At West Virginia Academy, we plan to join the age-old tradition of students wearing uniforms to school each day. Teachers will also be expected to dress professionally. We believe there are many advantages to uniforms in the public school:
1. Uniforms save time and money. Choosing what to wear to school every morning can be a time consuming event and it can also be very expensive to keep up with the latest fashion trends. Parents can save both time and money with the purchase of school uniforms. French Toast is a provider of school uniforms that estimates that a year supply of long-lasting school uniforms costs around $125 per student, but uniforms also allow for a family swap that can reduce this price. We would seek to provide as many options for parents as possible to reduce costs and there are frequently great deals on pants, polo shirts, sweaters, and other clothing items at stores such as Old Navy, Children’s Place, JC Penney, and Walmart. Lastly, uniforms open the door for exchange programs to drive costs down further and also provide better opportunities for discrete assistance to low income families who need school clothes.
2. Safety and Security. With security on everyone’s mind, uniforms in the public school are an excellent way to increase student safety. Not only do uniforms help identify our students when on field trips or other outside events; within the school, uniforms readily identify members of our school community, which can be helpful in situations where an unknown visitor may pose a threat to the safety our students and staff.
3. Uniforms give students a sense of school pride and belonging. Just as fans wear their team's colors to a sports event to show their support. Wearing school uniforms increases loyalty to the school and promotes a sense of belonging and school spirit.
4. Uniforms reduce bullying and discourage illegal activity within the school. Because students come from all different socio-economic backgrounds, clothing is a way to distinguish those that are more affluent from those that can’t afford the latest fashion trends. Uniforms eliminate this distraction and avoids several situations that can contribute to bullying. Uniforms also reduce opportunities for students to engage in illegal activity or sneak items into school that should not be there. Uniforms foster a spirit of oneness among the students making them unlikely to attack fellow students.
5. Lastly, uniforms reduce distraction and shifts the focus to learning. Questions on whether a student will fit in are diminished, no one will be concerned about their clothing, thus reducing distractions and increasing the focus on academics instead of fashion.
School uniforms required in the public schools are on the rise. The National Center for Education Statistics estimated that between the years 2000 and 2016 the percentage of public schools requiring uniforms increased from 12 to 21 percent. When looking at public schools that require uniforms, those that have more than 76% of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunches were a greater percentage than those schools with lower percentages. The advantages in leveling the playing field for students from affluent and low income families could be what's driving this trend.
At West Virginia Academy, we feel that uniforms will benefit all our students as well their families.