In favor of school uniforms

School is a miniature society. Adolescents, like adults, form groups based on various criteria such as looks, intelligence, wit, behavior, and clothing.

Unfortunately, today large companies have managed to manipulate us into forming groups based on brands. Furthermore, they charge exorbitant amounts of money for their products. To an adolescent, it can be a devastating social experience to be excluded form a group just because they do not wear the same brand clothing as their classmates. Hence, these adolescents demand that their parents supply them with these brand clothing items.

Unfortunately, many families can not really afford to buy all these brand products. They are then faced with a difficult choice; either buy something less expensive, at the cost of having their child excluded from the group, or skimp on items that ought to have higher priority such as quality food or travel.

My personal opinion is that school should promote values other than the stupidity of giving away money to international companies who employ child labor working for minute wages in developing countries, who charge an order of magnitude more for their products than they are worth, and whose executives and shareholders pocket the difference.

To that end, I would like to voice my opinion in favor of school uniforms. When I was an adolescent, the idea of wearing a uniform would have seemed very strange indeed. However, when I did my military service, I came to realize what a great social equalizer uniforms can be. Like it or not, we tend to judge people at least partially from the way they dress, whereas it would be preferable to judge people on their opinions, knowledge, and intelligence.

Having lived in New Zealand for a year and in Vietnam for 7 months, two countries in which school uniforms are widely used, I have gradually come to realize that uniforms would be great social equalizers not only in the army, but also in school.

I still need to figure out exactly how school uniforms may be introduced. In most countries in Europe, most schools are public, and individual schools probably would not have the authority to impose uniforms. Furthermore, I imagine that it would require some infrastructure such as a few clothing companies that would agree to supply these uniforms, and that fact suggests that it would be advantageous to introduce school uniforms at the regional or national level, or why not at the level of the European Union.