16 June 2010

Do School Skirts Put Girls ‘At Risk’?

Ah, who could forget their schooldays? Double maths, hockey in the rain and most memorable of all: the dreaded uniform.
 
Granted, ours was more Grange Hill than Gossip Girl but grappling with the itchy, unflattering attire and rolling up our skirt en route to class seems like a rite of passage.
 
Not so for the pupils of St Aidan’s Church of England High School in Yorkshire though, who have been banned from wearing skirts on the grounds that baring their legs puts them ‘at risk’.
 
Pupils under the age of 15 must instead wear trousers and it is only those in year 11 (15-16 year olds) that are allowed to sport skirts - although these have to be no more than three inches above the knee.    
 
"Very young children, and even more disturbingly, special needs children are clearly wholly unaware of the signals they are giving out," reads a statement on the school's website.
 
"Parents who have come in have been astonished to see the difference between the length their daughter may wear her skirt as she leaves home and what has happened by the time she is walking the corridors of the school” (their astonishment slightly astonishes us - because surely the girls’ mothers also used to roll their skirts up back in their school days – or at least know girls who did?)
 
The school claims "It does not need much imagination to understand where and in what situation the children are placing themselves 'at risk.'
 
Set to go into effect this September, the ban has received some criticism from parents. But the school stands firm on its decision, citing safety as the reason behind the move.
 
"The world has moved on," said headmaster Dennis Richards. "It is bizarre in 2010 to see wearing trousers as 'some form of punishment.' It is merely a change of uniform.”  
 
Made famous by Britney and sported by many a hen party all over the country, it looks like the school skirt is getting a bad rap. But what do you think? Does wearing short skirts put pupils at risk? Are students being wrapped in cotton wool or should other schools be taking note and banning skirts themselves?   
 
- Lizzie Pook


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