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School dress in Manatee more than a uniform issue

School uniforms for all Manatee school district students?

This I’ve got to see.

Especially as someone who wore uniforms during 12 years of Catholic school education.

I didn’t always wear Hawaiian shirts.

Manatee school officials are impressed by Osceola County’s success with a mandatory K-12 dress code now in its second year.

The dramatic decline it brought about in disruptive behavior in Osceola schools, particularly gang-related, has some leaders believing, why not here?

Uniforms are required in at least half of our elementary schools and at one middle school, but no other secondary schools.

Each non-uniform school’s Student Advisory Council can recommend changing the status quo, but it requires 65 percent parental approval.

I doubt that would happen.

Although I suppose the School District could try to make uniforms mandatory unilaterally.

Then you’d really see disruptive behavior.

By kids and parents.

Principal Bob Gagnon thinks he’s got a full plate at Manatee High now?

Hooooo boy.

Each high school is its own culture. What works at Bayshore, Palmetto and Southeast might not work at Braden River or Lakewood Ranch.

Uniform material?

That I’d love to see.

What I remember about wearing a school uniform had nothing to do with the social issues — fashion, sex, wealth — it is said to eliminate.

Sex? I was oblivious.

Rather it was the environment around me that made the uniform work.

The instructive presence of no-nonsense sisters of St. Joseph in parochial school.

The equally no-nonsense Xaverian Brothers in high school.

Being in a uniform didn’t set us apart, but it made us step up.

Growing up in Brooklyn, N.Y., a couple of fellow freshmen and I had to change buses three times between home and the high school.

One route took us through a Jewish neighborhood, and whenever an elderly woman got on the crowded city bus, we’d rise to offer her a seat.

“Chivalry is not dead,” one of them once said.

I’ll never forget that.

Mannix About Manatee, by columnist Vin Mannix, is about people and issues in Manatee County. Please call Vin Mannix at 745-7055, write him at Bradenton Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, FL 34206 or e-mail him at vmannix@bradenton.com. Please include a phone number for verification purposes.

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