The Oklahoma city school board voted 5-3 on Monday to require school uniforms starting with the 2013-14 school year. 

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The vote will affect 17 schools in the district that currently do not require uniforms.  Under the new policy, each school can designate colors and shirt styles. However, one choice must be white. The schools can also select the colors for pants, slacks, shirts, skorts or dresses but must allow for khaki pants.

I listened to the news last night as they discussed the decision. They talked about it being a safety issue. As I thought about that it made sense.  It would stop students from wearing "colors" and pants that sag to show their underwear (which is something I will never understand).

According to Dr. Karen Walker in a research brief for Principals' Partnership, a Program of Union Pacific Foundation, the following are some of the reasons given by those who believe that uniforms make schools safer:

  • behavior improves
  • learning improves
  • socioeconomic difference lessened
  • safer school
  • wearing of gang-related attire reduced
Others believe that requiring uniforms is a violation of the Constitution's First Amendment. Dr. Walker listed some reasons that are frequently given by those against school uniforms:
  • restrict student freedom of expression
  • cuts down on attention
  • spend more on clothing
  • fewer opportunities for students to appreciate diversity
  • fewer opportunities to make choices
  • restricts expression of religious beliefs (yarmulke)