School bans skirts in a move towards gender-neutral uniform policy
Priory School is in East Sussex, UK
A high-school has brought in a new policy that requires all Year Seven students to wear trousers.
The school made the decision in order to bring in a dress code that is gender-neutral.
Year Seven students in the UK would be in 6th Grade in the US.
The rule currently only applies to girls and boys between 11 and 12 years old. Pupils in older years are also welcome to adopt the rule too if they wish.
The new uniform policy explains:
‘From September 2017, all new Priory Students will be required to wear our updated uniform.
‘This uniform has been designed specifically in response to the many issues and suggestions raised by parents, students, and school staff. Specifically, it addresses the current issues of inequality and decency. We hope that it will provide a smart, comfortable and affordable alternative to the current uniform.
‘The new update consists of a shirt, tie, school jumper, and trousers. This is a gender-neutral uniform to be worn by all students.’
Headteacher Tony Smith spoke to The Independent about the new policy. Apparently, he had previously received complaints about ‘short skirts.’
He explained: ‘Pupils have been saying why do boys have to wear ties and girls don’t, and girls have a different uniform to boys.
‘So we decided to have the same uniform for everybody from year seven.
‘Another issue was that we have a small but increasing number of transgender students and therefore having the same uniform is important for them.’
Smith says the school has at least five trans students. But the trans students were only a ‘small aspect’ of the decision.
‘I think girls should have a choice’
Parents have come forward criticizing the decision though.
One mother said: ‘My daughter said she has got a gender and it’s female so being gender neutral when she has got a gender is a big deal for her, as she proud to be a girl.
‘I’m not saying the skirts being worn last year weren’t obscene, but it hasn’t stopped the issues as those children are in the school for the next four years and are not being made to wear trousers.
‘If the headteacher was going to bring this in, he should have done it across all years.
‘As a mum, I feel girls should be allowed to wear skirts if they want to. For me, it’s not gender neutral because they are not allowing boys to wear skirts.’
Her 11-year old daughter wrote a letter to Smith asking him to explain the changes to her.
In the letter, she said: ‘Girls have different bodies to boys and we should have the right to wear skirts. I think girls should have a choice.’