Effects of School Uniforms on Violence and Discipline
While seemingly an issue of the past, school dress code rules are still being implemented in public schools around the nation. Originally starting in the Southern California districts, uniform use has been extended to many schools around the country, with experts saying that it has drastically reduced violence and improved student behavior and discipline. Other reasons for implementation of uniforms have been to prevent gang activity, to help students resist peer pressure, to encourage students to focus on schoolwork rather than fashion, and also to help school officials recognize intruders that infiltrate the school grounds (Cruz). Since years before uniform use, school violence and crime have been shown to have decreased at a rapid rate. On the other side of the debate though, there are opponents of mandatory dress codes as well. They explain that no solid evidence has been shown that relates a reduction in violence directly to actual issuing of the dress code, and that it could be due to any number of factors. Those factors include zero-tolerance or "one-strike policies, heightened campus security and supervision, and peak statistics of violence that were ready to decline (Noll). School uniforms may also stifle student creativity in crucial years of self-development and exploration. Through all of the debate and statistics, it seems that one question still remains: Do school uniforms help reduce violence and improve discipline?
One of the primary arguments for uniforms is the main topic, which is
whether they reduce school violence or not. In some startling statistics, it was shown that a year after uniform implementation in Long Beach schools, school crime decreased by 36 percent, fights by 51%, sex offenses by 74%, weapon offenses by 50%, assault and battery by 34%, and vandalism by 18% (Noll). Dick Van Der Laan of the Long Beach