School Uniforms: Inspiring or Devaluing?

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School uniforms have traditionally seen as limiting personal expression. Yet the students of the Academy of Scholastic Achievement have a different view on the topic.

ASA, an alternative high school partner, located on the West Side of Chicago is home to around 190 students. They provide education and support for many individuals from non-traditional backgrounds that differ by way of their culture, their education, socially, and economically. ASA aims to provide all their students with equal opportunity to excel. One avenue of exploration they have provided is through Joe Riina Ferrie’s film class.

Joe is a young educator who not only teaches the film class, but also educates students in English classes. He’s able to incorporate both film and literature in order to enhance the curriculum towards media literacy. The students in the film class are currently developing concepts for a Public Service Announcement, including School Uniforms, because they felt they would help to diminish some of the judgements made on individuals. One student stated, “You have to speak louder then what you have on!”. It’s not about what is worn; it’s about what is said. Uniforms, they felt, would encourage everyone to be seen as equals in the sense of attire, and judgements couldn’t be made to address their economic status.

The concept of Be Yourself was also talked about in the context of school uniforms. The students addressed a potential con about having school uniforms was that could take away from personal expression. One of students made the point that Albert Einstein wore the same clothes every day. He didn’t have to impress others with his clothes; his intellect spoke for itself. The class pitched the idea of a film where the “cool kids” would be wearing uniforms and the kids in casual clothes were jealous. This idea put a spin on how school uniforms are perceived as stifling and uncool.

PSA’s inform the general public about current issues. The students at ASA are taking this opportunity to address the importance of looking beyond material possessions and really getting to know people.

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