Can high school dress codes stop bullying?
The high school years are often the most dramatic within the developing years of our youth. Teenagers are often bullied, neglected and otherwise negatively affected by a wide variety of reasons from special interests or religious views to taste in music; but in large social settings where initial interpersonal knowledge is limited, people are forced to gather first impressions based solely on outward appearances. Whether this is fair or even accurate is irrelevant. First impressions are all we have in the short time frames allowed in today’s society. People are targeted for possible friendship or avoidance based on how they look. Because of this, 40% of North Americans now believe that bullying in our schools can be avoided by changing the clothes students wear. The creation of strict dress code rules is becoming more popular in school boards who feel that dressing each student in identical outwear will erase the initial differences between all students. But are we simply taking away outward signals that keep our youth from mingling with those who they would normally avoid? Are potential bullies merely being allowed to disguise themselves to wonder within the herd or prey unchecked?
People are an extension of the animal kingdom. Though we are far removed, we often revert to our roots. Outward appearances of each species are generally similar yet each creature is unique in its own way. Whether covered in fur, leather of scales it would be unwise, and sometimes dangerous, to assume each animal is the same. Similarly, covering a teenager with the same clothing as his peers will certainly not change his inner self. Physical differences aside, students will soon learn to look past the exterior and find what they love and what they hate without much difficulty.
Social stratification will not be impeded by dress codes. School uniforms, by definition, are meant to force students to...