Do uniforms make schools better?

by: Marian Wilde | Updated: January 17, 2023

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The pros and cons of school uniform debate

For the past decade, schools, parents and students have clashed over the issue of regulating student attire. In 2007, cases involving an anti-Bush T-shirt in Vermont, an anti-gay T-shirt in San Diego, and Tigger socks in Napa, California, made their way through the courts, causing many to wonder whether this debate will ever be resolved.

Meanwhile, researchers are divided over how much of an impact — if any — dress policies have upon student learning. A 2004 book makes the case that uniforms do not improve school safety or academic discipline. A 2005 study, on the other hand, indicates that in some Ohio high schools uniforms may have improved graduation and attendance rates, although no improvements were observed in academic performance.

Why do some public schools have uniforms?

In the 1980s, public schools were often compared unfavorably to Catholic schools. Noting the perceived benefit that uniforms conferred upon Catholic schools, some public schools decided to adopt a school uniform policy .

President Clinton provided momentum to the school uniform movement when he said in his 1996 State of the Union speech, “If it means teenagers will stop killing each other over designer jackets, then our public schools should be able to require their students to wear school uniforms.”

The pros and cons of school uniforms

According to proponents, school uniforms:.

• Help prevent gangs from forming on campus • Encourage discipline • Help students resist peer pressure to buy trendy clothes • Help identify intruders in the school • Diminish economic and social barriers between students • Increase a sense of belonging and school pride • Improve attendance

Opponents contend that school uniforms:

• Violate a student’s right to freedom of expression • Are simply a Band-Aid on the issue of school violence • Make students a target for bullies from other schools • Are a financial burden for poor families • Are an unfair additional expense for parents who pay taxes for a free public education • Are difficult to enforce in public schools

Uniforms vs. dress codes

Schools and districts vary widely in how closely they adhere to the concept of uniformity.

What’s a dress code?

Generally, dress codes are much less restrictive than uniform policies. Sometimes, however, dress codes are nearly as strict, as in the case of a middle school in Napa, California. This particular school’s dress code required students to wear solid colors and banned images or logos on clothes. When a student was sent to detention for wearing socks adorned with the image of Winnie-the-Pooh’s friend Tigger, the girl’s family sued the school district for violating her freedom of speech. In August of 2007, the district announced it would relax its dress code – for the time being – to allow images and fabrics other than solid colors. The district superintendent, while admitting that banning images on clothes raises concerns about the restriction of political and religious speech, announced his intention to move soon toward implementing uniforms in the district.

Uniforms are certainly easier for administrators to enforce than dress codes. Consider two recent examples of students challenging dress codes through the courts.

In June of 2007, the United States Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s decision affirming a Vermont student’s right to wear a T-shirt depicting President Bush surrounded by drug and alcohol images. The school had suspended the student, not for the anti-Bush political statement, but for violating a dress code that prohibits drug and alcohol images. The courts, however, disagreed with the school and found that, because the images referred to Bush’s alleged past use of cocaine and alcohol, they were protected as free political expression.

In March of 2007, the Supreme Court “vacated” or set aside the decision of a lower court upholding a San Diego high school’s suspension of a student for wearing an anti-gay T-shirt. The school argued that the T-shirt was hateful and inflammatory. The Supreme Court’s action essentially struck down the school’s argument and upheld the student’s right to free speech.

In both of these cases, the schools’ attempts to protect students from drug and alcohol images or hateful speech were reversed in favor of free speech. To clarify the matter somewhat, the Supreme Court ruled in June of 2007 in favor of a school in Alaska that had suspended a student for displaying a banner reading “Bong Hits 4 Jesus.” The court ruled that the reference to drugs in this case had no political message and could indeed be seen as advocating drug use.

Check with your school to see what the dress code is, as they can be fairly specific. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, for example, the dress code prohibits:

• Decorations (including tattoos) that are symbols, mottoes, words or acronyms that convey crude, vulgar, profane, violent, gang-related, sexually explicit or suggestive messages • Large or baggy clothes (this prohibition can be used to keep students from excessive “sagging”) • Holes in clothes • Scarves, curlers, bandanas or sweatbands inside of school buildings (exceptions are made for religious attire) • Visible undergarments • Strapless garments • Bare midriffs, immodestly low-cut necklines or bare backs • Tights, leggings, bike shorts, swim suits or pajamas as outerwear • Visible piercings, except in the ear • Dog collars, tongue rings and studs, wallet chains, large hair picks, or chains that connect one part of the body to another

What’s a uniform?

One school might require white button-down shirts and ties for boys, pleated skirts for girls and blazers adorned with the school logo for all. Another school may simply require that all shirts have collars.

In Toledo, Ohio, elementary school students have a limited palette of colors that they can wear: white, light blue, dark blue or yellow on the top half and dark blue, navy, khaki or tan on the bottom half.

Toledo girls are allowed a fairly wide range of dress items, however: blouses, polo shirts with collars, turtlenecks, skirts, jumpers, slacks, and knee-length shorts and skirts. Boys have almost as many choices: dress shirts, turtlenecks, polo or button-down shirts, pants or knee-length shorts.

When Toledo students reach junior high, they are treated to one more color choice: maroon.

What research says about school uniforms

Virginia Draa, assistant professor at Youngstown State University, reviewed attendance, graduation and proficiency pass rates at 64 public high schools in Ohio. Her final analysis surprised her: “I really went into this thinking uniforms don’t make a difference, but I came away seeing that they do. At least at these schools, they do. I was absolutely floored.”

Draa’s study concluded that those schools with uniform policies improved in attendance, graduation and suspension rates. She was unable to connect uniforms with academic improvement because of such complicating factors as changing instructional methods and curriculum.

University of Missouri assistant professor, David Brunsma reached a different conclusion. In his 2004 book, The School Uniform Movement and What It Tells Us About American Education: A Symbolic Crusade , Brunsma reviewed past studies on the effect of uniforms on academic performance. He also conducted his own analysis of two enormous databases, the 1988 National Educational Longitudinal Study and the 1998 Early Childhood Longitudinal Study. Brunsma concluded that there is no positive correlation between uniforms and school safety or academic achievement.

Meanwhile, the movement toward uniforms in public schools has spread to about a quarter of all elementary schools. Experts say that the number of middle and high schools with uniforms is about half the number of elementary schools. If uniforms are intended to curb school violence and improve academics, why are they not more prevalent in middle and high schools, where these goals are just as important as in elementary schools? Because, says Brunsma, “It’s desperately much more difficult to implement uniforms in high schools, and even middle schools, for student resistance is much, much higher. In fact, most of the litigation resulting from uniforms has been located at levels of K-12 that are higher than elementary schools. Of course, this uniform debate is also one regarding whether children have rights, too!”

What do students think about uniforms?

A student discussion: pros and cons of uniforms.

Editor’s note: This video is part of our high school milestones series about communication skills. The students in this video discuss the pros and cons of school uniforms.

After a school uniform policy was implemented in three Nevada middle schools in 2008 and 2009, researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno, set out to find out what 1,350 seventh and eighth graders thought about the change. The vast majority — 90 percent of students — reported that they disliked wearing uniforms. However, other data showed more nuanced results. For instance, 54 percent of students agreed that they still had their identity while wearing a uniform, and 50 percent agreed that uniforms saved their families money. But only 41 percent of students agreed that there was less gang activity at their school after uniforms were required. However, when the researchers looked into school discipline and local police records and compared them to the prior year’s data, discipline referrals were down 10 percent, there were 63 percent fewer police log reports, and graffiti, fights, and gang-related activity were all down.

It’s a big issue

A new trend is the mounting pressure to establish dress codes for teachers. Apparently the same casual mind-set toward revealing outfits is cropping up in the ranks of our teachers.

The debate over uniforms in public schools encompasses many larger issues than simply what children should wear to school. It touches on issues of school improvement, freedom of expression and the “culture wars.” It’s no wonder the debate rages on.

Additional resources

The School Uniform Movement and What It Tells Us About American Education: A Symbolic Crusade, David Brunsma. Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2004.

School Dress Codes: A Pro/Con Issue, Barbara C. Cruz. Enslow Publishers, 2001.

argument paper on school uniforms

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Expert Commentary

School uniforms: Do they really improve student achievement, behavior?

This updated collection of research looks at how mandatory school uniforms impact student achievement, attendance and behavior as well as the presence of gangs in public schools.

Students wearing school uniforms

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License .

by Denise-Marie Ordway, The Journalist's Resource April 20, 2018

This <a target="_blank" href="">article</a> first appeared on <a target="_blank" href="">The Journalist's Resource</a> and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.<img src="" style="width:1em;height:1em;margin-left:10px;">

Decades ago, uniforms were mostly worn by students who went to private or parochial schools. But as local school boards have focused more on improving standardized test scores and campus safety, a growing number have begun requiring school uniforms — typically, a polo shirt of a particular color paired with navy or khaki pants, skirts or shorts. Nearly 22 percent of public schools in the United States required uniforms in 2015-16 — up from almost 12 percent in 1999-2000, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Proponents argue that students will pay more attention to their classwork if they aren’t preoccupied with fashion, and that they’ll be better behaved. Meanwhile, school administrators say uniforms help eliminate gang-related styles and logos. They also make it easier to spot a stranger on campus.

Despite their reported benefits, mandatory uniforms are controversial because a lot of parents and students don’t like the idea of forcing children to dress alike, which they say suppresses freedom of expression. Some families complain about the financial burden of purchasing uniforms in addition to their kids’ other clothing. Years ago, parents also complained that it was difficult to find uniforms, but that ceased to be an issue after large chain stores like Target and Wal-Mart began selling them.

As public schools debate the merits of uniforms — some school boards have been bouncing the idea around for years — it’s important for journalists to know what the research says on this topic. School officials do not always consult academic research before they put a plan on the table.

To help journalists ground their reporting and fact-check claims, Journalist’s Resource has rounded up several academic studies worth reviewing. Reporters may also want to examine reports on uniform use from the NCES, which collects and reports data related to school uniforms, dress codes and book bags in public schools.


 “School Discipline, School Uniforms and Academic Performance” Baumann, Chris; Krskova, Hana. International Journal of Educational Management , 2016. DOI: 10.1108/IJEM-09-2015-0118.

Summary: This study examines test scores and student behavior in the United States, Canada and 37 other countries to determine whether uniforms affect student discipline. The researchers found that the highest-performing students are the most disciplined. In addition, “for countries where students wear school uniforms, our study found that students listen significantly better, there are lower noise levels, and lower teaching waiting times with classes starting on time.”

“Dressed for Success? The Effect of School Uniforms on Student Achievement and Behavior” Gentile, Elizabetta; Imberman, Scott A. Journal of Urban Economics , 2012, Vol. 71. doi: 10.1016/j.jue.2011.10.002.

Abstract: “Uniform use in public schools is rising, but we know little about how they affect students. Using a unique dataset from a large urban school district in the southwest United States, we assess how uniforms affect behavior, achievement and other outcomes. Each school in the district determines adoption independently, providing variation over schools and time. By including student and school fixed-effects we find evidence that uniform adoption improves attendance in secondary grades, while in elementary schools they generate large increases in teacher retention.”

“Uniforms in the Middle School: Student Opinions, Discipline Data, and School Police Data” Sanchez, Jafeth E.; Yoxsimer, Andrew; Hill, George C. Journal of School Violence , 2012. DOI: 10.1080/15388220.2012.706873.

Summary: Researchers asked students at an urban middle school in Nevada what they thought of having to wear uniforms. Their public school had adopted a uniform policy after staff members became frustrated with the earlier dress code policy, which resulted in girls wearing revealing clothing and boys wearing shirts with inappropriate messages and images. The study’s main takeaway: The vast majority of students said they dislike uniforms, although some agreed there were benefits. “For example, in reference to gender, more than expected females than males indicated students treated them better with uniforms. Also, fewer females than males got detention for not wearing a uniform or for wearing a uniform inappropriately.”

“Are School Uniforms a Good Fit? Results from the ECLS-K and the NELS” Yeung, Ryan. Educational Policy , 2009, Vol. 23. doi: 10.1177/0895904808330170.

Abstract: “One of the most common proposals put forth for reform of the American system of education is to require school uniforms. Proponents argue that uniforms can make schools safer and also improve school attendance and increase student achievement. Opponents contend that uniforms have not been proven to work and may be an infringement on the freedom of speech of young people. Within an econometric framework, this study examines the effect of school uniforms on student achievement. It tackles methodological challenges through the use of a value-added functional form and the use of multiple data sets. The results do not suggest any significant association between school uniform policies and achievement. Although the results do not definitely support or reject either side of the uniform argument, they do strongly intimate that uniforms are not the solution to all of American education’s ills.”

“Effects of Student Uniforms on Attendance, Behavior Problems, Substance Use, and Academic Achievement” Brunsma, David L.; Rockquemore, Kerry A. The Journal of Educational Research , 1998, Vol. 92. doi: 10.1080/00220679809597575.

Abstract: “Mandatory uniform policies have been the focus of recent discourse on public school reform. Proponents of such reform measures emphasize the benefits of student uniforms on specific behavioral and academic outcomes. Tenth-grade data from The National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988 was used to test empirically the claims made by uniform advocates. The findings indicate that student uniforms have no direct effect on substance use, behavioral problems, or attendance. Contrary to current discourse, the authors found a negative effect of uniforms on student academic achievement. Uniform policies may indirectly affect school environment and student outcomes by providing a visible and public symbol of commitment to school improvement and reform.”

“School Uniforms, Academic Achievement, and Uses of Research” Bodine, Ann. The Journal of Educational Research , 2003, Vol. 97. doi: 10.1080/00220670309597509.

Abstract: “School uniforms are being advocated for a range of social, educational, economic, and familial reasons. In 1998, The Journal of Educational Research (The JER) published an article by D. Brunsma and K. Rockquemore that claims that uniforms correlate negatively with academic achievement, but data presented in this article actually show positive correlation between uniforms and achievement for the total sample, and for all but 1 school sector. Examination of structure of argument reveals that the erroneous claim results from misleading use of sector analysis. Simultaneous with The JER article, and on the basis of the same National Education Longitudinal Study: 1988 database, an Educational Testing Service article reported that no correlation exists between uniforms and achievement. The two articles are contrasted in this study. The effect of new communication technology in amplifying political uses of academic research is discussed.”

“Public School Uniforms: Effect on Perceptions of Gang Presence, School Climate, and Student Self-Perceptions” Wade, Kathleen Kiley; Stafford, Mary E. Education and Urban Society , 2003, Vol. 35. doi: 10.1177/0013124503255002.

Abstract: “This study attempts to clarify the relationships between public school uniforms and some of their intended results: student self-worth and student and staff perceptions of gang presence and school climate. The instruments used in the study included a questionnaire on gang presence and identity, the National Association of School Principals Comprehensive Assessment of School Environments, and the Harter Self-Perception Profile for Children. Participants consisted of 415 urban public middle school students and 83 teachers. Findings indicate that, although perceptions did not vary for students across uniform policy, teachers from schools with uniform policies perceived lower levels of gang presence. Although the effect size was small, students from schools without uniforms reported higher self-perception scores than students from schools with uniform policies. Student and teacher perceptions of school climate did not vary across uniform policy.”

“The Effect of Uniforms on Nonuniform Apparel Expenditures” Norum, Pamela S.; Weagley, Robert O.; Norton, Marjorie J. Family & Consumer Sciences , 1998. doi: 10.1177/1077727X980263001.

Abstract: “The uniform industry has grown steadily the past 20 years with increased attention from employers trying to create a professional image among workers as well as school administrators considering uniforms to curtail school violence. Although an important part of human dress for centuries, uniforms have received little attention from researchers of the clothing market. This study examines the impact of uniform purchases on household expenditures for selected nonuniform apparel subcategories based on an economic model of conditional demand. Expenditure equations are estimated using the 1990-1991 Consumer Expenditure Survey. The results suggest that, on average, consumers do not substitute uniforms for other apparel purchases. Rather, uniforms and nonuniform apparel appear to be complements in consumers’ purchases, resulting in greater household expenditures on nonuniform apparel. These results are a first step in understanding the economic effect that uniform purchases, mandated by employers, schools, or others, have on household clothing expenditures.”

Looking for more research on student achievement? Check out our write-ups on how teacher salaries , school vouchers and school shootings impact learning.   

About The Author

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Denise-Marie Ordway

Educ 300: Education Reform, Past and Present

an undergraduate course with Professor Jack Dougherty at Trinity College, Hartford CT

Controversy: The True Effectiveness of School Uniforms

In history, students were not always required to wear a school uniform. When the school system started, most students were only required for students clothing to be appropriate for the learning environment, meaning no sexual, gang-related, or distracting clothing. If students did have to wear a uniform, they did not attend a public school. For many years now, it has been an argument of whether or not school uniforms should be options or should be removed out of schools. Many advocates think that school uniforms allow students to stay safe in schools, reduce crimes, increase attendance, and improve students performance in the classroom. Many people who are opposed to school uniforms are saying by putting kids into school uniforms, we are allowing them to have limited ways to express themselves. Low-income parents are concerned with trying to pay for these uniforms that can be very pricey. Despite this, school officials and school boards believe that uniforms are golden. When and why did school uniforms become widespread in public schools, and did they deliver the results that advocates promised?

The school uniform movement began a lot of cases that were set on student were wearing. Then a local community school in Long Beach, California became what advocates looked like an example school; however, the movement became more popularized after Bill Clinton gave his State of the Union address in 1996. Advocates, school official and school boards, hope that by having school uniforms would decrease in distractions, leveled socioeconomic barriers, and less student worried or concerned that they do not have the best clothes. Over time, school officials saw the change in students; however, researchers do not see the same correlation across many school districts.  

In 1969, there was a supreme court case Tinker v Des Des Moines Independent Community School District. This case was a very important case for U.S school system. In this case, some students of the Des Moines school wanted to protest the Vietnam War, and they did this by wearing black armbands. The principal of the school learned about what was going to happen, and she required students to be removed from the schools if they are wearing the armbands. Students would also be suspended and would not be able to attend school until they agreed to not wear the armband. The Tinker family had a big issue with that because they felt that the school violated their first amendment right. They sued the school district saying that violation. The school simpled argued that they are violating school policies. According to Dress Code in Public Schools: Principals, Policies, and Precepts, “But, a closer look at Tinker may reveal less support for an expansive view of students’ rights to wear any clothing of his or her choice”( DeMitchell, Todd A.; Fossey, Richard; Cobb, Casey 35 ).  The Tinker case is how we see school officials dictating what students wear.  

There was a public school, Jackie Robinson Academy, in Long Beach, California that President Clinton recognized for wearing school uniforms. After leaving the school, he recalled a conversation that he had with his wife about school uniforms. He recalled her mentioning to him that school uniforms would make things better in school in terms of student behaviors. He made Jackie Robinson Academy the face for school uniforms in 1994. There begins to be a large wave of school districts in Long Beach that turns over to school uniforms being the solution to their problems, “uniforms [became] mandatory for all 58,500 students in its elementary and middle schools”(Mitchell “Clinton Will Advise Schools on Uniforms.” ). The school district found that by enforcing students wear polos and blue pants or plaid skirts decreased crime in schools by 36 percent. Many people argue that it takes away from children individuality. He defined advocates by stating 

“‘I think these uniforms do not stamp out individuality among our young people,” he said at the rally.”Instead, they slowly teach our young people one of life’s most important lessons: that what really counts is what you are and what you become on the inside, rather than what you are wearing on the outside’” (Mitchell).

In this, the President is recognizing the problems that are going on; however, he is making it clear that adding uniforms will make things easier and more practical for school boards.

By January 23, 1996, President Bill Clinton became the first president to mention anything about school uniforms in the United States State of the Union address. When talking about the state of our public school system, Clinton stated “I challenge all our schools to teach character education, to teach good values and good citizenship. And 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 school uniforms” (Clinton “State of the Union Address”) It was surprising to having the president mention something like this during his address; however, it sparked up some conversation. The New York Times article talks about how the President stated that he believed incorporating school uniforms will better the community of the school, “ If it means that the schoolrooms will be more orderly, more disciplined,” Mr. Clinton said, “and that our young people will learn to evaluate themselves by what they are on the inside instead of what they’re wearing on the outside, then our public schools should be able to require their students to wear school uniforms” (Mitchell). Despite his ideas, he left it up to the school officials on that change.

In 1997 there was the case of an appeal, Phoenix Elementary School District No. 1 v. Green, that had parents stating that they did not agree with the previous ruling in March of 1995 that they would be enforcing school uniforms all over,

“Testimony was presented at trial that the uniform policy reduced clothing distractions, increased campus safety, improved school spirit, leveled socioeconomic barriers, ensured that students dressed appropriately, and reduced the staff and faculty time required to enforce the dress code. The court concluded that the dress code was reasonably related to legitimate pedagogical purposes, including promoting a conducive learning environment and securing campus safety”(Geddis “School Uniforms Reduce Distractions, Aid Safety).

The statements that they address as improvements were also improvements that advocates wanted as well. The biggest improvement that they wanted to see decreased in distractions to promote academic achievement, leveled socioeconomic barriers, and less student worried or concerned that they do not have the best clothes. This is something that the researcher is looking into to see if there were actually any growth on any of these topics.

An Education Weekly article, “Uniform Effects?”, covered how the researcher, as well as school officials, felt about some of the pros and cons surrounding school uniforms. There are many different arguments that school officials at Stephen Decatur Middle School give about school uniforms; nonetheless, researchers dispute what the school officials are saying. David L. Brunsma is a researcher at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He spent time studying the effects of school uniforms in school using the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988 and the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study. He made sure to look at the effects that uniforms had on the whole school and the individual students. He found that about 27 percent of elementary school by 2000 had some type of school uniform rule. Majority of those school are in areas with minority or disadvantaged students, which are like the students in Stephen Decatur Middle School.

School Official verse The Researcher

The principal of Stephen Decatur Middle School, Rudolph Saunders, stated that the student tends to behave better when they have on a uniform,” ‘It’s like night and day,” Saunders says. “We have ‘dress down’ days, and the kids’ behavior is just completely different on those day” (Viadero “Uniform Effects?”). Although these school districts are convinced that uniforms have an impact on students’ discipline, Brunsma findings showed that “uniform policies don’t curb violence or behavioral problems in schools”(Viadero ).  In fact, his research shows how dermal having a uniform can actually be to students. The school is just based on what they are seeing without making sure this is really the cause. This is a factor of correlation does not imply causation. This is shown even clearer when Betty Mikesell-Bailey, “the school-improvement resource teacher at Decatur”(Viadero ), says that test scores have increased since the school required students to wear uniforms. However, Mikesell-Bailey could not prove how this was a correlation. Despite this, she still claimed that “[s]he’s fairly certain, though, that the policy has cut down on the teasing to which middle school children subject one another.” Brunsma made it clear that there was no correlation between uniforms and test scores. Brunsma further his argument by saying that uniforms do not “cultivate student self-esteem and motivation [or] balance the social-status differences”(Viadero). Uniforms actually cost a great deal of money, and kids can still bully other kids over the smallest thing, such as a hole in a shoe or even the type of pants they are wearing compared to others’. Brunsma argued that the uniform industry has been taken over by large clothing names like Land’ End Inc, which lead the school uniform industry since 1997, and French Toast, which Decatur middle school got their uniforms from. Students were clearly not a big fan of uniforms. They are arguing these uniforms can be uncomfortable and the have students lost individuality, “‘People can’t be who they are if they have to wear the same thing every day,’ says Alexis Richardson, who’s also in 7th grade”(Viadero). Despite this, school officials would say that uniforms help with being togetherness and recognizable to the school. Mikesell-Bailey stated that it was easier to recognize their students when they are outside, “‘When I see the uniform, I always stop, because I know it’s one of my children,” she says”(Viadero). Brunsma argues that the school should take into account the students’ point of view. He believes that if they looked into the history of uniforms, you can see how students would feel less than other kids without uniforms, “Some of his historical research suggests, for example, that school uniforms originated in England in the 16th century as a way to signal the lower-class status of some children”(Viadero).

They looked into a school with an optional school uniform policy in New Hampshire, the school, Highland-Goffe’s Falls Elementary School, stated that the few students that did not wear uniform, had a harder time being able to transfer the students into other schools where they could wear what they wanted, “We had seven very negative parents out of 454 families,” says Paul. “Those seven children never wore uniforms, which, from my point of view, kind of derailed us” (Viadero ). The school had to stop wearing school uniforms, even though it decreases the about of bully going on in the school. Brunsma was very unsure as to how these facts were even put out. He felt that the school district’s arguments were very problematic for two reasons. He felt that it was wrong for them to look at just one school district because some schools can be the outlier. Furthermore, he believed that the school failed to mention the dynamics changed that happened in this school, “Brunsma says newer case studies looking at uniform-adoption efforts in schools in Baltimore, Denver, and Aldine, Texas, a suburban Houston district—all of which also point to positive effects—have an additional shortcoming”(Viadero). These were some of the schools that he was able to look at in his research.

Overall, it could be said that school uniforms work for different schools. In some school, we see that school uniforms changed what advocates hoped that they would. In other schools, we don’t quite see the correlation. Because there is not a clear answer, researcher and advocates disagree on this topic all the time. The key ideas that they disagree on are uniforms are less costly for low-income households, uniforms promote academic achievement, and having uniforms does not hinder student views on themselves. We see these ideas being pushed at the forefront when President Clinton gave his address and school began to look into the effects it had on their school. Nonetheless, research like Brunsma looks across school districts. This big difference that has been shown here is how over time, who are school districts focused on and who researcher focused on.

Work Cited 

Clinton Bill “State of the Union Address.” National Archives and Records Administration , National Archives and Records Administration, 23 Jan. 19996,

DeMitchell, Todd A.; Fossey, Richard; Cobb, Casey. “Dress Codes in the Public Schools: Principals, Policies, and Precepts,” Journal of Law & Education vol. 29, no. 1 (January 2000): p. 31-50. HeinOnline, .

Geddis, Carol. “School Uniforms Reduce Distractions, Aid Safety – Education Week.” Education Week , Accessed 3 May 2019.

Mitchell, Alison. “Clinton Will Advise Schools on Uniforms.” The New York Times , 25 Feb. 1996 ,

“Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District.” Wikipedia , Wikimedia Foundation, 18 Apr. 2019,

Viadero, Debra. “Uniform Effects?” – Education Week.” Education Week , Jan. 2005. Education Week ,

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The Pros and Cons of School Uniforms for Students

 SolStock / Getty Images

Student Safety

Focus on education, attendance rates, discipline issues, dress code enforcement, cost for families, impact on self-esteem.

The debate over whether students should wear school uniforms has been going on for more than a decade. Some people argue that uniforms have a positive impact on the school environment by promoting inclusivity, confidence, and a sense of belonging. Others fear that school uniforms prevent kids from expressing themselves through their clothing choices.

The research on school uniforms is often mixed. While some schools have found uniforms to be beneficial, other research has found that they have little effect. Some studies have even reached the conclusion that requiring school uniforms can be harmful for students.

Let's take a closer look at some of the potential benefits, as well as the challenges, of requiring students to wear uniforms.

Some people think that school uniforms can help make schools safer for kids. When Long Beach, CA, required all students in grades K–8 to wear uniforms, reports of assault and battery decreased by 34%.

Additionally, assault with a deadly weapon decreased by 50%, fighting incidents declined 51%, and sex offenses dropped by 74%. Possession of weapons dropped by 52%, possession of drugs went down 69%, and vandalism was lowered by 18%.  

The Sparks Middle School in Nevada reported a decrease in gang activity after instituting a uniform policy. They also reported a drop in fights, graffiti, property damage, and battery. Overall, there was a 63% drop in police reports.

Other proponents of school uniforms report that it prevents students from concealing weapons under clothing. And some also believe intruders would be recognized faster, making the students and staff safer in the event someone from the community tries to enter the school.

Not all studies have found that uniforms reduce discipline issues, however. In fact, a peer-reviewed study found that school uniforms increased the average number of assaults by about 14 per year in the most violent schools.  The Miami-Dade County Public Schools Office of Education Evaluation and Management found that fights in middle schools nearly doubled within one year of making uniforms mandatory.  

For many students, clothing can be a major source of stress. Not having certain brand name clothing or not wearing fashionable items could lead to feelings of insecurity. 

Some people feel students are better able to concentrate on school when they all wear the same clothing. Researchers in Australia noted that students who wear uniforms had improved discipline and academic performance.  

Not all studies have found that uniforms improve grades, however. In fact, at least one study found that school uniforms had a negative effect on achievement.  

Kids may show up to school more often when they’re wearing uniforms. A study by researchers at the University of Houston found that the average attendance rate for girls in middle and high school increased by 0.3 to 0.4 percent after school uniforms became mandatory.   A study by Youngstown State University also found that attendance rates increased and suspensions decreased once students began wearing uniforms.   

Students may also be more likely to show up to school on time when they have to wear uniforms. If they don’t have to spend time choosing what to wear every morning, students are able to get out the door more quickly. This means fewer late arrivals.

Proponents of uniforms report that it can improve behavior in students. One school that found this to be true is the John Adams Middle School in Albuquerque, NM. When they mandated school uniforms, discipline referrals dropped from 1,565 in the first semester of the previous year to 405.    

An Australian study also concluded that students wearing uniforms were more disciplined and they listened significantly better. Classes were also more likely to start on time.  

Not all studies have found this, however. Some research has found that disciplinary issues and bullying didn’t decrease after instituting a mandatory uniform policy.

Many school officials spend a lot of time policing dress codes . Enforcing policies can require a lot of resources as teachers may send kids to the office, and administrators have to determine whether clothing is too baggy, inappropriate, or revealing.

Kids who violate dress codes may spend a lot of time in the office awaiting consequences, or they may receive suspensions for repeated violations. School uniforms can keep kids in the classroom more and prevent staff from wasting time trying to enforce policies.

Parents may spend less money on school clothes when kids wear uniforms. There is less pressure to buy expensive name-brand clothing, and school uniforms might be more affordable.

Opponents of school uniforms, however, say that requiring parents to buy specific articles of clothing goes against the idea that students should be given free education. When public schools force parents to buy uniforms, this could be placing a hardship on some families.

Proponents of uniforms report that they have a positive impact on student self-esteem .   Wearing the same clothing as everyone else means that students don’t have to worry about whether their clothing choices will be acceptable to their peers.

But opponents argue that uniforms may have a negative impact on some students’ body image. Research conducted at Arizona State University found that students without uniform policies actually reported higher self-perception scores than students with uniform policies.  

When all students wear the same clothing, they may be more likely to compare themselves to their peers as clothing fits differently on everyone’s body.

The Problem With Uniform Research

Although there are many studies that examine the potential benefits and drawbacks of uniforms, many of them revealed correlation, rather than causation. Just because grades went up or behavioral problems went down, there’s no way of knowing that the reason for the change was due to uniform policy. There are many other factors that may have influenced these issues.

A Word From Verywell

Before any school adopts a uniform policy, it may be wise to review the literature. While there certainly may be a lot of benefits to making uniforms mandatory, there are also some potential drawbacks and challenges you might face. Parents, teachers, and administrators may want to weigh the pros and cons before instituting any type of clothing policy for students.

Stanley S. School uniforms and safety . Educ Urban Society. 1996;28(4 ): 424-435. doi:10.1177/0013124596028004003

Nevada Today. College of Education researchers conduct study on impacts of school uniforms .

Granberg-Rademacker JS, Bumgarner J, Johnson A. Do school violence policies matter? An empirical analysis of four approaches to reduce school violence . Southwest J Criminal Justice . 2007;4(1):3-29.

Sun Sentinel. 9 more schools to have students wear uniforms .

Baumann C, Krskova H. School discipline, school uniforms and academic performance . Int J Educ Manage . 2016;30(6):1003-1029. doi:10.1108/IJEM-09-2015-0118

McBrayer S. The school uniform movement and what it tells us about American education: A symbolic crusade, by David L. Brunsma . J Catholic Educ . 2007;11(1). doi:10.15365/joce.1101122013

Gentile E, Imberman S. Dressed for success? The effect of school uniforms on student achievement and behavior . 2011. doi:10.3386/w17337

Draa VAB. School uniforms in urban public high schools . Dissertation: Youngstown State University; 2005.  

Lumsden L, Gabriel Miller G. Dress codes and uniforms . Research Roundup: National Association of Elementary School Principals . 2002;18(4):1-5.

Wade KK, Stafford ME. Public school uniforms: Effect on perceptions of gang presence, school climate, and student self-perceptions . Educ Urban Society . 2003;35(4):399-420. doi:10.1177/0013124503255002

By Amy Morin, LCSW Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She's also a psychotherapist, an international bestselling author of books on mental strength and host of The Verywell Mind Podcast. She delivered one of the most popular TEDx talks of all time.

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Argumentative Essay: School Uniform

The idea of school uniforms seems like an antiquated concept for many North Americans. Unless a child attends private school, it is not normally practiced by children and families. Yet around the world, wearing school uniforms is the norm. Students studying in schools requiring school uniforms generally perform very well academically and seem happy wearing the same outfit every day. There are many benefits to wearing school uniforms that schools in Canada and the United States should incorporate into their public schools.

One of the biggest concerns in schools these days is bullying . Students are harassed physically, verbally, and socially. The latest trend in bullying is cyberbullying. Often, the cause of bullying stems from people being different for not wearing the “right” clothes. If someone looks richer, most people feel like they have a higher social status or more power. To the contrary, uniforms allow children to learn on a more level playing field, with less judgment about clothing choices, brands of clothing, or physical appearance.

A lot of students who wear uniforms claim that they feel more proud of their school. Wearing school colors gives students a feeling of being more connected to their school and classmates. If there is a sense of community and connectedness among the students, the use of foul language, gang behavior, and crimes like vandalism are largely eliminated. Wearing school uniforms can also help people gain more self-confidence because they know they are a part of something bigger.

One of the main concerns people have about wearing school uniforms is conformity. People fear that by making children look the same, their individuality will be suppressed. However, this is not the case. Accessories, such as bracelets and hair clips, can jazz up a school uniform. Besides, students can wear their own clothing after school and during weekends. An individual’s personality is not wholly expressed by fashion alone. Personality is determined by the way a person moves, feels, thinks, and talks. Wearing a school uniform neither defines a child’s personality nor erases it.

There are even more advantages to wearing school uniforms in public schools in addition to those previously mentioned. It means lower costs for parents during back-to-school shopping. However, the idea that bullying might be alleviated is the leading reason why schools should implement the wearing of uniforms. The other is the fostering of school pride. Students will not lose their personality but will merely learn new ways to express themselves.

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Home — Essay Samples — Education — School Uniform — Why Students Should Not Wear Uniforms: An Analysis of Arguments


Why Students Should not Wear Uniforms: an Analysis of Arguments

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Published: Sep 7, 2023

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Limiting expression and creativity, promoting conformity and obedience, financial burden and inequality, promoting inclusivity and equality.

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argument paper on school uniforms

Why School Uniforms Are a Bad Idea

Cost, Limited Self-Expression, Conformity Top List

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Michelle Kouzmine is a stay-at-home mother to two very fashionable and demanding young girls. She spends her time raising her family, freelance writing and shopping.

School uniforms—some love them and some hate them. There seems to be a big rift between school uniform supporters and those against school uniforms . So what's the deal? Let's look at some of the reasons those who oppose wearing a school uniform say it isn't a good idea.

Wearing a Uniform Limits Self-Expression

The most common argument against school uniforms is that they limit personal expression. Kids and teens use they way they dress to express themselves and to identify with certain social groups. Many students who are against school uniforms argue that they lose their self-identity when they lose their right to express themselves through fashion. The courts have even weighed in on this. Based on the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1969 that "it can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate."  The First U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 1970 that "compelled conformity to conventional standards of appearance" does not "seem a justifiable part of the educational process." 

The Initial Cost

It can be costly to buy school uniforms. Some schools specify a certain manufacturer or store to ensure uniformity, making it harder to find competitive pricing. So unlike in a school where uniforms are not required, parents have little control over how much they must spend on their children's clothing. Other schools may require a variety of uniforms, some for daily wear, more formal uniforms for special occasions, and yet another outfit for gym class. 

The website CostHelper Education reports that a full uniform outfit can cost from $25 to $200 depending on the school and retailer, with a full wardrobe of uniforms ranging from $100 to $600 for four or five mix-and-match outfits.

The Comfort Factor

Kids are very specific about what they are comfortable wearing. Some kids are sensitive to certain materials while others are opposed to buttons, zippers, and restrictive clothing. Some children are also uncomfortable wearing certain styles of clothing. Many girls, for example, do not like to wear skirts or dresses, which most girls' uniforms require. No uniform can suit all children, and there is little that can be done about this if it is an issue for your child.

Uniforms Promote Conformity

In an era where diversity is on the rise and schools and society are attempting to teach tolerance and positive awareness of differences, requiring schoolchildren to wear uniforms emphasizes sameness and conformity. It encourages tribalism and the idea that having independent thought is not a good thing. It sends the message that being the same is positive and something to be striven for, the right way for the world to be, rather than a message that differences and independent thought and action should be valued. 

Additionally, it can cause an issue for children and teens who have questions about their gender identification. It forces them to conform to gender stereotypes in their dress; most uniforms consist of skirts for girls and pants for boys. For example, if a girl feels she might be more comfortable in boyish outfits, she is blocked from making that choice if she is in a school that requires uniforms where she is forced to wear skirts. This choice could go mostly unnoticed in a school where uniforms were not required, and she could feel more comfortable in her dress choices.

Uniforms Negatively Affect Self-Image

The website reports that Robyn Silverman, a child and teenager development specialist, told NBC News' "Today" show: "As a body image expert, I hear from students all the time that they feel it (wearing uniforms) allows for a lot of comparison. ... So if you have a body that’s a plus-size body, a curvier body, a very tall body, a very short body, those girls often feel that they don't look their best."

What this means is if you are not required to wear a uniform, you are free to choose clothing styles that are more flattering to your particular body type and coloring, which allows you to look your best. And straight-up comparisons are not as obvious as they are when everyone has on exactly the same clothing.

Teenage girls and boys are especially sensitive about body image, and feelings of insecurity in this area can have lasting effects.

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Writing help, paraphrasing tool, school uniforms: a controversial issue.

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School uniforms have been a controversial issue in the United States. Students, teachers, and parents have varied feelings about the need for students to wear uniforms. While some point to the need for all learners to look alike and for discipline purposed, others contend that the requirement for all learners to wear uniforms takes away students’ freedom of self-expression. Despite the reasons identified by opponents, school uniforms are necessary for schools and all stakeholders need to embrace it.

School uniforms not only create a sense of equality, but they also increase the safety of the students. Wearing uniforms can help teachers spot students in a crowd so no student goes missing on a field trip (Perez). They also help identify campus intruders who happen to stick out like a sore thumb, thus increasing the safety of students (Perez). According to a study published in 2000, schools see a decrease in gang incidence and school violence when they implement and enforce a school uniform. When compared to schools that don’t have a school uniform policy, the result is significant.

School uniforms contribute to a better discipline in everyday school operations (Baumann, Krskova). When teachers create a discipline environment, students tend to peak performance which leads to better academics. When students all wear the same outfit, they are less concerned about they look or how they may fit in, therefore they can concentrate on their schoolwork. In addition, by wearing uniforms it helps the student get dressed faster allowing them extra time for sleeping or studying (Gentile, Imberman). Some students take hours to get ready for school which can result in lack of sleep, having uniforms would allow them to get dressed within a matter of minutes.

A less renowned theory regarding the pros of school uniforms is the halo effect. According to researcher Marc Posner, the halo effect raises the idea that while uniforms may not change student behavior, uniforms may change the way teachers and other adults view the students who wear them. In a study of the correlation of student clothing and teacher and student perceptions, Dorothy Behling of Bowling Green University found that teachers and students

There are a lot of families that worry about not be able to afford uniforms. Since no child can be denied an education because of economic disadvantage, all schools requiring uniforms must include provisions to assist low-income families. However, uniforms are considerably cheaper to buy than non-uniform clothes, and the students can wear them every day and it isn’t considered unusual. Parents can buy a few pairs of uniforms for under $100, while parents of non-uniform-wearing students can spend from several hundreds’ up to $1,000 a year on clothing. Parents find that buying a couple pairs of school uniforms is cheaper than having to buy clothing that are name brand and in trend with the current year.

While research on the use of uniforms is continuing, they have been proven to raise test scores, boost self-esteem, reduce violence and crime, and create a sense of equality in students. They help children to concentrate on learning and academics instead of what everyone else is wearing or whether they fit in. Uniforms may not be the answer to all the problems in the world that students and teachers face but research and statistics say it might be a step in the right path.

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Argumentative essay on school uniforms: advice for both sides.

There are problems, when the correct side doesn`t seem to exist. Those issues are the most appropriate to be written about in argumentative essays. Thus, you can support your point of view writing an argumentative essay on school uniforms. Having taken any side you will be able to use convincing arguments.

The School Uniform Issue

Before you actually start telling your point of view and providing arguments, explain the situation to your reader. It is also necessary to tell different points of view on the issue in general. Thus, in your introduction you should tell that there is a discussion about wearing uniforms. Some people think that students must wear it, and other have an opposite opinion. It is necessary to finish your introduction with a well-written thesis statement, showing your approach and main arguments.

Arguments for School Uniforms

If you think, that it is necessary for students to wear uniform, here are some arguments for you to use while writing.

Argument #1: Safety

When all of the students are dressed the same way, it is easily to recognize a stranger. This decreases the crime rate and contributes to students feeling safer at schools.

Argument #2: Proper Accents

School is not a podium and its main aim is to teach students, not to give them a possibility to show off. If students are dressed the same way, they understand better the purpose of coming to school and their attention won`t be distracted to some side things.

Argument #3: Equality

Wearing the same uniform solves the issue of social inequality between students. There won`t be students, who dress more fashionable, or whose clothing is more expensive. This will reduce the pressure to the students from less successful families.

Argument #3: Spirit of Unity

Uniform introducing contributes to team building. Students feel a part of a big friendly team, which has common aims and pride.

Argument #4: Saving Money

The school uniform helps parents to save money on clothing. They can simply purchase 2 sets instead for school instead of paying hundreds to provide their children with lots of outfits to wear.

Arguments against School Uniforms

Most students do not like wearing school uniforms, so they tend to take this side more often.

Argument #1: Limit of Expression

The first and the main argument is that school uniforms limit possibilities for students to express their personalities. This contradicts the opportunity to free self-expression supported by law.

Argument #2: Social Issues

This is a common thing, that there are better and worse schools. Therefore, students from different ones will be easily recognized in society, and members of worse schools will be pressed.

Argument #3: Contradiction to Free Education

The education is free of charge according to law. However, the introducing of the school uniforms will make parents buy at least two sets of school uniform. If a student is changing schools, this will be an issue.

Argument #4: Personality Growing Up

Adults can make their own choice on what to wear. Thus, as students are told what to wear in school, this may prevent their psychological growing up.

Points to Include to an Argumentative Essay on School Uniforms

To improve your essay on school uniforms:

  • Include numbers and other statistical data. Numbers help to support your opinion more efficiently.
  • Separate different arguments into separate paragraphs. This will contribute to clarity of your point.
  • Contact a professional writer for assistance. He will help you to organize your thought into a better coherent and convincing text.

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Should Students Wear School Uniforms Essay (Tips and Sample)

School uniforms essay

School uniforms are a hotly contested debate, which makes it a controversial topic preferred for school essays. Even though writing a school uniform essay should be easy, students' confessions after being assigned both long and short essays on school uniform show mixed results. Most students who have been given an essay on school uniforms have highlighted it as exciting and tricky.

Well, to write an essay that will score you an excellent grade, you need to understand your perspective, viewpoint, or stand before writing. As yourself, whether you will support school uniforms or you will be against them in your essay.

In most cases, the essay can be argumentative where you argue either for or against, then proceed to state your stand on whether or not you support school uniforms in learning institutions. You can also write an informative essay or a persuasive school uniform essay.

This article covers some aspects to consider when writing such an essay, some suitable topics, and general advice on how to write an outstanding school uniforms essay.

How to begin a School Uniforms Essay

You aim to demystify the school uniforms debate. Therefore, you need to strategize on how to begin the essay. Like other essays, starting with an essay hook would make it interesting to the readers. After the hook, head straight to writing some background information on school uniforms. You can then incorporate a thesis statement that presents your central stance on the paper.

Here is a sample school uniform hook:

A recent study by North Dakota State University revealed that an average American household spends close to 3.8% of their income on clothing, translating to approximately $2000 annually per household.

The hook above is essential when you argue from a cost perspective where you say that school uniforms save families from expenditures on buying different clothes for kids, which equalizes the rich and poor households.

In your background, you can try reference instances when school uniforms have stirred public debates. Inform your reader about these debates and highlight the key issues you will handle in your essay.

At the end of the introduction paragraph, state your thesis statement.

What goes to the body of a school uniform essay?

With the introduction done, you now need to develop the body paragraphs. As a general rule, always maintain a single idea per paragraph. If you are doing your essay in a five-paragraph essay format, ensure that the body of your essay takes 80% of the total word count while the introduction and the conclusion each take 10%.  

Here are some key ideas you can incorporate in the body of your essay:

  • Explain the essence of having school uniforms on students, teachers, and learning institutions. Issues such as security and safety, uniformity, and promoting togetherness or unity as benefits. It is easy to spot a student in uniform. School uniforms also enforce some self-respect and self-worth among students. As well, uniforms foster a sense of belonging among students.
  • Explore the issue from a cost-saving perspective for the parents. Unlike having different clothes daily, having a few pieces of school uniforms reduces the expenditure per household.
  • Connect school uniforms to issues such as creativity, comfort, and affordability. Lack of funds, for instance, can hinder some families from sending their children to school as they have no school uniforms.
  • You can also present the pros and cons of school uniforms
  • Connect the school uniforms to identity formation
  • School uniforms equalize students, which boosts their self-confidence
  • School uniform makes students not be imaginative
  • In the end, present recommendations that can solve the school uniform quagmire in schools

Like any other essay, ensure that your essay about school uniforms is engaging. Take a multi-stakeholder approach if you are recommending a policy.

If you have real-life examples of how school uniforms are beneficial, present them to support your body paragraphs. As you strive to present your viewpoints, ensure that each paragraph transitions to the next paragraph.

If possible, benchmark your arguments on schools that have successfully implemented school uniforms.

How to end an essay on school uniform

Like the introduction, the conclusion of your essay matters a lot. It can be the only place a marker checks to know what your stance was when writing your school uniforms essay.

Let your readers know whether school uniforms are good or not. Do not just stop there explore the why and why not for each of your points.

If there are recommendations, especially if you were writing an essay based on a school uniforms case study, present them in the conclusion.

DO not introduce new ideas that are not in your essay. However, crystalize and relate to your thesis and make sure your readers enjoy your essay to the last dot.

Sample School Uniforms Essay Topics

School uniform essays differ in perspective or stance, which hugely depends on the choice of topic. We can advise you to choose a school essay topic that has practical points and one that you can support with evidence from scholarly literature.

  • Is school uniform a good thing?
  • The importance of school uniforms
  • Should students wear uniforms?
  • Pros and Cons of school uniforms
  • The negative impacts of school uniforms
  • Rhetorical analysis of school uniforms
  • Positive effects of school uniforms
  • Are school uniforms a dress for success?
  • Why schools should have uniforms
  • History of school dress code
  • School uniforms in private and public schools
  • Should all schools have the same uniform?
  • Are school uniforms necessary?
  • School uniforms and diversity
  • School uniforms and student discipline
  • Comparison of school uniforms in U.S. and Japan

School Uniforms Essay Check List

With your essay written, ensure that it ticks most if not all these lists of facts that make a school uniform score great grades.

  • Does the essay have a great hook?
  • Is the background of your introduction relatable to the selected topic?
  • Does the introduction have supporting facts from scholarly sources?
  • Does your introduction have a clear thesis statement?
  • Is the main idea clearly illustrated in the body?
  • Does each body paragraph have an idea of its own?
  • Does the essay have transition words for effective flow?
  • Does the body discuss important concepts?
  • Is the body paragraph having an opening sentence, facts, and closing sentence?
  • Has all borrowed information been cited?
  • Does the essay have strong evidence?
  • Is the essay grammatically correct?
  • Is the conclusion a summary of the argument?
  • Has the thesis been restated?
  • Is the conclusion flowing with the body of the essay?
  • Has the essay used formal language?
  • Are the sentences free from unnecessary words?
  • Is the grammar and spelling in the essay correct?
  • Are the references correct?
  • Are the references recent?
  • Are the sources used credible?
  • Does the essay have a title and reference page?

Sample Argumentative Essay on Should Students Wear School Uniforms

Disclaimer – DO NOT COPY this sample essay. It is meant to help you see how you can present your essay ideas given your perspective/viewpoint. Submitting any part of this essay as your own might land you in trouble. We will not be in any way be a party to such consequences. If you need a model essay based on your selected topic for research purposes, please place an order or contact our support team for assistance with outlines, potential references, and some ideas on writing an excellent essay on school uniforms.

Numerous debates have been carried out on whether students should wear uniforms or not. Parents, teachers, students, and school administrations have all given their views on school uniforms with different arguments and opinions on all sides. Supporters of school uniforms argue that school uniforms are essential as they give students an identity and foster discipline, while others argue that uniforms are annoying, uncomfortable, and lack creativity. Regardless of the position one takes on students wearing uniforms, it is clear that uniforms are an essential part of students, and students wearing uniforms is more advantageous to both the students and schools. Thus, all students should wear uniforms as the uniforms instill a sense of discipline and identity, erase differences between the students, and are less costly (thesis statement)

School uniforms eliminate the differences between students in regard to their social and economic backgrounds ( School uniforms promote equality ) . Schools have students from different social and economic backgrounds. The school environment has students from both poor and rich families. Hence, uniforms are important as they are modest and identical clothing that propagate a sense of equality among the students (Freeburg and Workman, 6). Accordingly, all students should wear school uniforms to avoid a situation where some students feel inadequate for being able to afford expensive clothing like their more affluent counterparts. A learning environment and education, in general, are supposed to bridge the social-economic differences that exist in society.

Parents can save much money that would otherwise go to buying a wide variety of school clothes for their children ( school uniforms save parents money spent on clothing ). School uniforms provide a cheaper and more consistent alternative to regular clothing. If students are allowed to wear regular clothing to school, parents and guardians have to buy clothes that are in line with the latest fashion trends and the individual tastes of their children, both of which can be expensive. In this case, students should wear school uniforms that are affordable and identical to save parents money that can be used for more important things (Baumann and Krskova 1003). Affordability is essential for parents considering the enormous expenses associated with bringing up children in the modern era. Therefore, all students should wear uniforms as uniforms protect the financial interest of the parents and guardians.

Wearing school uniforms saves teachers, students, and administrators valuable time ( Bringing in the time-saving perspective of school uniforms ). Without uniforms, teachers and schools, administrators spend significant amounts of time regulating the dress code. For instance, time wasted deciding which clothes are appropriate, what skirt-size is too short, among other issues that arise in regulating regular clothes to make appropriate for the school environment (Ruggerone 573). Such challenges would not exist if all students wore uniforms. Consequently, students also waste valuable time because of the distractions that might be caused by clothes that their peers are wearing. Therefore, to eliminate time wastage and distractions in school, students should wear uniforms.

According to individuals and parties who oppose school uniforms, the uniforms limit the personal expression of students and can forcibly define gender roles for the children as girls have to wear skirts and boys’ trousers ( school uniforms stifle independence and creativity) - COUNTERARGUMENT . People express themselves through their clothes, which means that forcing students to wear uniforms affects their personal expressions (Masuch and Hefferon 227). Additionally, uniforms are gender-specific, which means that they can negatively impact the personalities of students as they are forced to wear uniforms that they do not feel reflect what they want to be or do with their lives. Thus, as the proponents against school uniforms argue, uniforms should be eliminated as they infringe on the independence of young students.

To sum up, there are numerous arguments that either support or oppose the wearing of uniforms by students. Supporters of school uniforms claim that uniforms give students a sense of identity and discipline, enhance social and economic equality, and save costs. On the other side, proponents against school uniforms claim that school uniforms limit the personal expression of students and force them into specified gender roles. Judging from the advantages and disadvantages of uniforms, it is clear that all students should wear uniforms as they distinguish students from civilians and enhance equality in the school environment.

Baumann, Chris, and Hana Krskova. "School discipline, school uniforms, and academic performance." International Journal of Educational Management 30.6 (2016): 1003-1029.

Freeburg, Beth W., and Jane E. Workman. "Dress Codes and Uniforms." Encyclopedia of Adolescence (2016): 1-13.

Masuch, Christoph-Simon, and Kate Hefferon. "Understanding the links between positive psychology and fashion: A grounded theory analysis." International Journal of Fashion Studies 1.2 (2014): 227-246.

Ruggerone, Lucia. "The feeling of being dressed: Affect studies and the clothed body." Fashion Theory 21.5 (2017): 573-593.

argument paper on school uniforms

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12+ School Uniform Pros and Cons (For and Against Debate)

argument paper on school uniforms

Have you ever wondered why some schools require uniforms while others let you wear whatever you want?

It's a hot topic, and people have been arguing about it for a long time. Today, we're not just talking about whether uniforms look cool or not, but we're diving into the psychological impacts they can have on students.

Your school clothes might be doing more than just covering you up; they might be affecting your brain in ways you didn't even think about.

School uniforms are not just about what you wear; they can also influence how you think! In this article, we'll talk about:

  • How uniforms can make everyone feel more equal but also less special
  • Why they might make it easier to choose what to wear but harder to show who you are
  • What psychologists and research tell us about this big school debate

So, put on your thinking cap—uniform or not—and let's explore what experts and studies say about the pros and cons of school uniforms.

School Uniform History

school uniform examples

Around the 16th century in England, the first school uniforms weren't even for everyday students like most of us. They were made for charity schools, which were for kids who didn't have much money.

The uniforms were there to help everyone know which kids were from those schools. They were simple and plain, and they made sure everyone looked the same. But as time went on, more and more schools started using uniforms, not just the charity ones.

By the 19th century, the uniform trend had caught on in many other places, including the United States. But the reasons for wearing them started to change.

Schools started thinking: "Hey, if everyone's wearing the same thing, then no one can make fun of someone else's clothes." Or: "If everyone looks neat and tidy, then it's easier to focus on studying." It was around this time that schools began to see uniforms as a way to help students feel more equal and keep distractions away.

Now, fast forward to today. The idea behind school uniforms is kind of like a big salad with lots of ingredients. Some people think they're super helpful for keeping schools safe. Others believe they make it easier to get dressed in the morning without fussing over what to wear. And some just like how they look.

But not everything is rosy. Some folks argue, "Hey, I want to show who I am with my clothes. Why should I wear the same thing as everyone else?" This is especially visible in the way different cliques fit into stereotypes , such as the popular kids wearing bright colors and the goths wearing all black.

Others worry about how much these uniforms might cost, especially for families that might not have a lot of money.

As you can see, the school uniform journey is full of twists and turns, like a wild roller coaster ride. But one thing's for sure: it's not just about fashion; it's also about feelings, thoughts, and how we see ourselves and others.

The whole debate about uniforms also has some big brain stuff behind it. For example, psychologists—those are people who study how our minds work—have had a lot to say about how uniforms might make us feel. Some think they help create a team spirit, while others think they squash our creativity.

No matter which side of the fence you're on, there's no denying that the simple school uniform carries a lot of weight. From its early days in old England to its role in modern schools, the uniform has been a source of comfort for some and conflict for others. As we dig deeper into the pros and cons, we'll uncover even more about this age-old debate.

School Uniform Pros

1) psychological equality.

First on our list is the idea that uniforms can make everyone feel more equal. When you see a whole bunch of kids wearing the same thing, it's tough to know who's got the coolest or most expensive clothes.

Dr. David Brunsma, a sociologist who has written extensively about school uniforms , suggests that this kind of equality can help lower the chances of kids getting picked on or bullied for what they're wearing.

Imagine you're playing a team sport. If everyone's wearing the same jersey, you're all focused on the game, not on who's got the flashiest gear. This is sorta what uniforms do in schools. They can help students focus on what really matters, like learning and making friends, instead of worrying about who's wearing what. This could make it less likely for students to get bullied for their clothes.

2) Reduced Decision Fatigue

Next up is a psychological idea called " decision fatigue ." Ever felt tired from just picking your outfit in the morning? Well, psychologist Roy F. Baumeister talks about how making too many decisions can actually make your brain tired . Having a uniform takes away one choice you have to make, helping you save that brainpower for more important things like schoolwork.

3) Sense of Belonging

Here comes a heartwarming point: uniforms can make you feel like you're part of a team.

Dr. Angela Wright, who has studied the psychology behind uniforms, says that this sense of belonging can make students feel more connected and secure in school. Some research even shows that when kids feel like they fit in, they're more likely to be nice to each other and do well in their classes.

4) Fostering Discipline and Focus

Last but not least, let's talk about discipline. Dr. Alex Rentz, who has researched how uniforms impact student behavior, believes that wearing a uniform can help students focus better. It's like when a firefighter puts on their uniform; they know it's time to get serious and do their job. The same can go for students. That uniform is like a signal to your brain saying, "Hey, it's time to learn!"

So there you have it! These are some of the top reasons why people think school uniforms are a win. But hold your horses! It's not all sunshine and rainbows. In our next section, we're gonna look at why some folks think school uniforms are not so great.

School Uniform Cons

three students in uniforms

It's time to switch gears and talk about the reasons some people and experts give school uniforms a big thumbs-down. Trust us, it's not just about wanting to wear the latest fashion trends; it's a lot deeper than that, and it has a lot to do with how we think and feel.

1) Suppressing Individuality

Let's kick things off with one of the biggest arguments against school uniforms: they can squash your individuality. Dr. Christopher Lubienski, an education expert, says that uniforms can make it harder for students to express their unique personalities.

When you're stuck wearing the same thing as everyone else, you can't show off your personal style or let the world know a little bit about who you are.

2) Financial Strain

Next, we have to talk about money. Uniforms can cost a lot, and for families that are already tight on cash, this can be a big burden.

Dr. Elaine Schwartz, an economist who has looked into the financial aspects of school uniforms, points out that some families might struggle to pay for these mandatory clothes. And let's not forget about growth spurts; kids can outgrow uniforms quickly, leading to more expenses.

3) Contradicts Freedom of Expression

Now, let's get into some serious business: freedom of expression. This is something that psychologists like Dr. Alan Hilfer have talked about. He says that being able to choose your clothes is a way to express yourself and your opinions. In a country that values freedom, making everyone wear the same thing can feel like a big step backward.

4) Potential for Rebellion

Last on our list, believe it or not, is that uniforms can actually make some students act out. Dr. David L. Brunsma, who we mentioned earlier, also points out that some studies show wearing uniforms can make students feel like they're being controlled too much. And when people feel controlled, they sometimes do the opposite of what's expected, just to show they can.

So there you have it! These are some of the key reasons why some people aren't so hot on the idea of school uniforms. As you can see, it's a debate that brings out strong feelings and arguments from both sides.

Up next, we'll dive into what some important studies and theories have to say about all this.

School Uniform Theories

Let's move on to some studies and theories that have tackled the school uniform debate. These studies help us understand the nitty-gritty of why uniforms can be good or bad.

1) Social Identity Theory

First up, let's talk about something called Social Identity Theory . This was developed by psychologist Henri Tajfel, and it explores how people identify with groups.

When students wear uniforms, they're all part of the same "group," at least in appearance. This can create a sense of unity, but it can also make students feel like they're just one of many, losing their personal identity.

This theory helps us understand the balance between belonging and individuality that uniforms bring into play.

2) Self-Determination Theory

Another important theory is the Self-Determination Theory by psychologists Edward Deci and Richard Ryan.

This theory explains that people need to feel some control over their actions to be happy and successful. For some kids, being told what to wear every day might go against this need for personal control, which can lead to feeling unhappy or even acting out in rebellion, like Dr. David L. Brunsma mentioned in the previous section.

3) Empirical Studies

On the research front, there have been many studies, but let's focus on one by Dr. Jafeth Sanchez and Dr. George Mitchell. They conducted a study on school uniforms and concluded that uniforms didn't seem to significantly impact academic performance, but they did note some improvements in school climate, like fewer fights and less bullying.

4) Cost-Benefit Analyses

Last but not least, economists have done what's called cost-benefit analyses, where they weigh the good and bad sides of uniforms.

Economists like Dr. Elaine Schwartz, who we mentioned earlier, have said that the financial strain of buying uniforms might not always be worth the benefits they bring, especially for low-income families.

So there you have it, folks! From theories that dig deep into our need for belonging and control, to studies that look at how uniforms actually play out in real life, the uniform debate is chock-full of interesting angles. What we've learned is that there's no easy answer. Like a seesaw, the pros and cons keep tipping the scale back and forth.

School Uniforms According to Kids

fancy purse

It's good to know the formal theories, but let's hear from the real experts—kids themselves! After all, they're the ones wearing these uniforms day in and day out. What they say may surprise you!

They Like Being Treated Equally

Many kids actually like wearing uniforms because it levels the playing field. They say it stops "clothing competition" where some kids might show off expensive or fashionable items. In a way, uniforms can act as a great equalizer, making everyone appear the same at first glance.

But it's important to remember that while uniforms might match, accessories or technology, like iphones and laptops, might not. So uniforms don't completely eliminate competition.

They Want to Show Their Style

On the flip side, a lot of kids feel uniforms cramp their style. They want the freedom to show who they are through their clothes. For them, being made to wear the same outfit every day feels like their personal identity is being stifled.

Comfort Matters

Let's not forget about comfort! Many students point out that some uniforms are just not comfortable to wear for a whole school day. Whether it's stiff collars or itchy fabric, comfort is a big deal when you're sitting in class, trying to focus on learning.

A Mix Would Be Nice

Interestingly, some kids propose a compromise: uniforms on some days and casual clothes on others. They think this would blend the best of both worlds—maintaining a sense of equality and discipline while allowing room for personal expression.

It's clear that kids have a lot to say on this topic, and their voices are an important part of this ongoing debate. After all, school is for them, so shouldn't they have a say in what they wear there?

School Uniforms in Media

You can't talk about school uniforms without mentioning how they're portrayed in movies, TV shows, and even books. These media portrayals can shape our views, and they tell us a lot about how society feels about this hot-button issue.

The Classic Image

Think about classic movies or TV shows that feature private schools; you'll probably recall scenes of students in crisp uniforms. This image often portrays uniforms as a symbol of privilege, discipline, or academic excellence.

Shows like " Gossip Girl " or movies like " Dead Poets Society " have ingrained this view in our minds.

The Rebel Stereotype

Then there's the rebellious student, often seen trying to "hack" their uniform. Whether it's by rolling up their skirt, loosening a tie, or adding flashy accessories, this portrayal taps into the idea of uniforms stifling individuality.

It's like the media is saying, "You can't keep young people from expressing themselves."

A Tool for Storytelling

In literature and film, uniforms can serve as a powerful storytelling device. Take "Harry Potter," for example. The Hogwarts robes do more than just enforce equality; they signal belonging to houses and help create the magical atmosphere of the wizarding world.

Social Commentaries

In some instances, media uses uniforms to make a statement. Shows or movies that depict uniforms in a dystopian setting may be commenting on issues of conformity or loss of personal freedom. These portrayals often reflect societal concerns and fuel discussions about the role of uniforms in schools.

Reality TV Insights

Don't forget reality TV! Shows that focus on schools or young people often highlight the uniform debate. Whether it's students discussing their likes or dislikes, or parents grappling with the costs, these shows give us a real-world look into the practical challenges and benefits of uniforms.

The media, through its varied lenses, gives us a rich tapestry of perspectives on school uniforms. It adds another layer to the complex emotional and psychological landscape we've been exploring.

School Uniforms Around the World

The debate about school uniforms isn't just happening in one place; it's a hot topic all around the world. Different countries and regions have their own unique views and rules, and trust us, it's pretty interesting to see how diverse opinions can be.

United States

In the United States, the issue of school uniforms is mostly a local decision. That means individual school districts or even single schools make the choice.

While some schools swear by uniforms, saying they improve discipline and equality, others champion a student's right to self-expression.

United Kingdom

Hop across the pond to the United Kingdom, and you'll find that school uniforms are much more common. In fact, they've been a tradition for centuries. Psychologists like Dr. Angela Wright, who we mentioned before, point out that the British generally see uniforms as a way to foster a sense of community and discipline.

In Japan, school uniforms are not just clothes; they're deeply rooted in culture. Uniforms are a social norm .

The uniforms aim to instill a sense of discipline and are often seen as a rite of passage. Dr. Hiroshi Ota, an expert on Japanese education, notes that the uniform practice in Japan aims to prepare students for a society that values conformity and group harmony.

Down under in Australia, uniforms are pretty common in both public and private schools. The debate there often centers around comfort and the appropriateness of certain uniform items in various weather conditions.

Researchers like Dr. Michaela Pascoe have discussed how the physical comfort of uniforms can impact a student's ability to focus and learn.

France takes a different approach. Uniforms are generally not required in public schools, reflecting the country's emphasis on individual liberty and personal expression. French psychologists often point to the importance of allowing students the freedom to choose as a way to develop their identity.

Whether it's promoting equality, fostering discipline, or encouraging personal freedom, each country has its own reasons and experts weighing in on the matter.

School Uniform Trends and Future Directions

private school building

Now that we've taken a good look at the pros, cons, theories, and global perspectives, let's talk about what's trending. Are schools moving toward or away from uniforms? And what cool new ideas are people coming up with?

Trending Toward or Away?

Interestingly, the trend seems to be a bit of both. In the United States, more public schools have started to adopt uniforms, especially in urban areas.

They're following the lead of private schools, which have often required uniforms. But there's a growing voice for more freedom of expression too, which has led some schools to move away from strict uniform policies.

Uniforms with Options

One of the coolest new trends is something called "uniforms with options." This is basically a middle-ground approach that allows students to pick from a range of approved clothing items.

For example, a school might have a color scheme and let students choose any shirts or pants that fit within those colors. Dr. Michelle Birkett, a researcher who has looked into the psychological impacts of such choices, says this allows students to adhere to a standard while still expressing a bit of personal flair.

Tech-Enabled Uniforms

Yes, you heard that right. In some countries, schools are experimenting with uniforms that have tracking devices for safety reasons. However, this has opened up debates on privacy and autonomy.

Dr. Shoshana Zuboff, an expert on surveillance capitalism, warns that this might go against the principles of personal freedom and privacy.

Dress Code Reforms

There's also a trend toward reforming dress codes to be more inclusive, especially for students who don't identify with traditional gender roles.

Schools are starting to allow more flexibility, like letting girls wear pants or boys wear skirts, to be more accommodating. Psychologists such as Dr. Kristina Olson, who studies gender diversity, say this can have a positive impact on mental health and inclusion.

So, the future of school uniforms is anything but dull. With new ideas and trends popping up, it seems like we're headed toward a more balanced and thoughtful approach to what kids wear to school.

One thing's for sure: the debate about school uniforms isn't a simple one . Whether it's psychologists discussing the impact on our minds, or economists weighing the costs, or even kids and parents sharing their everyday experiences, there are a lot of opinions to consider.

What have we learned? Well, for one, uniforms can help with equality and focus, but they can also stifle individuality and put a financial burden on families. Different countries have their unique views, and the future is shaping up to offer more balanced options for students to express themselves while maintaining some level of uniformity.

The conversation about school uniforms is far from over, and it's a debate that will likely continue to evolve. But no matter which side of the fence you're on, it's crucial to keep listening and learning from each other. Because in the end, the goal is the same: to create an environment where every student has the chance to shine, both in and out of their school clothes.

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Persuasive Essay About School Uniforms

School uniforms persuasive essay

Table of contents:

  • Introduction
  • Body paragraphs

Should students wear school uniforms? This is a topic with a lot of controversy around it. Some people think it should be compulsory to wear a uniform, and others think they should not be required. Your persuasive essay should take a strong stand on the issue, but don’t fail to consider the arguments against your point of view as well as the benefits of your own beliefs.

Your introduction should consist, most importantly, of your thesis or focus statement, in which you answer the question, “Why should we wear (or not wear) school uniforms?” When considering the pros and cons, make up your mind first which stance you’d like to argue for, and then reflect on how best to make your point.

Introduction examples

Pro: School uniforms ensure that all students have the same access to well-fitting, modest clothing during classes, and also erase the differences between richer and poorer students, putting them all on a more equal footing.

Con: School uniforms are restrictive of personal expression, uncomfortable, and needlessly force children into gender roles due to making girls wear skirts and boys wear trousers, and so they should not be required.

The body of your essay should then expand upon the thesis, outlining and backing up each of your points. If you have statistics to back up your arguments, here’s where to use them. You can also use anecdotes, common sense appeals, or appeals to emotion.

Body paragraphs examples

Pro: School uniforms should be compulsory. They reduce time spent shopping, as well as money spent buying clothes, and eliminate bullying based on dress and appearance. In addition, they keep students safer by making sure they are obviously dressed as students.

Con: There are many reasons against wearing school uniforms. No one, first of all, likes to be forced into a particular mould. The subject of whether school uniforms actually prevent bullying is still up for debate. As well, one of the disadvantages is that school uniforms usually have to all be bought from the same place, which can lead to collusion between school governors and clothing shops.

As you draw to a conclusion, look back at your thesis. Give your essay a title that relates to the thesis. Make sure you’ve covered all the points you want to cover. Then go over those points again in your conclusion, and finally end with a request to your audience to take some kind of action, or at least consider the debate from a different point of view.

Conclusion examples

Pro: To have more peaceful, safer schools, as well as cheaper shopping bills, uniforms are the way to go. It’s the better option for students, and it’s better for parents as well, so recommend to your school board that uniforms should be instituted right away.

Con: The jury’s still out on whether school uniforms do make a difference. In the meantime, why curb kids’ personal expression? Let them dress the way they want, within reason. It doesn’t cause them any harm.

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    1345 Words. 6 Pages. Open Document. Essay Sample Check Writing Quality. Show More. All across the world many private and public schools implement the use of uniforms. Some psychologist who say that the use of uniforms is a good tradition and a necessary tool, in order to maintain discipline and order of students in the educational institution ...

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    In most cases, the essay can be argumentative where you argue either for or against, then proceed to state your stand on whether or not you support school uniforms in learning institutions. You can also write an informative essay or a persuasive school uniform essay.

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    Published by: Practical Psychology on September 3, 2023 Have you ever wondered why some schools require uniforms while others let you wear whatever you want? It's a hot topic, and people have been arguing about it for a long time.

  19. School Uniforms Persuasive Essay Sample

    Introduction examples. Pro: School uniforms ensure that all students have the same access to well-fitting, modest clothing during classes, and also erase the differences between richer and poorer students, putting them all on a more equal footing. Con: School uniforms are restrictive of personal expression, uncomfortable, and needlessly force ...

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    Question: TOOD Task 7.1: Select Fact or Opinion Read the statements below and select F for FACT and o for Opinion Present the document according to the facilitator's specifications. 1. Paris is a large city in France. 2. Hawaii is the best place for surfers. 3. The best exercise to lose weight is swimming. 4. School uniforms should be mandatory for all students.

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    The town was also noted for its school, the Moscow Masonic High School. First called the Moscow Masonic Male and Female Academy, the institution had served the community under its latter name since 1857. Under the guidance of Professor Marcellus Winston, the Moscow school attracted a wide range of boarders after the Civil War. In 1880, with an ...

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    Theoretical propositions. The programme of housing renovation in the city of Moscow, Footnote 1 initiated by Mayor Sergey Sobyanin and approved by President Vladimir Putin in February 2017, has attracted much commentary among the domestic Russian audience and from international observers (see for example, Seddon Citation 2017).The programme promised to introduce significant improvements to the ...

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    Level: College, University, High School, Master's, Undergraduate, PHD. 100% Success rate 4.7/5. ID 10243. Moscow City Essay: 4.7/5. ID 7766556. Finished paper. Harry. 1404 Orders prepared. Yes, all of our papers are completely free from any type of errors and plagiarism. ... Argumentative Essay Marijuana Legalization, Cover Letter For Teller ...