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In 1969, the first legislation addressing the issue of school attire was passed. (Lewis 92). Following a demonstration against the Vietnam War in which numerous high school students wore black armbands, the action was taken. This led to a legal dispute that led to the establishment of school dress standards when it was decided that going forward, schools would impose limitations on what students could wear to class. Authorities claimed that the reason they pushed for restrictions was because some students might be donning clothing that might interfere with the rights of others. Presently, a significant number of American schools are allowed by the law to enforce dress code restrictions on their students, depending on legislation of the state they are located in. Limits are imposed on aspects such as skirt length, clothing with suggestive themes, ‘baggy pants’ and contradicting colors amongst others. Uniforms, a more restrictive form of dress code, have also been implied by some schools to combat poor attendance, violence and disruptive behavior in schools. Against this backdrop, the attire restriction rules have brought about enhanced safety, equality, focus on learning, ethical discipline and reduced sexual violence. Particular groups of students are fond of dressing in particular ways to identify with their cultures or backgrounds (Gregory, Bell, and Pollock 41). Part of this mode of dressing is the ‘baggy jeans’ put on towards identification with hip hop music and black culture. Extremists normally target particular races or groups. Statistics indicate that 80 % of mass shootings are triggered by racial and other forms of extremisms. Moreover, some of the shootings are directed towards a particular gender (Gregory et. al. 42). Before Elliot Rodger conducted a mass shooting, he stated that he intended to “ slaughter” each spoiled stuck-up blonde he saw”, referring to his targets as prostitutes (Gregory et. al. 42). The 21st Century is marred by terrorism and mass shooting activities which U.S is currently trying to terminate. Some of such incidents could have been avoided by putting restrictive school dressing codes. For example, when every student wears the same clothes, extremist perpetrators from outside the learning institutions cannot be able to tell which student belongs to their group. Without the rules, students who have been recruited into gangs have a particular mode of dressing which can enable attackers to select them out amongst the students (Gregory et. al. 42). Additionally, students also feel safe when their attires match because as such, contradicting social sides would only exist silently in the concealed mind. In fact both male and female students should wear similar pants. This would make it difficult for gender extremists to locate their targets in cases of mass shootings, being that such people normally shoot from a far range.
Instilling a Sense of Equality and Focus on Learning
Gender, racial and socio-economic disparities exist in schools (Gregory et. al 51). The variations have been sparked by socio-economic norms, some of which can only be controlled by the government. While in school, students should be given a break from the social disparities they face outside the institutions. One of the ways of achieving the equality status is through uniformed dressing. Racism, whether in the form of self-inflicted victimization or in its true nature, can be prevented in schools when students wear matching attire due to the sense of equality that uniforms bring (Gregory et. al. 52). Moreover, not every student comes from the same social background. Some are richer than their peers. Low self-esteem emanates from vices such as rich well-dressed students looking down upon their poorly-dressed counterparts from poor families (Gregory et. al. 52). Some parents can hardly afford basic needs for their children. Dress codes in schools therefore create the only chance for children to feel a sense of equality, considering their tender level of development. The 21st century comes with many policies such as the ‘No Child Left Behind’ regulation initiated by President Bush and aggressive anti-racism campaigns; school dress codes exist to make these enactments become true. Some school systems exhibit a deep diversity level. According to Sulkowski and Lazarus, school uniforms have come a long way in leveling up economic diversity (78). Most parents purchase new apparel for their children every time. Pupils have young minds, especially adolescents. Their developmental stages attract an appeal for fashion and trends (Sulkowski and Lazarus 79). As such, they would want to own clothes which are in fashion or the latest pants or shirts. When uniforms are put in place, a leveling effect is created hence assisting parents to save money. Uniforms are cost-effective. Additionally, the uniforms create a sense of belonging. Each student feels that they belong to a single social class. The 21st century comes with ever-dynamic trends in apparel, an aspect which students focus on as they dress-compete instead of concentrating on their studies (Sulkowski and Lazarus 81) .
Ethical Discipline, State Security Enhancement and Promoting Ethics and Virtures
The term “21st century” has often been integrated in learning (Osher 384). Administrators as well as educators train students for the future, adopting a system that is distinct from the traditional mechanistic learning programs. Education planning is now conducted for the future and has evolved at a rapid rate. Part of the menace present in the contemporary U.S community is terrorism (Osher 385). Schools are trying to nurture students towards practices that inhibit terrorism. The society consists of a mixture of numerous cultures. There is a huge potential for terrorism perpetrators to target schools (Osher 385). However, uniformity in learners enables them to be easily identified. Existence of any unwanted person in the school premises would quickly be noticed. Osher observes that without uniforms, terrorists can easily camouflage as students (388). This would make it difficult to even spot students during rescue situations. Many traditional values are disappearing with time (Sulkowski and Lazarus 82). Most students, born in the 21st Century, are unaware of their background traditions. A number of values in the past did not encourage wearing of revealing clothes as most students do today (Sulkowski and Lazarus 82). Teachers, school employees and other adults who grew up in a different generation feel offended by the uncouth modern dress codes. Encouraging school uniforms is one of the methods through which ethics can be conserved within the learning environment. A significant number of girls prefer wearing clothes that do not reveal most of their body parts. On the other hand, others prefer wearing shorts or tight dresses (Espelage 174). Critics of school dress codes argue that freedom of expression should be accorded to school children so that they decide on what to wear by themselves. However, rape cases have been found to be partially catalyzed by the type of dress code (Espelage 176). Most perpetrators identify victims who wear revealing clothes more easily than those who wear concealing clothes. A majority of school dress codes do not allow learners to wear skimpy apparel. Most schools support the fact that uniforms make ladies not to be very conscious on what they wear, another factor which has for a long time contributed to the putting on of short dresses (Espelage 177). School dress codes therefore inhibit sexual assault amongst school students and create a safer environment for all learners.
Time, Cost-Saving and Enhanced Student-Teacher Relationship and Indirect Implications
Research has found out that adhering to school dress codes improve the relationship between teachers and students, one aspect which has been insufficient in the 21st Century as every party ‘minds their own business’ (Osher 401). Dress codes prevent the issue of biasness from teachers. Being human in nature, instructors also have tastes and preferences. Lack of dress code rules encourages a variety of dressing modes in schools (Osher 401). Teachers hence become prejudiced and develop a negative attitude towards learners who put on attires that do not appeal to their tastes and preferences. Traffic jams in the city of New York, a 21st Century menace, will cost drivers approximately 64 billion dollars by 2016 (Hakan 127). Time wastage in jams contributes a big percentage to this cost. In rankings conducted by road experts, Los Angeles, another U.S city, is also likely to cost drivers another 91 billion dollars by 2027 (Hakan 128). Hakan points out that many school children live within driving distances from their schools (129). Saving on traffic jams calls for early preparation and as little time consumption s possible in the morning hours. School uniforms have come a long way in saving time for school children (Hakan 130). The restriction saves the time used in the morning while trying to decide on the trendiest clothe to wear or a situation of being spoilt for choice (Hakan 130). As such, the students can avoid road jams and arrive at school much earlier. Moreover, a number of students nowadays drive themselves to school. School dress codes come with positive indirect implications such as ‘no mobile phones to school rule’ for younger learners (Gross 555). The 21st Century has marked the onset of a technology-dependent young generation. Use of mobile phones distracts class concentration. Students misuse the technology during class hours, contributing to poor performance (Gross 555). For example, students use online search engines to look for class questions that require them to brainstorm and develop their critical thinking capability.
Espelage, Dorothy L., et al. "Understanding types, locations, & perpetrators of peer-to-peer sexual harassment in US middle schools: A focus on sex, racial, and grade differences." Children and youth services review 71 (2016): 174-183.
Gregory, Anne, James Bell, and Mica Pollock. "How Educators Can Eradicate Disparities in School Discipline." Inequality in School Discipline. Palgrave Macmillan US, 2016. 39-58.
Gross, Matt. "Chapter 419: Cyber Sexual Bullying, Sexting in Schools, and the Growing Need to Educate the Youth." McGeorge L. Rev. 48 (2016): 555.
Hakan, K. Ö. R., et al. "A Study on the Factors Affecting the Academic Performance of Distance Education Students and Formal Students." Hitit Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Dergisi 9.2 (2016): 124-130.
Lewis, Thomas Tandy, ed. US Supreme Court. Salem Press, 2016: 92-94.
Osher, David, et al. "Interventions to promote safe and supportive school climate." Handbook of social influences in school contexts, emotional, motivation, and cognitive outcomes. New York: Routledge (2016): 384-404.
Sulkowski, Michael L., and Philip J. Lazarus. Creating Safe and Supportive Schools and Fostering Students' Mental Health. Taylor & Francis, 2016: 77-83.
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