Mandating school uniforms
About one in five US public schools (21%) required students to wear uniforms during the 2015-2016 school year, up from one in eight in 2003-2004.Mandatory uniform policies in public schools are found more commonly in high-poverty areas.Jones of Maricopa County Superior Court (AZ) ruled that mandatory uniform policies do not violate students' free speech rights even when there is no opt-out provision in the school's uniform policy.A 1994 peer-reviewed study found that students in uniform were perceived by teachers and fellow students as being more academically proficient than students in regular clothes.Wheeler stated that "clothing is integral to gang culture... The same applies to gang recruitment." When uniforms are mandatory, parents and students do not spend time choosing appropriate outfits for the school day.According to a national survey, over 90% of US school leaders believe school uniform or formal dress code policies "eliminate wardrobe battles with kids," make it "easier to get kids ready in the morning," and create a "time saving in the morning." Tracey Marinelli, Superintendent of the Lyndhurst School District in New Jersey, credited the district's uniform policy for reducing the number of students running late.I think it probably gives them a sense of belonging and a feeling of being socially accepted." A study of over 1,000 Texas middle school students found that students in uniform "reported significantly more positive perceptions of belonging in their school community than reported by students in the standard dress group." Arnold Goldstein, Ph D, head of the Center for Research on Aggression at Syracuse University, stated that uniforms help troubled students feel they have the support of a community: "There is a sense of belonging." A peer-reviewed study found that after uniforms were introduced, "Teachers perceived an increase in the level of respect, caring, and trust...throughout the school" and said "students are made to feel 'important' and as if they are a part of a team by wearing a uniform." A study by researchers at the University of Houston found that the average absence rate for girls in middle and high school decreased by 7% after the introduction of uniforms.
Students may still express their views through other mediums during the school day." In 1995, Judge Michael D.Frank Quatrone, superintendent in the Lodi district of New Jersey, stated that "When you have students dressed alike, you make them safer.If someone were to come into a building, the intruder could easily be recognized." A bulletin published by the National Association of Secondary School Principals stated that "When all students are wearing the same outfit, they are less concerned about how they look and how they fit in with their peers; thus, they can concentrate on their schoolwork." Former US Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, advocated school uniforms as a way to help students focus on learning: "Take that [clothing choices] off the table and put the focus on school, not on what you're wearing." When all students are dressed alike, competition between students over clothing choices and the teasing of those who are dressed in less expensive or less fashionable outfits can be eliminated.(7-2, 1969), which concerned the wearing of black armbands to protest the Vietnam War, confirmed that students' constitutional right to free speech "does not relate to regulation of the length of skirts or the type of clothing." Wearing one's own choice of shirt or pants is not the "pure speech" protected by the Constitution.(3-0, 2001), the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a school board's right to implement a mandatory uniform policy, stating that requiring uniforms for the purpose of increasing test scores and improving discipline "is in no way related to the suppression of student speech.