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Long Co. considering student uniforms
MR school uniforms
Students model styles that may be adopted as school uniforms. - photo by Photo by Mike Riddle
LUDOWICI — Long County High School had a community forum Wednesday to provide information to the public and to gather input on the possibility of requiring students to wear uniforms.
A presentation made by LCHS Assistant Principal Scotty Hattaway said many schools are going to uniforms to help make them safer and to improve in discipline.
Uniforms have been required in Liberty County schools for two years, one for high schoolers.
He cited one study in California showing that once uniforms were implemented, the crime rate in a school dropped 91 percent and school suspension rates dropped 90 percent.  He also cited information provided by Bradwell Institute showing that student referrals dropped from 8,000 in 2007 to 3,000 in 2008, and the only major change at the school between the two years was the implementation of a uniform policy.
However, Hattaway also said, according to a GreatSchools article, opponents of uniforms claim that a uniform policy violates student rights of expression, only put a bandage on problems of violence, put a financial burden on poor families, make students a target for bullies at other schools, and were difficult to enforce in a public schools.
Hattaway said an online survey of faculty showed 69 percent at Smiley Elementary, 73 percent at Walker Middle and 82 percent at LCHS were in favor of a uniform policy.
He said if uniforms are required, stores that carry them include Sears, JC Penny, Old Navy, A-1 Uniform, Elysium Graphics, Kadee’s Korner, Advertising Specialist and Target.
Hattaway also said a sampling showed uniform pants ranged as low as $12 and long sleeve shirts, $5.75.
After the presentation, Hattaway fielded questions from people in the packed cafeteria.
Questions ranged from whether shirts would have to be tucked in to how uniforms affect academic achievement.
Hattaway said shirts would be required to be tucked. He did not have any statistical information on how they affected achievement.  He did say achievement is usually correlated with attendance, and that at both Liberty High and Bradwell attendance did rise after uniforms were required.
Comments from the crowd were both for and against uniforms.
Hattaway closed, saying the decision would be made by the board of education.

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