NEW HANOVER COUNTY -- A number of schools in New Hanover County have started the year off in style -- uniform style that is. The change came after a parent survey showed strong support for school uniforms. Alderman Elementary Principal Julie Schuilwerve said, "Yesterday was the first day and the kids came off the bus or got out of the cars and they looked great." Alderman Elementary is one of six schools in New Hanover County to switch to school uniforms. This year students have to wear a white or navy polo shirt and either khaki or navy colored pants or skirts. The kids have mixed feelings about the new dress code. Fifth-grader Stephens Whitehurst said, "I like it cause then everybody has on the same thing so nobody gets made fun of." Student Tayah Lowery said, "In other ways it's bad because everybody's walking around with basically the same things on." The goal is to make kids less concerned about their wardrobe and more concerned about their schoolwork. Principal Schuilwerve says some parents are still not convinced the uniforms were the way to go. "I do know that there are some parents who feel it takes away from choice and the child's creativity, but we want that creativity to go into the academics and not into the dress." And it seems the kids are still finding creative ways to keep their identity amidst a sea of navy, white and khaki. Teacher Rachel Moser said, "Style is how you carry yourself and your personality." Students aren't the only ones who have to follow a new dress code. Employees at New Hanover County schools also have to follow a new stricter dress code which doesn't allow shorts, tank tops or flip flops. They are also only allowed to wear jeans ten days out of the year that are specified by the school system.
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