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A study of school uniforms

1 November 1996


This topic was chosen because the subject of school uniforms has become quite trendy in the last few years. I wanted to see if the ideas supporting it were just that, "trendy" or if the idea had some substance to it. I also wanted to see if our community was receptive to the idea of a public school uniform.· Emerald, priding itself-on -diversity,-would-he a-superb testing ground for the sometimes-controversial subject of such attire.

I found the review of the literature to be quite current and varied. What I read not only encompassed studies of uniform adoption in the United States but also in Japan and New Zealand. Several strands present themselves, regardless of the locale. The main ones are increased self-esteem, reduction in behavior problems and reduction in criminal activity. Many authorities believe that improved academic achievement also relates to uniform adoption, although the statistics on this are lacking. One significant gain in the U.S. is financial. As a nation, the United States spend millions of dollars outfitting children for school---uniform adoption is hailed as a way to curb some of this extravagant spending.

What I discovered from the surveys that I conducted at two area middle schools was fairly consistent with the literature findings--staff were overwhelmingly supportive of the idea, as were parents. Students surprised me with an approximate twenty to twenty-five percent approval of the idea. The subject of uniforms for students will be around for awhile, probably debated by many school districts; my research is an attempt to present the reader with an overall view of the merits and feasibility of school uniforms in our community.


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