Just be like everyone else !

Whether or not children should wear school uniforms is a hotly debated issue with arguments for and against. Some of the main ones in the ‘for’ camp are:

  1. Children perceive them as professional and are therefore more likely to work and not ‘play’ as they have been dressed to work.
  2. They promote good discipline.
  3. They reduce violence and bullying by removing the fashionable element to clothing which can often divide young people and create opportunities to be treated differently.
  4. They provide a lower cost alternative to keeping up to date with the latest fashions and designer labels.
  5. They promote a sense of identity and school spirit.

Of course there are equal numbers of counter-arguments including the need for individuals to express that individuality.

Many schools that have a uniform can raise funds by allowing a casual dress day from time to time [charging a small sum for the privilege].

Incidentally, whilst I can see the pros and cons I am firmly in the uniform camp but this blog post isn’t about what I prefer or even about school uniform – but more about how we can achieve individuality within a level of conformity/uniformity.

I don’t believe that to be individual and unique we have to become non-conformist. For those that know me would readily agree that I am not ‘normal’ [in a positive way]. Not normal in some of my views, in some of my ways yet in many areas of life I fit in, blend into the back ground, and am just normal.

Could it be that many causes of conflict within the home are caused by parents seeking conformity and the young person clinging to their individuality? Should we treat each individual son/daughter differently to the other[s]? Are we all ‘wired’ the same way and therefore motivated by the same things?

I know that I cherish my uniqueness and champion the cause for the young people I meet. However I do stress to them that when a single persons individuality denies other people the same freedom by going too far then they need to change and address that situation.
Would love to know your thoughts – please comment below.

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  • As a principal of a school that does have a school uniform,I am ambivalent about the issue. Having a school uniform does avoid some issues but creates others. The opportunity to have children learn to love and include others by making good choices about clothing is missed by having uniforms, which I thinks a shame. The other issue that is worth considering is the “miliaristic roots” of western schooling, particularly those in the English speaking world, creating an us and them atmosphere. Whiles some aspects of tribalism are good; building a sense of belonging, they can also breed arrogance and elitism. Schools need to be aware, and hopefully care about these issues, though I fear that some like the “prestige” of belonging to a particular school tribe.

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