New Miami-Dade school uniform policy welcomed by community

Caribbean-American parents of Miami-Dade public school students are praising the District’s new policy mandating uniforms from kindergarten through the eighth grade. The policy takes affect this August.

Veronica Goss, South Miami PTA member and parent of two middle-school students and a high schooler, said she’s among “hundreds of Caribbean-American parents” that have been advocating for uniforms not only for students from K -8, but in high school.

“It’s no secret the liberal school dress code Caribbean immigrants find on arriving in South Florida is a problem,” says Goss. “It’s more expensive for struggling immigrants to dress children each day in regular clothing.”

She said several studies indicate regular clothing cost more than uniforms, especially when the child wants to wear the latest designs to compete with other students. And while some kids in county middle-schools have been wearing uniforms, “there was no real policy, with several ways to get around wearing uniforms.”

Under the new MDPS mandatory uniform policy, the district will be eligible for an allowance of $10 per student, or a total of $2.5 million under a state law that was passed earlier this year. The District proposes to allocate portions of this income to provide uniforms and services for low income students who attend county schools.

MDPS’s Carmen Blance said the uniform policy has been endorsed by the PTA of all the relevant schools in the district, and that each school will be allowed to choose their colors

Goss says the chance for each school to pick their own colors give students their “peculiar identity just like schools in the Caribbean. School colors are a special symbol of identity and pride to students.”

Uniforms also seem to have an effect on behavior. Phillip Escoffery who removed his daughter from a Maimi public school to a charter school because she had “disciplinary issues” at the public school, said he has noticed a distinct improvement in his daughter’s behavior since attending the charter school “which has a strict uniform code.”

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