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Dress Codes in Schools – Dressing for Success

Smiling and happy faces come through the doors of the school. All of them are teenagers with similar needs and similar purposes. They come to learn to be successful men and women in the future, yet when they are looked upon; their differences show they

are not united. When entering the school, you will notice that students are separated in areas like the classroom, the hallways, and the cafeteria. Students are not separated by their race or color of skin, but by their manners of dressing. At many schools, it becomes easy to divide students into groups; there are groups of students who wear clothes that are as pretty as they are expensive. “Pretty” appears to many as name brand clothes that expose more flesh than necessary. Likewise, there are students famously known as “skaters,” with chains around their hands, pockets, and waists. Additionally, they often wear pants that are baggy enough to fit two people and threaten to fall down their hips. There are also those who manage to be between those two extreme categories and dress casually. For those reasons, with the implementation of a dress code, students will have to follow strict guidelines in dressing appropriately. For Instance, schools can eliminate the wearing of chains and mandate wearing fitted belts. Therefore, the implementation of a dress code for elementary and secondary public schools offers several benefits that have a positive effect on the school community.

The anxiety over safety in public schools has led school administrators in the direction of implementing strict dress codes and uniform policies. Despite long-standing attention to the problem, there is a growing perception that not all public schools are safe places of learning, and media reports highlight specific school-based violent acts. Crime in and around schools threatens the well being of students, school staff, and communities. Many may argue that dress codes threaten students’ individual rights of free expression; nevertheless, it is the responsibility of school officials to create a safe learning environment for children (Paliokas, 7). Children wearing expensive or fashionable clothes such as Nike, G-Unit, Guess, and Baby Phat Jeans become victims of theft.

Dress codes offer many benefits that forbid competition and violence among students. Competition among students regarding clothing turns violent and certain fashion accessories or attire is used as weapons or as a means to conceal weapons. For example, oversized shirts and baggy pants can be easily used to hide guns, knives, and drugs that can be carried into schools. In order to reduce violence, many schools have implemented a dress code with the hope to prohibit students from wearing a wide range of specific items including gang related attire and insigma, such as bandannas, certain colors, and hats. Additionally, implementing a strict dress code assists school officials to identify nonstudents, trespassers, and other visitors. Mandating a dress code has huge effects on the educational environment. California’s Long Beach School District has seen noticeable improvement with descending crime rates since the implementation of a mandatory student dress policy. Statistics show that crime has decreased by ninety-one percent, suspensions have decreased by ninety percent, sex offenses have been reduced by ninety-six percent, and vandalism is down sixty-nine percent (Daniels, 22).

Academic success is another reason to employ a dress code in elementary and secondary public schools. Wearing a uniform to school takes the center of attention away from what students wear and places it more on what the student is learning. Students who are focused on the school environment as opposed to what their peers are thinking of their clothes will have better test scores. However, when a student is worried about whether or not they are going to get assaulted to and from school or at school because of gear their grades begin to soar downhill. Some students will then lose interest on academics and focus more so toward the undue stress of other student’s cruel behaviors toward them. Implementing a school uniform will be a success because all students will look similar and students will concentrate on their academic performance in school.

According to Daniels, “Students dress policy also reduces the cost of clothing for students” (Daniels, 27). Many families do not have the money to buy expensive clothing for their children to wear to school. Thus, parents benefit because they are saving money on no longer having to buy the latest fashions. Most school uniforms are cost effective and easily accessible for parents to obtain.

Furthermore, a parent shopping for children becomes an effortless task because they are following strict guidelines when purchasing clothing for school. For example, at Lansing School District’s, Pattengill Middle School, children can only wear certain colored pants and shirts. The acceptable colors for pants are blue, black, brown, and beige. The hues for shirts are navy blue, light blue, red, black, and white.

Many school districts have turned to dress codes and uniform policies to promote a better learning environment. Statistics prove that school related criminal incidents have decreased significantly and academic performance has been enhanced. The learning process is uninterrupted with the fashionable clothing and accessories because all students are dressed alike. Also, many families cannot afford expensive clothing and as a result of an implemented dress code, parents do not have to feel pressured into buying high end clothing. For that reason, a dress code serves several purposes that promote a more positive outcome than negative for the learning environment.