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Nash-Rocky Mount Officials Claim School Uniforms Are Making Difference

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ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. — Lynn Walston is doing her back-to-school shopping with her three girls in tow.

But getting school clothes for one of her daughters, Candice, is a bit easier. Like all middle school students in the Nash-Rocky Mount school system, she is required to wear a uniform to school.

When the school system required all middle school students to wear uniforms last year, one group of parents sued. The lawsuit was later dismissed. Now, with another school year just days away, some question the effectiveness of the uniforms on students' behavior.


"I don't like it. I think we should be able to wear what we want to," said Candice Walston.

Lynn Walston, also does not like the school's uniform policy.

"I wasn't for the uniform rule because I don't think children should be punished," she said.

School leaders, however, say it was not about punishment, but improving behavior.

"It had a larger impact than I ever thought possible. I believe the children were more focused on learning," said Brenda Brown, principal of Edwards Middle School in Rocky Mount. "The behavior has improved. It really has. I would recommend it for every school."

Nash-Rocky Mount schools said Edwards Middle School reported 690 suspensions in the 2003-2004 school year. Last year, when the school began its uniform policy, suspensions dropped to 485 at the school. Most middle schools reported similar drops.

This year, all five middle schools and at least five of Nash County's 17 elementary schools will require uniforms.

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