Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

School Shopping Getting Trickier Dress Code Causing Confusion

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

School Shopping Getting Trickier Dress Code Causing Confusion

Article excerpt

Polo shirts in colors such as hunter green, burgundy and light blue are appearing in Mandarin's retail stores at the request of parents eager to outfit their children for school.

School starts Aug. 18, and Mandarin-area retailers, public school officials and parents are preparing for the academic year with a new twist: School uniforms.

Officials at Mandarin schools are trying to decide how they will enforce the new dress code.

Uniforms in khaki, navy blue and white will be the required dress for all Duval County elementary and middle school students. However, individual schools have added accent colors.

Julington Creek Elementary School in St. Johns County is also implementing a voluntary uniform policy this fall.

In Duval County, students can be exempted from the policy if their parents complete an opt-out form at their child's school before Aug. 27.

Keeping track of who is in and who is out will be difficult, school officials said.

Students are expected to wear solid colors without labels or brand names. However, parents can purchase the clothing at any store they wish.

"It's going to be so hard to police," said Mandarin Oaks Principal Jo Doty.

Doty said she doesn't plan to make a fuss over violators because she wants to gently phase in the policy.

Students will not be expelled or suspended. But they will be held to the disciplinary penalties outlined in the student code of conduct, school officials said.

Offering incentives and rewards to students who follow the dress code will likely be the policy at Twin Lakes Academy Middle School, said Vice Principal Dana Kriznar.

"It's going to be very tough," she said. "But I'm very excited about uniforms and I'm optimistic."

Mandarin Middle School officials agree policing the policy will be difficult.

"It's like a dog chasing his tail," said Principal Michael Kemp. …

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