Do Uniforms Decrease School Violence in Intercity Schools?

School uniforms aren’t new; they’ve been around for about as long as schools have. In the past, school uniforms were mostly reserved for private schools where students were required to pay for their education. Over the years, school uniform policies have been adopted by many schools as a means to cut down the level of violence in schools, particularly in intercity schools where a great deal of violence was being attributed to the differences in financial and social classes among students attending the same school.

During the late 90’s, quite a bit of focus was placed on uniforms as a call to action for intercity schools where escalating violence was being documented for many different reasons ranging from theft of expensive clothing and shoes to cliques and gang collections of students who were committing violence against perceived outsider students. It was believed that adopting strict dress codes such as those that exist with school uniforms would decrease school violence and create more uniformity in students’ appearance and less distraction from education.
Some schools regarded uniforms as the magic pill that would not only help students to focus on their studies instead of what their peers were wearing, but they believed that school uniforms would cut back violence in intercity schools by keeping rival students out of the school simply by the fact that they would not be dressed in uniform and easy to spot on or around school property.
Nearly 10 years later, there are strong arguments and many instances of violence in intercity schools where students are required to wear uniforms that suggest that uniforms do not decrease violence. The strongest arguments are that school uniforms, at best, can reduce disciplinary problems but have no direct correlation to decreasing school violence. Continued violence in Chicago’s intercity schools where uniforms are work is a prime example that uniforms are little more than a way to identify which school a violent student attends.

There is no question that what a student wears to school makes a difference. In this respect, school uniforms are an excellent solution because they provide a consistent appearance for students and avoid the ostracizing that often comes to students from the most disadvantaged homes. The reality of intercity schools, however, and the violence that besieges many students is that these children are surrounded with violence outside of the school and it is often a transfer of the outside conditions to the inside of the school that causes the violence, not clothing conditions.
So, while school uniforms may work to put down some unfavorable conditions that can spark violence in intercity schools, it is the conditions beyond the school that must be examined more closely when it comes to intercity children and some of the violent tendencies they exhibit.