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NJ Students’ Reactions Mixed Over New Uniform Mandate

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A new, mandatory school uniform is ruffling some students' feathers at Lodi High School in New Jersey.

A new, mandatory school uniform is ruffling some students’ feathers at Lodi High School in New Jersey.

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LODI, N.J. (CBS 2) — Is it a case of fashion fairness or the fashion police? That’s the question at Lodi High School.

In September, students will be required to wear school uniforms in a policy similar to what the town’s middle school implemented last year.

“I hate them. They’re so ugly,” high school junior Alyssa DiPaolo said.

Fresh for fall at Lodi High, all students will be wearing a polo shirt and khakis in the school’s classrooms, corridors and cafeterias.

It’s the return of the school uniform, and it’s required.

“Our message to students: be dressed on the first day of school in uniform,” Lodi High School Principal Joan Fragala said.

LISTEN: WCBS 880′s Kelly Waldron reports

Fragala’s got the finer points of the ensemble: blue shirt, plain or with a school logo, and khaki slacks. The uniform’s been mandated by the town’s board of education – but why?

“It just sets a nice tone for the school – there’s no competition, and it’s affordable,” Fragala said.

“It saves time in the morning,” junior Brianna Ucci said. “Just put on my uniform, brush my teeth, do my hair, and go to school.”

Many of the students at the school have been fitted for the uniforms at JDM, where the shirts cost $15 to $21 and the khakis run for $16 to $21 depending on style and fit. They’re affordable for parents, but students’ reactions are mixed about the new mandate.

“We’re sort of hiding who we are when we all have to wear the same thing,” freshman Sarah Lorusso said. “We’re supposed to be different, not the same.”

“Everyone’s different – you don’t need clothes to express it,” said Laura Zotterelli, another freshman.

“They’re going to try and find ways around it, I know that,” PTA President Laurie Cassetta said.

Principal Fragala says violators won’t be tolerated.

“If anyone violates the code, we’re going to keep them out of class until they are in proper dress, and they will be responsible for all of the work that they miss from their classes,” she said.

The principal also said mandatory uniforms were adopted to help teachers identify students on field trips and to prevent the kids from judging each other over how they dress.

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