Mr. Carter Mayville, Middle School Dean of Students
“They stifle student expression.”
“We're trying to make cookie-cutter kids.”
Over the years, I've heard all the criticisms for school uniforms, both as a teacher and now, more loudly than ever, as Dean of Students in the Middle School of a Catholic school.
When you think of Catholic schools, you think “uniforms,” but sometimes it helps to understand the "why" when it comes to student uniforms. That "why" for us is rooted in the foundation of our school’s mission: that we are forming Christian leaders who will transform society.
Here are five reasons uniforms can benefit students:
A student is worth more than his or her physical appearance. In a world focused on outward appearance and judgements made at the blink of an eye, uniforms may seem to be rigid, cookie-cutter molds that limit expression. But we find that they better enable students to direct their creativity and individuality to their classes, extracurricular activities, and to the school environment as a whole.
People are judged by what they wear. Uniforms help to mitigate harassment and social stratification. According to one study published in the Journal of Perceptual and Motor Skills, even teachers have fallen victim to making judgements about students based on what they wear. By wearing uniforms, socio-economic or political indicators associated with clothing are removed, allowing students to be seen objectively by students and teachers.
School uniforms have a positive impact on students’ mental health.Studies show that uniforms reduce anxiety about appearance and promote self-confidence through a feeling of belonging. These findings are noteworthy in this day and age of social media, when children are constantly comparing themselves to others. Students interviewed in a study by Oxford Brookes University said that non-uniform days make them anxious because they feel they have to conform to what is considered the ‘norm.’ Uniforms remove ‘mental clutter’ students have to cope with each day, and overwhelming evidence shows that students feel happier and more confident when wearing school uniforms. (Sources: Oxford Brookes University, Schoolwear Association, and Family, Kids & Youth)
Uniforms help maintain a safe and effective learning environment. One study found that punctuality, both to school in the morning and between classes, was markedly improved after the introduction of school uniforms. Additionally, visitors can be easily identified. A uniform also allows for easier enforcement of a dress code, as we don't have to define what, exactly, "sleeveless" means, and we don't have to worry as much about being up-to-date on pop culture references that appear on clothing.
School Uniforms Help Promote School Spirit. A feeling of unity and togetherness is inspired when our students are dressed in uniform. This attitude can help with the overall morale of the student body and stimulates school spirit. Some studies, like a survey done by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS.org), go on to say that students with school spirit perform better academically, are more engaged in social and civic matters, and are happier in general.
At our school, we place emphasis on forming students into the Christian leaders God calls them to be by emphasizing the importance of a well-rounded individual; an individual focused not just on physical appearance, but on the human, intellectual, spiritual, and apostolic impact he or she has on those around them. School uniforms help us in this mission.
You’d be surprised to know that students don’t mind wearing uniforms and even prefer them!
Here’s what some of the students at my school are saying:
“Uniforms make us all look the same instead of some kids having better clothes than others.” - Reagan Lee, 3rd Grade Student
“Wearing a uniform makes you look smart.” - Vishanth Vijay, 3rd Grade Student
“Uniforms are comfortable.” - Annie Brar, 3rd Grade Student
“Wearing a uniform makes me feel like a man at work because of the tie.” - Thomas Tollett, 3rd Grade Student
“Everyone wears the same thing so you don’t have to worry about it.” Clara Machado, 8th Grade Student
“When you wear a uniform, you don’t have to compare yourself to others. And you don’t have to get your regular clothes dirty!” - Gabi Rodriguez, Pinecrest Freshman
"I like everything about uniforms. It's easy! I hate dress down days." - Caroline Jeffcoat, Pinecrest Senior
"Uniforms keep us in order." Liam Buchanan, Pinecrest Junior
"I don't have to think about what I'm wearing in the morning." Sarah Meersman, Pinecrest Sophomore
Pinecrest Academy is a private PreK3-12 Catholic school located in Cumming, South Forsyth, just minutes from Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Milton and Suwanee. We serve families of all faiths seeking a Christian education for their children. To learn more about our unique educational philosophy, visit our Welcome page.
SEMPER ALTIUS = ALWAYS HIGHER
The mission of Pinecrest Academy is reflected in the word Integer, which is Latin for “whole,” or “entire,” and reflects our goal of forming the whole child as an authentic “Person in Christ.” The school motto Semper Altius, means “Always Higher,” and challenges our students, parents, staff and faculty to strive for excellence in all areas of Integral Formation® - intellectual, spiritual, human and apostolic.