Mandatory School Uniforms Across Ontario's Public Education System
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Mandatory school uniforms in the province of Ontario, within our public education system presents many advantages for students, families and the overall education system.
Today's generation of students (children, pre-teens and teenagers) are interested in keeping up with the latest trends and fashions on the market, as seen in retail stores, online, social media and also advertised in print. However, with the rising costs of living affecting many parents, it may become increasingly more difficult to manage clothing allowance expenses for their children, pre-teens, and teenagers. Mandatory school uniforms may help parents to lower the monthly and annual expenses, that are dedicated to providing year-round school clothing, for their children and teens.
Raising teenagers presents many joys for parents, but can also bring new challenges (in various ways). At times, many parents report being concerned with the choice of clothing and the styles that their teenagers choose to wear. For some working parents, they are off to work often before their teens leave home and get dressed for school, which makes it difficult to view the final outfit their children had selected. For other parents, they are involved in power struggles with their teens (who may also be somewhat rebellious) when it comes to their choice of clothing. Additionally, there have been reported concerns by some school officials, in regards to instances of inappropriate attire being worn to school by students. Mandatory school uniforms may potentially mitigate parental and school concerns for students - with respect to issues of inappropriate choices of attire. In addition, mandatory uniforms create a "clothing boundary" wherein, there are limitations and boundaries set for students, pertaining to the clothing options allowed and expected in schools, across the province.
Bullying is an issue and concern in all schools - for students, parents, families and school boards. Children and teens may experience bullying in schools, as a result of perceived 'difference' when it comes to matters such as (but not limited to) their race, sexual orientation, religion, culture, class and ability. While many of these (systemic) matters, would not be solved by the implementation of mandatory uniforms - it may help to mitigate peer-to-peer bullying that occurs, in direct relation to a students different style of attire, non-brand name garments and perception of socio-economic differences. Mandatory uniforms may help to level the playing field so to speak, whereby, all students regardless of socio-economic status, are required to dress in similar attire (note: hijabs should be allowed). Additionally, mandatory uniforms may potentially limit the degree to which students compete with one another when it comes to their choice of attire and also help to orient students' focus on material learned in class - rather than "who is wearing what" in class or to school. In turn, mandatory uniforms may help to shift students towards having increased focus on their education and future post-secondary academic goals (particularly for teens of high school age).
Our schools need additional revenue, and our province needs additional revenue. Schools can be in constant need of repairs, maintenance and remodelling and they have many programs that are needed to remain in place in order to support our children's needs (i.e. breakfast programs, lunch programs, afterschool programs, recreational activities etc). There have been some reports, that schools are in dire need of money and things such as air conditioning can not be afforded (despite being needed). The revenue and profits garnered from mandatory school uniforms, could be allocated in part, to addressing the repair, maintenance, and remodelling needs - as well as securing (and creating) vital programs in schools - that are needed to assist children, youth and families and also build communities. Remaining sales tax revenue could also be allocated to supporting social infrastructure needs. Moreover, I believe that if mandatory school uniforms could be manufactured and made right here in Ontario, Canada - we would be helping our economy monetarily, and creating jobs - all at the same time!
In sum, there are many reasons that support the implementation of mandatory school uniforms in our public education system. Our students will still have their freedom of expression and opportunity to wear their own personal choice of clothing after school hours, on weekends and during holidays. There could also be an option for public schools to implement one day each month (if desired) - wherein students can wear their own choice of clothing to school. In addition, students at each school could also be consulted in the design of their school uniform (I.e. colours, print, logo). We can still encourage the uniqueness of our children, pre-teens and teenagers and support them to build character - that reaches beyond their physical presentations and style of dress in life and in school.
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