Skirts but no shorts?

Posted: May 12, 2011 in Current Events, Media Gleanings, Pedagogy & Education

Back when I went to High School (circa 1970) I remember being part of a school demonstration and sit-in (in the caf) to protest the school’s dress policy of not allowing shorts.  We stuck to our guns and managed to effect a change in the dress code. It seems that the more things change the more they stay the same, -or the more some people want to return to the dark ages.

Last week, 12 year old Chris Whitehead of Impington Village College, grade 8, decided to protest his school’s dress code restrictions by wearing a skirt to school.  It seems that, while shorts are not allowed to be worn by boys, skirts were the norm for girls, and Chris thought that this was unfair in the summer heat.  Furthermore, Chris was not breaking any school rules by wearing the skirt because the wording of the school rules did not want to reflect any gender discrimination and so a boy wearing a skirt to school was OK, but not shorts.  This is somewhat ironic and the school administrators who were so concerned about gender discrimination seem to have missed the real point.

The most interesting part of the article was the headmaster response.  I was curious to see what the rationale was for banning shorts.  His response was:

Personally I’m not sure shorts are appropriate. For instance what do you wear with them to look smart? Socks and sandals?  …  I admit it can get hot but the boys complaining are the ones rushing around playing football in 30 degree heat.”

Personally, I would be concerned if this person was in charge of my child’s education!!

Anyway, congratulations Chris.  This is an intelligent protest.  The school administrators have promised to review the policy for next September.  Hopefully it’s not just a ploy to wait out the media attention and then give Chris a backhanded “no”.  I’m sure that Chris would be smart enough to return to the media spotlight should that happen.


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