Is School Uniform More Than Just A Policy?
As a child, I kicked against the policy of school uniform as much as I possibly could. I attempted to personalize it with badges, different tights and shoes. I even took to the shocking notion of shortening my skirt and ignoring the rules of wearing my blazer. However, I’m now twenty-two years old and, much to my younger self’s distaste, I’ve actually readdressed the way in which I look at school uniform. To me, it’s more than just a way of making us all look the same, it’s protection in a world where we increasingly think of ourselves as untouchable. Bullying in the UK is rapidly becoming one of the most difficult issues in schools to deal with and the uniform is the leading policy that’s helping to make it slightly easier.
Looking back on my school days makes it clearer to see that school uniform was as much protection as it was an irritation. According to the NSPCC website, more than 16,000 young people are absent from school due to bullying and over half of lesbian, gay and bisexual young people have experienced homophobic bullying at school. While school uniform may, for some, feel like an oppression of their individuality (I know – I too used to believe this) it can actually act as a shield for specific and intentional bullying based around your own clothing and taste.
Lets face it, clothing for one child can be a fantastic way to express their individuality, their flamboyancy and their own personal tastes about music and themselves. However, for other children clothing does nothing but lay bare their lack of financial stability at home. Children can be cruel, and there is nobody who will tell you the truth quite like a young child. They have no boundaries and no stop button, meaning that if they don’t like something, they’ll say it. By having a school uniform, children are oblivious to other children’s stance on money, music and fashion, eradicating potential bullying that would otherwise be based around these specific topics.
As a child, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to escape potential bullying and cruel words from your fellow students. With bullying in the playground, cyber bullying and even bullying through text messages becoming an increasing problem. While at the time school uniform may feel like one of the worst things to happen to you, in reality it helps to shroud you from some of the potentially hurtful comments that wearing your own individuality at school can bring. I say embrace your school uniform, love it, and in turn it’ll protect you in the long run.