New York City Council Member Andy King (D – 12th CD, Bronx) on Wednesday unveiled a resolution aimed at promoting a safer learning environment for all New York City public schools students.

Council Member King said the resolution responds to a national problem and growing trend in which students have become obsessed with who’s wearing the latest brand-name clothes rather than competing for top grades.

“One of the top issues hindering students from studying and learning in the classroom is apparel.  I decided, after a number of conversations with students, principals, teachers and parents, that something needs to be done about dress wear,” explained Council Member King, who co-chairs the Black, Latino & Asian Caucus.

Council Member King cited safety as a top reason uniforms should be mandated, emphasizing that youngsters traveling to and from school and inside the school building can be readily identified by their uniforms. “We want to make sure we have an eye on our children at all times,” he said.

Council Member King also noted that many students are bullied in school because their families can’t afford to buy the latest fashions.  And there are those involved in gang activity who hide weapons in their “baggy” pants or other apparel.

“We must change this negative culture. We want to make sure that our school atmosphere is filled with camaraderie,” said Council Member King.

The resolution, which was introduced at the City Council’s Stated meeting, urges state legislators to mandate students to wear uniforms in New York public schools during school hours and at school functions.

Although many schools throughout the New York City school system choose to require uniforms, the New York City Department of Education (DOE) does not require students to wear uniforms as part of its code of conduct and instead applies a voluntary uniform policy. Under Chancellor’s Regulation A-665, the DOE implemented a voluntary uniform policy permitting individual schools to decide whether or not to require uniforms.

The DOE acknowledged in its voluntary policy that uniforms “help schools promote a more effective learning climate; foster school unity and pride; improve student performance; foster self-esteem; eliminate label competition; simplify dressing and minimize costs to parents; teach children appropriate dress and decorum in their “workplace”; and help to improve student conduct and discipline.”


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