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Middle school requires uniforms

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July 25, 2006

Albany - - Big changes are in store for Dougherty Middle School students. This year, they will have to wear uniforms. While elementary schools have had uniform policies for years, Dougherty is the first middle school to adopt the policy.

Supporters of school uniforms say they even the playing field. No one child can get special attention because he has the latest name brand t-shirt or polo.

"It would be nice that you already know what your kids are going to wear, you don't have to get up and iron their clothes the next day and maybe even cost even less money," says supporter Hollie Thompson.

Opponents say you can't tell my child what to wear.

"They should be able to choose what they wear. You don't want anyone telling you what they have to wear. No," says Parent Shloe Kennedy.

All elementary schools in Dougherty County already have uniform policies. No high schools. But one middle school is now requiring it.

It's been two years in the making for Dougherty International Middle School. This year, the school has a mandatory school dress code. For $10 a shirt, students or parents can purchase polo shirts that correspond with their grade levels. 6th grade - oarnge, 7th - gold, 8th grade - blue.

"We will always be able to identify even strangers in our building because all of our students will wear a uniform everyday," says Principal Thelma Chunn.

To enforce this, school administration is counting on mom and dad.

"Were talking with our parents and were asking the parents to really support us with the uniform policy at the school and parents can influence their children to do what they need to do," Chunn says.

Students won't be alone. They'll see their teachers sporting the same shirts right along with them. 

Last year, current and incoming students at Dougherty Middle voted on the colors they wanted to wear.

 The school is also helping parents who can't afford to purchase the mandatory shirts.

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