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Lafayette International students will be wearing uniforms

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Students at one Buffalo Public school are expected to be wearing school uniforms this fall.  As WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley reports refugee and immigrant students at Lafayette International Community High School and their families have embraced the idea. 

“For a lot of the parents it was a way for them to feel like they were holding on to a component of their culture,” said John Starkey, Principal, Lafayette International Community High Schoool.

Lafayette International is one of three school programs at school building on the city's west side.  Lafayette High school is being phase out as the international high school begins and there is also the Newcomer Academy. 

But for the International high school students a decision was made, with the help of public comment, that they will wear a full uniform this school year.

“The one common denominator amongst all cultures, whether it was our parents from Puerto Rico or Democratic Republic of Congo or Burma, was ‘why don’t we uniforms here?’ We should really have uniforms, because in our country we have uniforms. It gives a sense of professionalism. We are getting worried about the manner in which young people are dressing. It’s very different then the way we are used to for some of the cultures,” Starkey explained.

Bids were put out for the creation of student uniforms for the school. They're not ready yet, but should be available to students, free of charge, by October.  Starkey applied for a grant that paid for the uniforms.       

Credit WBFO News file photo
Past Lafayette female student wearing head garment from her native dress.

“Short sleeved polo shirt for girls and boys. Long sleeved polo shirt for girls and boys and then a vest for the girls, and the reason it is a vest is become some of the girls at Lafayette and other Buffalo Public schools will wear their native clothing from their native culture, maybe like a burqa or some sort of beautiful dress,” Starkey noted.  

Starkey, who is a former New York City educator, said he's witnessed good experiences with or without uniforms, but he’s excited his students will proudly wear an outfit that will publicity display what school they attend.

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