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Uniform decision
Norcross Elementary introduces new clothing option

NORCROSS - DeVon Ingram remembers wearing a uniform when he attended a charter school in Michigan.

The fifth-grader also remembered he didn't like the outfit.

But now DeVon, who is a few years older and wiser, is wearing a uniform again - with no complaints.

"I like how they're short-sleeved and not tight," the Norcross Elementary School student said of the polo shirt that is part of the uniform.

The principal of the Title I school, Dora Hill, decided to give parents the option of dressing their children in a uniform this year. She said purchasing the clothing could help minimize financial hardship on parents.

"I think that financially it would help the parents," Hill said. "They could purchase the clothing for the year, and that's it."

The uniform eliminates the need to purchase new articles of clothing as the seasons change, Hill said. Furthermore, the clothing can be purchased at discount department stores such as Wal-Mart and Target, she said.

"It also creates a sense of school pride and unity when students see themselves basically dressed alike," Hill said.

Wearing a uniform also reduces the likelihood of hurtful gossip based on clothing, fifth-grade student Unique Wyatt said.

"I think it looks better," said Unique, 10. "People won't talk about you because you look the same."

Hill said she has had a positive reception from teachers and parents, and the number of children who opt to wear the uniform is growing.

While Hill said she is unaware of any research that may show how uniforms impact student achievement, she said the outfits could eliminate distractions in the classroom and reinforce to students why they are in school.

"The main thing is teaching and learning in the classroom," she said.