School Uniforms And Bullying Statistics You Need To Know

Do school uniforms reduce bullying? Today we’re going to take a look at some of statistics, as well as arguments for and against uniforms to find out if strict dress codes really do protect kids.

Do school uniforms reduce bullying? Today we’re going to take a look at some of statistics, as well as arguments for and against uniforms to find out if strict dress codes really do protect kids.

To understand whether school uniforms reduce bullying, we have to understand why kids get bullied in the first place. Bullying in schools is frequently happening and often takes place right under our nose. It often starts off slowly, then increases as the bully figures out that his words or actions can get to his victim.  It can begin out subtle with a comment, a look, or mean-spirited laughter that leaves a kid’s self-esteem in a puddle.

Often, those mean-spirit comments focus on the victim’s overall looks, including what they are wearing. For example, more affluent girls wearing designer clothing may pick on another girl who can’t afford fancy clothes. Many public schools across the US feel like they’ve come up with the perfect solution: stick everyone in the same outfits! Does it really work, though? Let’s find out!

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Do School Uniforms Reduce Bullying: Statistics You Need to Know

What Are the Chances Your Kid Will Experience Bullying?

Let’s start with some basics. How many kids are really being bullied? How do we help our children avoid being bullied? Some of the bullying statistics according to a national survey reported on  are staggering. Here are some of the highlights:

  • 28% of students in this survey reported that in the last six months they had been bullied either verbally or physically.
  • 60% of students who were identified as bullies in grades 6 to 9 went on to have at least one criminal conviction by the time they turned 24
  • School intervention programs (which includes school uniforms) are reported at reducing bullying by 30-50%

So, we know bullying is obviously a big issue with schools and parents looking for answers!  Uniforms are one of the tactics that some schools are trying. Those who are for school uniforms believe that they create equality. If everyone is wearing the same outfit, then no one can use clothing to isolate or pick on another student.

Not everyone agrees with this move, though.  Both parents and students have mixed responses when asked “Do School Uniforms Prevent Bullying?”

Experts also have mixed feelings. Tony Volk, an associate professor at Brock University, has done extensive research on the subject. According to his studies, he found that there is no evidence that school uniforms reduce bullying statistics. Like many, he feels that bullies will simply find another way to judge status.

Here’s the thing to consider when trying to figure out if uniforms reduce school bullying: is every child also wearing the same shoes? Are they wearing the same socks? Do they all have the same backpacks? The same lunch boxes? The same folders, pencils, erasers? Do they all LOOK the same? Have the same color hair? The same facial features? The same height, weight, voice? The same thoughts?

See, parents and students who are against uniforms argue that while clothing definitely CAN come into play during bullying, it’s only a tiny piece of the puzzle. Bullies choose their victims by finding a target that will give them the most gratification. Someone that will respond to their taunts and teasing, someone who will make them feel bigger and more powerful. A girl wearing last year’s jeans who simply doesn’t care what others think of her isn’t a good target. On the other hand, a girl could be wearing all the right trends and still be a target because she provides the bully with the gratification of reacting to teasing.

What Do Schools Think About School Uniforms?

More and more public schools are jumping on the school uniform trend. The National Association of Elementary School Principals reports that 49% of elementary schools either have a uniform currently or have a plan to implement school uniforms

Principals in Elementary schools with a uniform policy overwhelmingly feel that it has made a positive impact on some of the following issues in their school:

  • Classroom Discipline- 85%
  • Community Image- 83%
  • Student Safety -79%
  • Student Achievement- 64%

A school district in North Jersey is reporting that implementing school uniforms is directly reducing bullying. At this school, even students are commenting directly that uniforms are decreasing bullying.

What Do Universities Say About School Uniforms?

There are other studies being conducted at various universities that find that uniforms are not directly impacting bullying or achievement. For example, I found several studies cited on In a national survey of 10th graders, a sociology professor at Virginia Tech found: “”no effects of uniforms on absenteeism, behavioral problems (fights, suspensions, etc.), or substance use on campus” and “no effects” on “pro-school attitudes, academic preparedness, and peer attitudes toward school.” A similar study from a professor at Syracuse University in New York found no stats that showed uniforms and any achievement.

School Uniforms Statistics

We’ve discussed what parents, schools, and even universities think about whether school uniforms reduce bullying, now let’s look at some of the statistics about uniforms.

  • Parents in the US spend about $1,300,000,000 on uniforms each year. That’s $1.3 BILLION (in case you don’t want to count the zeros!).
  • Average annual cost to parents for school uniforms is around $249
  • 20% of elementary schools require uniforms, versus 12% of high schools
  • A survey of kids in Nevada found that 90% of kids are against uniforms (statistics may vary by state)
  • 41% of kids did say that uniform policies reduced gang activity in their schools
  • Studies show that uniforms reduce absenteeism by a half a day each year.
  • Uniforms seem to have no real impact on school scores. Math scores increased by less than 0.01% and reading scores actually went down.

As for hard statistics on whether uniforms reduce bullying, the jury is still out. The studies so far have been fairly limited in scope, focusing on one town or even a single school. One study in Long Beach, California, showed that uniforms reduced school crime by 36%.

On the other hand, a larger-scale study performed by the University of Notre Dame found that uniforms not only did nothing to reduce behavioral issues but actually had a negative impact on student achievements.

Many public schools only recently instituted uniform policies, so it will take some time to figure out the true impact and gather hard statistics.

What Do You Think About School Uniforms And Bullying?

I find the data and case studies on this issue show two sides of the story. On one hand, we have educators who are saying that uniforms are making a difference. On the other hand, we have experts who are telling us that the numbers don’t all necessarily add up. It is a trade-off, and while I am all for teaching students to prepare for the challenges of the workforce, I don’t know that restricting what they wear to a uniform is working based on the data above.

Do our educational leaders, such as principals, want to believe that uniforms are making a difference in bullying at schools, or do uniforms making a difference? Are the findings at universities spot on, or are school uniform and bullying research statistics influenced by something else? Tell me your thoughts in the comments!



34 thoughts on “School Uniforms And Bullying Statistics You Need To Know”

  1. think about the harm that gendered uniforms do to transgender kids. Uniforms don’t do anything, kids still get bullied for many other reasons.

  2. The best exemple I could give about how uniforms don’t work are schools in Korea and Japan. The bullying as never stopped and is one of the main reason of suicide in young people in those country. In Japan, teachers are pressurized to stay quiet about leaking infos of bullying in their classes by the principles who wants their school to stay prestigious. I’ve known a few cases where the bully was covered by the school because their parents donated a lot of money to school. Also, school uniforms do not address the real underlying problems of absence of parents in the child life. Uniforms are not a magical solution for kids.

    1. Well, if you think about it, it honestly is 50/50, uniforms might be bad in a way and uniforms might be good in a way. You can never decide which is better.

  3. The high school and middle school I went to had school uniforms. I can tell you from personal experience that school uniforms do not reduce bullying. What reduces bullying are teachers that know how to prevent and stop bullying. At the middle school I went to, the teachers did not know how to discipline students let alone how to handle bullies. As a result bullying was prevalent and often the bullies would continue to bully their victims, after the matter was brought to the teachers’ attention. In contrast the high school and elementary school I went to had teachers who knew how to handle bullies, as a result bullying occurred less often. When it did occur, teachers did an excellent job at putting a stop to it. I must also point out that in Britain and Japan, most of the schools have uniforms and there is still a problem with bullying. If people want to stop or prevent bullying from happening, we need to train teachers to deal with it effectively.

    1. I 100% agree with you, though, it doesn’t always depend on the teachers it also depends if you are in a private school or public. Also, from what my friends and I have experienced, the teachers in private schools were better trained, but in public schools, they were not. It also depends on how much they get paid. If they get a low salary of course they won’t care. But in private schools, they get a good salary and work more efficiently. I know it also depends on their personality as well, so honestly, it is 50/50 between them. Uniforms can be bad in many ways and uniforms can be good in many ways. You can never decide.

  4. I think that school uniforms are a bad idea because if you want to give kids a uniform to wear for the rest of the year, it’s probably not going to work. What if you are a really tall kid or you are a really small kid. ANd you can’t find a uniform size for you. Good luck. Uniforms are BAD.

  5. I think bullies are bullies. School uniforms or not, kids that like to bully will find something to bully others for.

  6. We are in school uniforms at our school and unfortunately kids will find something to make fun of. My kids are mixed and have curly hair, someone always has to make a rude comment about that.

  7. This doesn’t really surprise me since a lot of the bullying I remember as a kid was about clothes. It’s sad that what we wear can define us in some ways.

  8. Bullying is a serious matter that we need to pay attention at. I thing school uniform doesn’t have any impact to bullying. Whatever your clothes are if they want bully you they will bully you.

  9. I agree to you, bullying is one of the most critical issue students are facing in the schools, colleges and universities. May be school uniforms play some part in reducing the effects of bullying and its activities.

  10. puppy love 2005

    there were 0 statistics on this page and you said it was a sight with bullying statistics that have to do with uniforms

    I went to a school when I was in elementary and got picked on for being to nice so the lies that it helps bullying are fake and personal appearance didn’t matter they picked on the weakest link

  12. I had to wear uniforms and went to a private school. Usually private school is a last resort for parents of children who are behaving badly at school. Putting a uniform on those kids does not change anything. They are still bullies, and they still misbehave. When it came to status, instead of our clothing, it was our shoes and accessories like designer hand bags that we would wear. Dooney & Bourke bags and Cole Haan shoes were THE things you had to have to be cool at my high school.

  13. We have school uniforms at our school and the amount of bullies there is ridiculous. I’ve seriously about had it with the schools here, and the board not doing a darn thing about it. I think bullying will be there no matter what if they don’t tackle it. Uniforms or not its a huge issue. Kids are the issue. Parenting is the issue. not clothing.

  14. I’m all for school uniforms. It keeps the main focus off of personal presentation with helps keep it on academics as well as reducing bullying. It’s a shame that morals, values, and virtues are no longer taught in school like they used to be. It’s no wonder kids have no idea how to treat each other anymore!

  15. I don’t know that uniforms would help with bullying. Yes, many children are picked on for what they wear, but bullying is primarily a psychological issue, meaning that the bully is dealing with something and bullying as a result. If the clothes aren’t there to pick on, a true bully will likely find something else. That being said, my feeling is that uniforms might cut down on teasing–the distinction being that bullying is pointed and repeated whereas teasing doesn’t usually involve a power imbalance and isn’t necessarily pointed at one individual. Whether or not it stops bullying, I have always liked the idea of uniforms. I was never picked on, but if I would have had them in school I would have spent a lot less time worrying about what I was wearing and more time learning and building relationships. Plus, think of the time you save in the morning!

  16. This is really interesting. I know some of my nieces and nephews wore uniforms for their schools. I’m curious to find out what their take on it would be.

  17. I actually thought school uniforms would make bullying a lot less likely to happen because they all look the same. Apparently there’s really no stopping bullying. It really start at home though.

  18. When I was a kid I was totally against uniforms, but as I have become a mom I know why they are good. My son has a uniform and it keeps kids from using clothes as a status symbol. There will always be something else, but this one I think helps with bullying at least a little.

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