Monday, 11 Dec 2023

Anger as schoolgirls forced to line up as male teacher measures skirts

Schoolgirls were left in tears after a male teacher inspected their skirts, according to reports. Rainford High School in St Helens has come under fire for enforcing its uniform policy which requires girls to wear knee-length skirts, with many parents and pupils claiming male teachers were involved in the inspection of the skirt length.

The school’s headteacher said they have recieved “no evidence” that any members of staff did “anything other than behave in a professional manner”.

They said concerns raised by parents over how the school has dealt in “challenging students” over this issue will be “investigated fully”, reports the ECHO.

Over a thousand people have signed an online petition against the policy, with many calling it “ridiculous” and “outdated”

A video shared on TikTok shows what was described as a “protest” at the school, with male pupils wearing skirts over the top of their uniforms and large groups of pupils gathered in corridors.

Parents claim while some pupils are taking advantage of the school’s rules, others are being punished when their skirt is an inch above the knee despite not deliberately rolling their skirts up.

But it is the enforcement of the policy that many have taken issue with, as parents claim pupils are being asked to line up in the school auditorium while their skirt length is inspected, in some cases by male teachers.

One woman said she signed the petition against the uniform policy “because my granddaughter came home mortified that her skirt height was inspected by a male teachers in front of male pupils”.

Another parent said: “My daughter came home in tears after this debacle.”

“One of the highest achievers in her year, never been in trouble in her life and is subject to this. Skirt at the knee and wearing tights too. Young girls lined up at the door and separated by male staff! 2023 not 1823.”

One mum said: “My daughter is being threatened with suspension when she wears the longest skirt I can get which will still fit her waist as she is slim! There is absolutely no reason that this should be an issue for a girl whose skirt is barely above the knee!

“This attitude that girls are responsible for boys/men’s behaviour because of their clothes needs to stop! It is outdated and sexist!
I would have expected better from this school!”

Another said: “I am fed up if the school humiliating girls about the skirts. Only a few take advantage of the rules. Don’t have a go at the ones that aren’t as bad.”

In a statement provided to the ECHO, headteacher Ian Young said that part of the problem has been caused by the school reverting to a previous uniform policy of knee-length skirts after a number of students failed to adhere to a new policy rolled out in November after a “compromise” was reached between students and staff.

The statement added: “Rainford High has a clear uniform policy that despite having tried to work with our student community to adjust and compromise throughout this academic year, has unfortunately seen a refusal to comply by approximately 45% of the students. We have taken firm action to politely challenge our students around how they wear uniform.

“The issue of required skirt length as a school rule has been within the school policy for a number of years and all parents and students are directed to this upon joining our community.

“As a school, our focus is for our young people to exemplify and learn the importance of high standards and expectations so they can be ready to contribute to our community the and wider community as successfully as possible.

The discourse with our young people has been positive and proactive and I am delighted they have spoken with passion on this topic and as a school we are listening however we have consistent standards and expectations which cannot be compromised. A school environment is exactly that, a place of learning and development, not the outside world or an adult work place.

“There are rules, standards and expectations that are in place to support young people to develop, learn and grow in a safe environment.

“These rules and systems may not be seen outside of school communities however are necessary within them to ensure a large school can operate safely and effectively. Behaviours, attitudes and problems are dealt with by Teachers. At Rainford we employ teachers of all genders who are highly effective and professional and able to offer support, help, care and guidance to our students.

“Concerns raised by parents around how we have dealt with challenging students regarding this issue will be investigated fully. At this point I have no evidence that any member of the school staff has done anything other than behave in a professional manner.

“As a school we spend increasing amounts of funding on services to support students anxiety and resilience. The reaction to our decision to ensure our school uniform policy is adhered to has raised significant concerns around our young people’s wider well being we will be working hard as a school to work with our community and support our young people through the challenge of following our uniform policy.”

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