School skirts - when is short too short?
So St Aidan’s High School in York and St Alban’s in Suffolk have banned girls from wearing skirts in school and have insisted their girls all wear trousers. (It doesn’t seem that long since girls were fighting for the RIGHT to wear trousers in school….) Various schools are sending letters to parents complaining that the current fashion for wearing school skirts which are as short and tight as possible is causing an unacceptable distraction in school. A Scottish school head who linked the girls’ skirt length with the issue of the danger of sexual attack has caused outrage from Rape Crisis Scotland.
This is a difficult one. When I attended school in the 1960s and early 70s the fashion for very short mini-skirts (thank you, Mary Quant) meant that we, too, wore some potentially distracting garments. However, I do feel that the current preference for very short, tight skirts and tight, revealing shirts, is becoming more of a problem for schools. Tesco have been criticised this summer for selling a school skirt which is only 29.5 cm long.
As a teacher and latterly a Head I have always felt that there are far more important issues for educational professionals to spend time dealing with than the length of a skirt or the height of a heel. But I also feel that we are responsible for educating young people about what is appropriate in terms of appearance AND conduct, and insisting on wearing skirts which allow everyone a view of your underwear, especially when you sit or climb stairs, just isn’t appropriate for the school or the workplace. On ‘own clothes days’ girls need to think about choosing an outfit which is suitable for a work environment, not wearing something which is designed to turn heads in a club. And parents need to work with schools on this one. Don’t be persuaded by the ‘…but everyone else is and it isn’t fair…’ argument. Help us to help girls to get it right.