Dress Codes Affect on Gang Violence in Schools Research Paper

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¶ … Dress Codes on Gang Violence in Schools

This topic was selected based on ongoing reports in the media that gang violence remains a problem in the nation's schools and has even extended into suburban school districts that were formerly immune to such activities. In response to this problem, a growing number of public school districts have implemented dress codes that may include uniforms or restrict certain gang-related attire. The purpose of this investigation was to develop some fresh insights into recent trends and determine whether dress codes had any discernible effect on the level of gang violence being experienced in the nation's schools. To this end, a review of the relevant peer-reviewed and scholarly literature concerning dress codes in general and their effect, if any, on gang violence is provided below.

My original thinking in this area was based on a conjectured relationship between how strict a school was in enforcing regulations in general and dress codes in particular that promoted good citizenship and mutual respect for other students and teachers. To gain an overview, an initial search was conducted using the key words, "dress codes" and "gang violence." The results of this initial search confirmed my original supposition that a great deal of research has been focused on this area, returning 63 matches for books, 10 juried journal articles, four magazine articles and one newspaper article from Questia, a representative sampling of which is reviewed as follows.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Research Paper on Dress Codes Affect on Gang Violence in Schools Assignment

Based on their offerings in the Questia results, the most promising resources included an general overview by Cronkhite (2005) and Lopez (2003) who both confirmed that gang violence is no longer restricted to inner-city schools as well as a study by Griffin and Meacham (2002) who report, "Gangs are prevalent in many public schools. Youth gangs today are found in almost all 50 states. Gangs increasingly exist in medium sized and small towns and in suburban communities, but usually do not exhibit the same degree of organization, criminality and violence as those gangs in some larger cities" (p. 15). This observation confirmed my original thinking but the question arose concerning "almost all 50 states." Which ones do not have any gang violence at all, Griffin and Meacham? These researchers also confirmed that most gangs operating in schools mirror their older counterparts by sporting gang-related colored attire: "Members dress alike, often adopting a particular color as their gang color. Symbols of affiliation may include the garment itself . . . [or] the manner in which the garment is worn" (p. 15). This confirmation was followed by a new issue that had not occurred to me during my original thinking concerning dress codes: "The difficulty with clothing that may signify gang membership is that non-members also wear these items. Furthermore, many of these items have become fashionable at different times for adolescents with no gang involvement" (Griffin & Meacham, 2002, p. 16). This issue was addressed by Klein (1997) in his book, The American Street Gang, in which the author advises, "Although I have misgivings about antigang dress codes and would prefer more generic codes that don't target gang members only, I've argued in favor of dress codes during school hours" (p. 169). School districts would appear to have the right to regulate what type of clothing and accessories students are allowed to wear in schools, but mandating a dress code involves some legalities that had also not occurred to me during my original thinking about this issue. In this regard, Herbon and Workman (2000) point out that, "Students sometimes want to wear eclectic clothes and hairstyles and insist that their constitutional rights allow their actions. Administrators, on the other band, are often convinced that any type of dress and appearance that is slightly outside the norm is disruptive to the educational process and should therefore be banned" (p. 68). Although these authors cite a few cases that support the legality of dress codes in the schools, the question remains, though, about the effect of dress codes on gang violence. After all, restricting what all students can wear because of the actions of a few potential trouble-makers seems militaristic and overly officious. The need for such dress codes was made clearer by Gullatt (1999) who points out that, "The fashion trend at school, especially urban… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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