficult forstudents to form cliques as all of them are standardized as far astheir appearance is concerned. It goes without saying that a largenumber of students pick on others purely on the basis of theirdifference from them. While there may be differences in theirhairstyles, appearance, height and other aspects, it goes withoutsaying that clothing would come off as the most dominant orconspicuous (Cornell,2006).Girls are known to pick on their colleagues whose skirts are cut abit lower, while boys molest their colleagues who have checkeredshorts. On the same note, kids from wealthy families would, moreoften than not, intimidate their colleagues from poor families as aresult of their expensive clothing. This may result in lowself-esteem for the later group, which undoubtedly affects theirperformance and capacity to remain in school (Cornell,2006).This problem can only be eliminated through standardization ofclothing, which, essentially, is requiring students to wear uniforms.
Inaddition, uniforms would make it easier for school authorities toidentify individuals who do not belong to the school, therebyenhancing students’ safety and security both within and outside theschools. It has well been acknowledged that a large number ofoffenses carried out in schools are executed by outsiders who knowthat there is no chance of their being distinguished from otherstudents (Brunsma,2006).On the same note, students themselves are known to do wrongs in theneighborhoods simply because no one would know where they are from(Dussel,2001).However, schools would make students and strangers well identifiableand distinguishable, thereby preventing actions that would jeopardizethe safety of the schools or even the neighborhoods (Dussel,2001).
Inaddition, school uniforms teach or impart in the students someelement of discipline and respect for the rule of law, both insideand outside the educational institutions. Research has shown thatschool children who don any type of clothing that they deem fit getaway with considerable more as their teachers are not as strict astheir counterparts who require that they wear uniforms (Cornell,2006).Requiring students to wear uniforms is the first step to ensuringthat they are disciplined enough to obey the rules and regulations ofthe school (and subsequently, the country), as well as depictingtheir respect for the powers that be. This element of respect wouldbe transferable even when they leave the schools.
Further,requiring students to wear uniforms would be advantageous to studentsthemselves with regard to the amount of money that they use onclothing. It has well been acknowledged that students at this age arealways striving to compete or outshine their colleagues especially onthe basis of their appearance. This may, essentially, mean having towear designer clothing or garments that are from a particular labelthat may have been endorsed by their favorite celebrity (Brunsma,2004).This, with no doubt, means that they would require their parents tobuy them certain clothing that are, more often than not, moreexpensive than the uniforms. Indeed, this would be the new platformfor competition. However, the introduction of uniforms wouldeliminate this platform and create a perception of equality (Brunsma,2004).This essentially means that the possibility that the students wouldbe prejudicial to their colleagues would be considerably reduced.Parents would only need to purchase clothing that would be sufficientfor their kids within a certain period of time (Hamilton,2008).The clothing can be worn on every school day, thereby eliminatingthis platform.
However,some scholars opine that students should never be required to wearschool uniforms. Indeed, they insinuate that school uniforms preventchildren from expressing themselves or being individual anddifferent. In addition, they often state that school uniforms amountto requiring kids to conform rather that exhibit their true selves.However, this may not necessarily be the case (Dussel,2001).As much as individuality may be quite desirable for any kid, it goeswithout saying that there would have to be some limitations to thesame. Uniforms do not restrict their individuality, rather it simplyprovides a considerably larger margin for the same. Indeed, givingthem uniforms would, essentially, allow them to express theirindividuality and themselves in other ways or rather in the desirableways (Brunsma,2006).It goes without saying that there are numerous other desirable waysin which school going children can express themselves includingattitude, writing, drawing or even excellence in their schoolwork(Hamilton,2008).Uniforms eliminate a potentially explosive platform for individualityor expression.
Inconclusion, school uniforms have been subject to immense debate inthe recent times. Indeed, a large proportion of individuals havedebated on whether or not it would be appropriate to require studentsto wear uniforms when going to school (Brunsma,2004).While there may be differing opinions, it is evident that schooluniforms are extremely appropriate for students. Indeed, this is oneof the most effective techniques for imparting discipline and respectfor the rule of law in the students at an early age. In addition, iteliminates the most conspicuous differences among students therebyreducing cases of bullying. Indeed, scholars have always acknowledgedthat students tend to pick on their colleagues who appear differentfrom themselves as they view them as outsiders (Brunsma,2006).The requirement that students wear uniforms would eliminate a largeproportion of the most conspicuous differences, thereby reducingcases of bullying. Further, the requirement for wearing uniformswould be of quite an advantage to the parents themselves. It is wellacknowledged that parents even from poor families may buy two sets ofuniforms to be worn every day of the week, unlike the case of homeclothes, where students may desire to wear a different set every dayjust as a way of showing off to their peers.
Brunsma,D. L. (2004). Theschool uniform movement and what it tells us about Americaneducation: A symbolic crusade.Lanham, Md. [u.a.: ScarecrowEducation.
Brunsma,D. L. (2006). Uniformsin public schools: A decade of research and debate.Lanham (Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Education.
Cornell,D. G. (2006). Schoolviolence: Fears versus facts.Mahwah, NJ [u.a.: Erlbaum Associates.
Dussel,I. (2001). Schooluniforms and the disciplining of appearances: Towards a comparativehistory of the regulation of bodies in early modern France,Argentina, and the United States.New York: University of Wisconsin—Madison
Hamilton,J. (2008). Dresscodes in schools.Detroit, MI: Greenhaven Press.