October 23, 2014
By Joe Maniscalco
Bronx, NY – Councilman Andy King [D-12th District] thinks New York City school kids should be required to wear uniforms to class, and he’s betting that he has enough support at both the city and state levels to make it happen.
“The minute we take politics out of the conversation, we make it happen,” Councilman King told a gathering of students and parents outside of MS 142 on Baychester Avenue this week. “If we keep politics in the conversation, we slow ourselves down.”
Councilman King, who also co-chairs the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, expects some of the push back to mandatory school uniforms to come from some of his progressive colleagues in the City Council.
“We do have a number of people who think that just because you have the ability to fight some causes, that you should fight some causes,” Councilman King said. “And I don’t think you should fight every cause, because at the end of the day, an adult’s issue is not a child’s issue.”
According to Councilman King and his supporters, requiring New York City school kids to wear uniforms to class will cut down on bullying, keep kids safe and focused on their studies, and save parents’ money.
The New York City Department of Education [DOE] does not presently mandate school uniforms, but does look favorably on the practice, and any school that decides to institute a uniform policy, is free to do so.
Charter schools around the city are already big proponents of student uniforms.
“Whatever laws we have on the books right now need to be changed,” Councilman King insisted.
In anticipating those opposing mandatory school uniforms, Councilman King urged detractors not to “push back because you sit in an office somewhere, or you're part of some organization that doesn’t deal with children and education each and every day.”
Councilman King, who was elected in 2012, has strong ties to organized labor, but it’s unclear if the union representing New York City school teachers supports the legislator’s bid for school uniforms.
Neither the United Federation of Teachers [UFT], or the Mayor’s Office responded to requests for comment.
“I know we have good support,” Councilman King said. “A lot of people think it’s the right thing to do.”