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By Sabrina Walters
Knight Ridder Newspapers
MIAMI _ The initial report by administrators compares 21 areas _ including crime rates, violence and discipline problems _ at schools that require uniforms with those that don't.
The number of violations increased at both types of schools. Though uniforms have been worn on a voluntary basis for many years, they became mandatory only recently, first at about 100 schools two years ago, and then at about two-thirds of Dade's 300 schools last year.
At uniform-wearing elementary schools, problems rose each year until last school year, when there was a slight decrease. But the drastic decline uniform supporters had envisioned did not occur.
Students at about half the county's 51 middle schools wear uniforms. The most alarming change came there, where fights among sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders almost doubled over four years, from an average per school of 159 to 284. The average number of fights per school jumped from 186 in 1996-97 to 284 in 1997-98.
At middle schools without uniforms, the number of fights also increased, but at a dramatically slower rate, from 152 to 201 over four years, and from 149 to 201 over the past two.
``That just may have …