Essay on School Uniforms

1047 Words 5 Pages
School Uniforms


The issue of whether or not school uniforms are a necessity in today’s society has been a long standing debate. However, it did not come onto the national scene until 1996 when then President Bill Clinton spoke of the matter in his annual State of the Union Address. Citing the Long Beach city school district in California, Clinton spoke of the positive effects of uniform implementation, including: decreased drug cases, sex offenses, violent crimes and fights.

Jessica Portner, a writer for Education Week, agreed with President Clinton in her February 14, 1996 article entitled “Uniforms Get Credit for Decrease in Discipline Problems.” Using statistical evidence from the aforementioned Long Beach school system grades
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However, this lawsuit is frivolous from Portner’s vantage point because, as she points out, most school districts do indeed provide the parents with the opportunity to waive the requirement. Furthermore, if one goes to Wal-Mart, a pair of dark dress slacks and a white oxford shirt will run around $25. Local charities have also pitched in, at least in the Long Beach community. All in all, Portner paints a portrait with little doubt of the exigency for school uniforms.

However, not everyone is in agreement with Mr. Clinton and Ms. Portner. One such individual is Karon Jahn, who spoke at the 78th Convention of the Speech Communication Association. Jahn’s argument is principally centered on infringement of the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Jahn creates proper pathos with her plea that one’s body and appearance are the most personal and unique aspects of one’s personality. It is inherently important for one to be able to create their identity and image argues Jahn. Appearance is how first impressions of individuals are made. This nonverbal communication is an essential part in the relationship determining process.

Jahn’s best source comes in the form of legal support of freedom of speech in past cases. However, the Supreme Court has not ruled on the issue of school uniforms. Instead, it lets the states decide if there is a need for uniforms or not. Jahn points…

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