School uniforms have become a hot topic in many areas across the United States. School systems are debating whether to require students to wear uniforms to eliminate conflicts with dress code infractions, social and economic status, behavioural issues and sexual tension between students. Educators feel that requiring a school uniform will help students to build self-respect, discipline, character, community and a sense of pride.
It was reported at the end of the 2005-2006 school year that 14 per cent of the schools in the United States required students to wear a uniform. This was up 2 per cent from the school systems that reported on the wearing of uniforms at the end of the 1999-2000 school year.
The end of the 2005-2006 school year provided information that 55 per cent of the school systems has a very strict dress code. This was an increase of 47 per cent from the 1999-2000 reports.
School uniforms were first seen in Europe during the early Modern Era. It was at this time that children who attended charity schools were required to wear uniforms. The charity school students wore uniforms so individuals looking at them could tell what school they were attending. Uniforms were also a cheap way for the caretakers of the unfortunate children to provide clothing. They only needed to buy one school uniform rather than several outfits of clothing.
Britain was seeing hard times within their school systems during the 18th and 19th centuries. The aristocrats and wealthy male students were showing excessive signs of anarchy. They were playing battle games in whatever clothing they were wearing. Parents became so outraged that they were keeping their boys home instead of sending them to school. The uniform was enforced to help create a sense of order out of the chaos that was occurring.
The first official school uniforms appeared during the 18th century in the private schools of Europe. The schools for the wealthy dictated uniforms of different colours to show disciplinary action. This allowed the school system and the public to know the status of each students actions in the school system. As time progressed through the 18th century, uniforms became an emblem of the wealthy. School uniforms are still used in public school system throughout the world.
The European influence of school uniforms influenced school systems. The school systems were basically English based but others did adopt the use of uniforms. Countries that adopted the European school uniform include Asia, Australia, Caribbean, Chili, Ecuador, New Zealand, Peru, South Africa and the United States.
The school uniform style from Italy and Spain influenced countries like Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay and several Middle Eastern countries. The Prussians influenced the type of uniforms worn in Japan.
The Soviet Communists began requiring school uniforms during the phase of the Revolution. They encouraged other communistic countries to do the same. The German Nazi's and East Germany did not adopt the school uniform.