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Mandating uniforms in public schools

Common dress can also make students feel like they belong to the school community, increase pride and even improve attendance.

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Students along with some parents dispute that mandatory uniform policies within public schools are unconstitutional.School uniforms may seem outdated for some people, but in many cases they can improve school spirit, attendance and student behavior.According to The Humanist magazine, former President Bill Clinton's 1996 State of the Union Address called for all 16,000 school districts in the country to adopt a uniform policy.The President stated, "If it means that teenagers will stop killing each other over designer jackets, then our public schools should be able to require their students to wear uniforms" (qtd in Wilkens, screen 1) The public school district in Long Beach, California was the first to take up the mandatory school uniform policy.The school district reported drastic decrease in violence, discipline problems, as well as higher test scores after one year of implementing the new policy (Wilkens, screen 1).A bill that would allow school districts to adopt a mandatory uniform policy for students stalled Thursday in an Iowa Senate subcommittee after it failed to generate sufficient support to advance. Melissa Peterson, a lobbyist for the Iowa State Education Association, said dress codes work well in some school districts by "leveling the playing field" for students. Under Iowa law, school districts can adopt dress codes, but the legislation makes it clear that uniforms could specifically be required.Some opponents claim that uniforms are not a fix-all for the problems that plague schools, but instead violate students' right to express themselves, as guaranteed by the First Amendment.They claim that a dress code can provide guidelines and exclusions for certain types of dress, such as clothing with drug references or vulgar language printed on them, while still allowing students to make their own choices and be an individual.Would you like your daughter to concentrate more on her schoolwork and less on what name brand jeans she is wearing?All this is possible with mandatory uniform policies in public school districts.


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