Tuesday 23 July 2019

School bans skirts as part of new gender-neutral uniform policy

‘This uniform addresses the current issues of inequality and decency’

A school has banned pupils from wearing skirts as part of its newly-introduced gender-neutral uniform policy.

In 2017, Priory School in Lewes updated its uniform policy to include a rule which dictated that all new students must wear trousers.

The reason for the updated guideline was over "concerns" regarding the length of skirts worn at the academic institution, and in order to cater for pupils who identify as transgender.

Two years later, Priory School has announced that all students, regardless of whether they are new or not, must wear trousers in compliance with its gender-neutral uniform regulations.

"From September 2019, all Priory students will be required to wear our updated uniform," it states on the school's website.

"This uniform has been designed specifically in response to the many issues and suggestions raised by parents, students and school staff."

The school adds that the updated uniform "addresses the current issues of inequality and decency".

From September, the school's new uniform for all students will consist of a polo shirt, a school jumper and trousers.

During the fifth and sixth terms of the academic year, children will be allowed to swap their trousers for shorts.

Some parents of the students who attend Priory School expressed their frustration over the new uniform policy, as it will require them to purchase new items of clothing for children in their last year at the school.

"The school said at the time that the older children wouldn't have to buy it and it would be phased in. That seemed sensible," a parent of a year 11 pupil said.

"I think that if my daughter was going into year 10 I would be happier to buy it. But I've told the school I'm not buying it and I'm making a stand."

A petition has been launched on Change.org titled: "Stop Priory School from forcing everyone to wear trousers."

In the petition's blurb, it states: "Forcing everyone to wear trousers is limiting choice, preventing people from having the ability to choose whether to war a skirt or trousers and therefore preventing diversity."

It also emphasises the harmful nature of "fast fashion", stating: "It is also very bad for the environment because the old uniforms have to be thrown away, wasting old cotton uniform. Fast fashion [is] the second biggest contributor to climate change."

The petition currently has more than 200 signatures, with a target of 500.

One person who signed the petition said they believe the updated uniform policy is "another way of controlling" pupils.

"This is about choice. In what other walk of life is it thought inappropriate for girls to wear skirts."

A legal letter has also been addressed to the school, warning that the new uniform policy will be assessed by Judicial Review.

The letter has given Priory School until the end of the month to respond.

Last month, a primary school in County Wicklow, Ireland announced it would be introducing a new gender-neutral uniform policy from September.

Under the new policy, students can dress however they "feel comfortable", whether boys choose to wear skirts or girls choose to wear trousers.

(Source: The Independent)

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