School uniforms are popular in the U.S. and across the pond - but not so much in Canada yet. For the most part you'll only find the mandate for uniforms in independent private schools, Catholic schools and high schools, as well as Quebec. While uniforms still remain scarce in public high schools and elementary schools, you may start seeing them becoming mandatory in the near future. Are you on board with the idea of school uniforms?
Uniforms seem to have their pros and cons. As they roll out into more schools, I am sure it will be quite a controversial topic. The benefits are many, but some parents and educators have voiced their concerns as well. Which side of the fence will you be on?
The potential benefits that school uniforms can bring:
- Increase Confidence: Students will no longer be worried about their clothing style or brand names, so they can build their self-esteem from the inside instead.
- Hide Any Income Differences: Not every set of parents makes the same amount of money, and without uniforms it is easy to tell who comes from a wealthy family. With uniforms, that is one less thing for the students to worry about.
- Less Distraction, More Learning: Students can focus less on who is wearing what, and more on who is learning what. With less distractions in the class room, the hope is that students can focus more on their educational matters.
- Keep Outsiders Out: When all the students are wearing uniforms, it is super simple and quick to identify an outsider who could potentially be dangerous for our children.
- Decrease Weapon Risks: It is much harder to sneak in weapons, drugs, or anything unwanted when a student is wearing a uniform.
- Save Time: Students and caregivers will spend less than half the amount of time in the mornings picking clothing - I mean, you only have so much to choose from with a uniform and you don't have to worry about matching.
The potential downside to having students wear a school uniform:
- Less Freedom and Expression: A lot of a child's expression and freedom are expressed in what they wear. With a uniform, students lose their sense of self when it comes to styles.
- Expensive: Many say that uniforms save money because you are no longer buying designer clothes. But think of it this way: Instead of just buying designer clothes for school, you are now buying uniforms as well as designer clothes for outside of school.
- Band-Aid: Parents have expressed that uniforms are merely a band-aid solution for bullying and violent items.
- Hide Red Flags: Some children will express their feelings with what they wear. For example, if they are intending to do something wrong, they may wear a baggy black hoody with the hood pulled over their head. With uniforms, it is how to tell how students are feeling based on their clothing.
- No Stats: As of now, uniforms have not been statistically proven to reduce bullying, violence or even promote discipline.
If you are sending the kids off to a school that requires a uniform, there are a few Canadian retailers that sell such a thing. You can shop at Old Navy, Gap and Sears for some uniform pieces, although some schools have a specific supplier that you must order from. It is best to find out from your child's school before making any of these purchases.
In my personal opinion, uniforms by themselves will not make schools better. I think if uniforms were used in combination with a supportive school that already pursues high standards and great academic performance, then they would be a great addition.
How do you feel about school uniforms becoming more popular in Canada?