More than 100 pupils past and present and parents have written in protest to a headteacher who has banned skirts because pupils wear them too short.
The letter, from former pupil Cerys Evans, 21, is signed by 100 others, including her sister Lily Evans, 16, a pupil at St Martin’s School in Caerphilly where pupils will only be allowed to wear trousers from next term.
Cerys and Lily’s mother Belinda Jones said: “ Children should be allowed to choose if they want to wear trousers or skirts, shorts or even dresses. That goes for male or female.”
Lee Jarvis, headteacher of St Martin’s School, Caerphilly, emailed parents earlier this week saying that from September no pupils could wear skirts.
The decision was made because pupils were wearing skirts that were “inappropriately” short and far too revealing, he said.
Efforts to “educate” some pupils about acceptable skirt length had failed, he said, and there had been complaints from the public, staff and other pupils.
Cerys, now a psychology student at the University of South Wales, said she had enjoyed her time at the school but was “outraged” that her 16 year-old sister Lily, and others, would not be allowed to wear a skirt when they returns in September.
She urged Mr Jarvis to reconsider.
“With this ban, you are feeding into a sexist society that not only blames young girls but disrespects them,” her letter adds.
Although Mr Jarvis does not refer to girls in his letter Cerys said she felt girls were being blamed.
The letter goes on: “These reasons for banning skirts are nothing more than disrespectful comments against children, more specifically young girls. For grown adults to comment that young girls wearing skirts, or short skirts makes them uncomfortable would surely make you think that there is an issue with the adult and not the child?”
Cerys said she wore a skirt to school because it was more comfortable and she had felt uncomfortable when comments were made about her clothes.
“With this ban, you are feeding into a sexist society that not only blames young girls but disrespects them.
“It is a skirt, an item of clothing and if it makes members of the public or staff members uncomfortable, maybe the issue stems from the grown adults who are made uncomfortable by children wearing an item of clothing, and that should be your main priority, not the children who are merely wearing an item of clothing.”
Over the last couple of years our school community has had concerns over the length of some learners skirts. Staff and learners are included in this and members of the public have frequently contacted the school to complain about what they regard as highly inappropriate and far too revealing attire for the workplace.
Despite us attempting to educate learners as to appropriate school wear and issuing school badged skirts of an appropriate length we have not been effective in ensuring that learners adhere to appropriate workplace attire.
We have therefore concluded that this item of clothing needs to be removed from our uniform policy from September and replaced by tailored shorts for hot weather or alternatively trousers.
I felt it was prudent to write to let you know this in plenty of time before we all begin to consider purchasing new uniform for September.