Standardized dress further limits the expression of character in students.

In an already generalized school system that forces the minds of students to grow at a predetermined pace, standardized dress could further damage students ability to express themselves. The school setting already offers little to no opportunities for self-expression that do not disrupt the school day. Students are left with one blank canvas on which to paint their thoughts, emotions, and perspectives: their clothes. Clothing subtly informs the observer who they are, or wants to be seen as, individually.

School officials are likely to argue that school is exclusively for learning, and that self-expression is for after-school hours; however, two simply aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, the differences among student outfits diplay likes and dislikes, psychological state, and breadth of choice and diversity among young people. These are tools that others can use to increase the educational experience: by viewing students as fully-formed individuals, and establishing sociably accepted normalities.

Allowing pupils to make choices in dress is a way of empowerment, indicating to the student that they are a maturing person entitled to the most basic self-expression. In a freer learning environment, students begin with a sense of self-worth rather than as identical captives without options. Giving kids a choice to express themselves not only acknowledges their individuality but creates the possibility for a relationship of mutual respect. So long as this parade of choices does not interrupt the school day, schools should be interested in nurturing, rather than standardizing, student expression.

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