Are school uniforms effective?

School uniforms have been utilized by many schools in the United States. Supporters say that they promote a safe environment and prevent bullying. Others say they prevent students from expressing themselves and are a potential financial burden. The question is, are school uniforms really effective?

Summary

There were strong opinions on both sides of the school uniform debate. Proponents of school uniforms feel they level the playing field and reduce the focus on socio-economic or materialistic factors, they allow kids to focus on school, they engender a sense of community and team spirit, they make getting ready for school and clothes shopping easier and that they make schools safer (by reducing "us vs them" mentality, gang color representation and also by making it obvious if there is an intruder on campus). Many also shared personal experiences and observations where school uniforms improved school test scores and grades. Some also felt this was an elitist suggestion given that low-income public schools usually force the uniform issue more than high-income public schools. 

Opponents of school uniforms feel they force conformity and supress individuality and that the above mentioned "pros" don't really prove to be true. This group sited personal experiences where they didn't improve test scores (some sited examples where test scores went down), they didn't reduce violence, kids still found ways to bully and pick on low-income kids, and several mentioned that uniforms put an additional cost burden on low-income families.
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