February 2003
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By Eleni A., Grade 9, Fredericton High, Fredericton, NB

Wearing a uniform makes me think of a factory. Everything is made the same, and looks the same. Or of an old fashioned army walking in a line. The faces seem identical, impossible to tell one person apart from another because they are all dressed alike. I don't want to be thought of as only someone from this school. I want to be thought of as an individual.

The clothes we wear do not, in any way, affect our learning. A uniform wouldn't improve anyone's performance and would only serve to waste money and resources that could be put to better use. The costs to put together uniforms would be much too high. Not only would the uniforms have to be designed, made, bought, provided in different sizes and accepted to everyone, but some cultures might not be able to wear them meaning more designing, making and buying. The money would be better served to provide schools with more teachers to bring the student per teacher ratio back to a manageable point.

The thought of wearing the same outfit everyday sends goosebumps up my arms. I enjoy choosing my clothes every morning. I like that I can wear something different every day and not always look the same. I feel proud when I walk through the halls of school and no one else looks like me. I use my clothes to show the world who I am just as others use theirs to show the world who they are. If I'm dressed exactly like every other person around me, I'd feel empty, like all I am is what my school is. I would have no way of telling whether or not the person next to me had the same likes or dislikes as me. No way of telling if I could possibly carry out a conversation with the person. While this may cause some people to branch out and meet everyone, it could make many people to shy to say anything to anyone.

When teenagers are asked why they like a certain kind of music, or style their hair in weird ways, they most often reply, "Because it's my style". Their clothes are also their style, their own personal style. It's with our clothes that we show the world who we are. It's with our clothes that we stand out from the crowd and gain confidence to do things alone. Without freedom to wear what we want, when we want, students are forced to express themselves through their school, which may not be who they are at all. Canada is a country that prides itself on its multi-culturalism. Think of school as Canada, and our individual ways of dress as various cultures. We should be proud to have such a diverse group of students in our school and not become a melting pot, taking away all freedom of individuality.

I can see how uniforms could be beneficial to some people, but if the price of those benefits is my individuality, I'm not willing to play. Schools have gone without uniforms for years. It makes no sense to go back to them now. In a world rushing head on to meet with the future, we should be preparing students to deal with the conflicts of new technology, not worrying about what they are wearing.


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