Dressing to impress in class

Only a small portion of local elementary school students don the grey pants, ties, sweater vests and kilts in class. Uniform schools are a minority amongst youngsters in east Toronto, but this month Catholic schools will be looking at making them mandatory.

Children are constantly trying on different styles and personalities while growing up. At first, they may like to wear their favourite colour. Then they may attempt to try out a particular style which mimics their role model.

By trying out these different looks, children figure out who they are and imitate those they inspire to be. Clothes help them to play these dress-up and role-playing games in their everyday lives.

But there can be a downfall to choosing your own clothes. What if everyone doesn’t like your style, or you can’t afford to buy the latest trendy fashion?

School uniforms allow children to focus on their studies rather than what they are wearing.

Some parents and students advocate school uniforms for all students, since it allows them to be judged by who they are and not what they wear. School uniforms aren’t expensive for parents, and some schools will even have the option of helping a low-income family pay for uniforms.

Wearing clothing that is different from everyone else can cause a student to be an outcast and be bullied. While discrimination and judgement is a sad reality all age groups can face, it can psychologically scar a child and have long-term effects on their lives. Uniforms can be a way of avoiding this trauma, while at the same time creating a false sense of security within a child.

Bullying based on image may be avoided in the uniform school, but it won’t be avoided outside the classroom in the real world.

Uniforms are a way of the past. Today, school curriculum is more expressive and interactive. Lesson plans can allow students to show their individual personality through writing about their favourite TV show or their future career plans. Today, students have arts, crafts, gym and recess. All of these activities don’t require a sweater, vest or dress clothes.

School uniforms can create a false reality for students, as uniforms aren’t worn outside of school. While students dress as if they are going to work, even people who go to work get to choose what to wear. Sure, they look good and demonstrate a certain level of regimented class, but what are they really teaching young generations?

If parents really want students to dress appropriately, a dress code may be a more modern way of the uniform. This way, students can all wear the same generic type of uniform, but have more options in terms of colour and style.