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Uniforms, stricter dress codes gaining popularity

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TYLER (KYTX) - Getting dressed for school is becoming a lot less complicated. More schools are making that decision for students now with stricter dress codes.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, one in five public schools require uniforms. That's a 60% jump from three years ago.

Boulter Middle School in Tyler ISD is part of that trend. It switched to all uniforms within the last three years.

Whether it's on the field, or in the classroom, students at Bishop T.K. Gorman Catholic School are sporting uniforms. And, they're not complaining about it. In fact, it's what they prefer.

"You don't have to wake up and figure out what you're going to wear in the morning." says junior student Connor Hobbs. "It's always set."

His parents are fans of the uniforms too.

"They like them. It makes you look nice, especially when you're out in public."

Senior student Audry Bacon says the dress code makes back-to-school shopping easier.

"Not having to go through that whole fight for new clothes like so many of my friends have to do every year."

Gorman teacher Laurie Turman says she feels good about her students being an extension of the community.

"The uniforms that we have help the girls become young ladies and dress in a way that's respectful. And, same thing with the young men."

"It's very modest, our uniform." says Bacon.

She says uniforms also help fight bullying and peer pressure.

"13, 14 years old. That's where it's the worst."

And, she says a strict dress code helps eliminate distractions. Turman appreciates that in her classroom.

"We don't have to worry about, what rules are we going to put in place this year to overcome the new fads and faux pas as far as fads go because they're not acceptable in the classroom."

The National Center for Education Statistics reports 57% of schools now have what's considered a "strict dress code."

There is no strong evidence that school-sanctioned uniforms improve behavior or academics.

A Tyler ISD spokeswoman says some schools in the district are making their dress codes stricter or easing them up a little, but there are no major changes this year.

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