Parents and students at an Irish preparatory school are blasting administrators after female students were told not to wear tight clothing that could “distract” staff members.
Last week, female students at Presentation College Carlow in Carlow, 53 miles south of Dublin, reportedly were told at an assembly not to wear revealing clothing, including tracksuit bottoms and gym leggings.
A petition called the policy sexist and noted that male students’ attire was not discussed at all.
“Today all the girls from each year in Presention [sic] College Carlow were called out by their Year Head/ Dean of discipline and were told that they were not allowed to wear leggings or tight bottoms for PE as they cannot show off the ‘female anatomy’ as it is distracting to the female and male staff of the school- not the students,” the petition description says.
“This is appalling, majority of students are 12-18 years old and should not feel sexualized by their teachers who they are meant to feel safe around,” it continues.
One student’s mother said her daughter was told by school officials that “no ankles, no knees, no collarbones, we’re not allowed to show any skin ever, basically,” Extra.ie.com reported.
Another told local media outlets that adult male teachers should not be distracted by young girls in the first place.
“If these so-called male teachers can get distracted by 12-to-18-year-old girls, they should not be teaching,” she said. “We are trying to bring our children up in a way that they are not ashamed of their bodies; we are trying to teach our young men that just because she wears this doesn’t mean she wants that.”
More than 6,700 people have signed the petition.
“I feel this attitude towards women’s bodies belongs in the 1950’s,” one signer wrote. “The Male staff attitude towards those in their care is the only problem here.”
The Department of Education told the Irish Mirror that uniform decisions are up to school boards.
“Schools should consult with parents and students in relation to this policy,” the agency said. “In any instance where a parent of a student has cause for complaint, matters would normally be addressed to the individual teacher or school principal as appropriate.”