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Should school uniforms be mandatory?
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Uniforms are a weapon deployed to suppress the poor

Uniforms are a way to exert control over the poorest segments of society.
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School uniforms are a tool to implement a broader policy of surveillance and control over the poorest and least powerful elements of society.

The Argument

It is no coincidence that the schools in the lowest income areas adopt school uniform policies more often than those in wealthy areas. A 2016 study from the National Center for Education Statistics in the US found that 40% of schools where three-quarters of the student body were eligible for free school meals had mandatory uniform policies. By contrast, just 4% of schools where a quarter or less of the student body received free school meals had implemented school uniform policies. [1] School uniforms, alongside metal detectors, police sniffer dogs, surveillance cameras and locker searches, are another way to criminalize and oppress poverty and the poor. They are another weapon of control and should be viewed as merely a weapon in the fight to suppress the poor and powerless.

Counter arguments

School uniforms are not a weapon to suppress the poor. They are implemented to protect them. The reason they are implemented in low-income schools is to prevent the singling out of poor students and reduce bullying. In areas with extreme poverty, the students who cannot afford nice clothes, or rely on hand-me-downs, could be targeted by bullies. The introduction of school uniforms benefits schools in low-income areas more by making children safer and reducing bullying. They are also a good way of improving classroom behaviour by removing distractions and reinforcing the teacher/student hierarchy. In lower economic areas, classroom discipline is often a recurring issue. Adopting a mandatory school uniform policy is helping to improve student behaviour in these schools. There is not a malignant campaign to subvert and suppress the lower echelons of society. School uniforms are simply being deployed in an effort to make our schools safer and improve classroom behaviour, which would have better learning outcomes for all.



[P1] School uniforms are a tool to repress and control the poor. [P2] Therefore, they should not be mandatory.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] They are not designed to repress the poor, they are implemented to help keep them safe.


This page was last edited on Thursday, 28 Nov 2019 at 16:39 UTC

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