교복

American schoolchildren/ often wear uniforms/ if they attend religious or other private schools. Most public schools/ do not require uniforms. But over the last ten years or so, more of them/ have moved/ in that direction, including high schools.

Students/ may have to wear a specially purchased uniform. Or they may just have to dress alike -- for example, white shirts and dark colored pants or skirts.

Even schools/ that do not require uniforms/ generally have a dress code or other rules/ about what they consider acceptable. Policies/ commonly ban clothing/ that shows offensive images or words, or simply too much skin. Items/ like hats/ may be restricted/ because, for example, different colors/ may be connected/ with violent gangs.

Some parents/ like the idea/ of uniforms. Some say/ it means/ they do not have to spend as much/ on clothing/ for their kids. Others, though, argue/ that uniforms/ represent an unnecessary cost. There are also debates/ about whether uniforms or other dress policies/ violate civil rights.

Students and parents/ have taken legal action/ against school dress requirements. Just last week, a judge/ blocked a middle school/ in Napa, California, from enforcing a dress code/ unless families/ have a way/ out of it.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California/ brought the case/ for the families of several students/ who were punished. Most attention/ centered on a girl/ who wore socks/ with the Tigger character/ from Winnie the Pooh.

The school said/ its clothing policy, including no pictures of any kind, was needed/ to control a growing problem/ with gangs. The families argued/ that the policy/ violated free speech rights/ as guaranteed/ by the United States and California constitutions.

The United States Supreme Court says/ student expression/ is protected/ as long as it does not harm the work and discipline of a school.

Americans/ value individual freedom. But some educators believe/ dressing alike/ helps improve student learning. They believe/ that uniforms/ help create a sense of unity/ and reduce the risk of fights. They also say/ uniforms/ make it easier/ for security reasons/ to tell/ if someone/ belongs at the school/ or not.