school

"My daughter's knees are not a distraction."

An Aussie mum’s impassioned status about her daughter’s state high school has reignited debate many parents of teenage girls will be familiar with: What length should girls’ school dresses be?

“Our state high school has told their young female students in an assembly that their dress length is inappropriate. My daughter came home yesterday questioning and slightly ashamed. Luckily, she also came home angry,” blogger Sesame Ellis wrote in a Facebook post.

“My daughter’s knees are not a distraction. The length of her school dress is not a visual representation of her value in the classroom. In fact, her body is none of your business.”

Ellis slammed the school’s request, explaining “her body is none of your business.”

“The dress you make them wear is restrictive and puts the girls at a disadvantage to their male peers who wear shorts (that are shorter than the dress hems). The majority of these students ride a bike to and from school and can’t do so comfortably in a dress straight out of the 1950’s. They also can’t run around and play during recess and lunch in that dress,” she wrote.

“Girls deserve to be active on every day of the week, not just on sport uniform day. Today, she will hike that dress up over her knees further so she can ride her bike home in time to play for her undefeated all girls cricket team in the searing heat of the afternoon because she is a strong, determined and committed young woman. These girls, my daughter included, are proud to represent their school and do so with respect, compassion and grace.”

Many agreed with her, sharing their family’s experiences with the same issue.

“My daughter was ‘forbidden’ from going up on stage to collect her year 12 academic excellence award because her skirt was too short- their response to my furious email was pitiful,” one mother commented.

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“I pay to have educators educating my children. So educate, don’t dictate,” another wrote.

Another commenter wrote: “I can’t believe that I am reading this in 2018. This sounds like something you would have read about in the early 1970’s. In fact we had the same battle then. Don’t schools go with the times? All I can say is “Wow”.”

“I particularly like the observation about the length of the boys’ shorts. Why the double standard?” another added.

LISTEN: This Principal was upset with a mum whose daughter wore the wrong uniform to school. So the kickarse mum fashioned a brilliant response (post continues after audio…)

The controversial topic of unisex school uniforms was also raised, with many asking if Ellis’ daughter could wear shorts instead.

While Ellis said, yes, the girls have the option to wear shorts, they have to be the boys’ version.

“They can, but most girls don’t fit into the tailored-for-boys shorts and the uniform shop doesn’t have a girl version.”

A student claiming to be from the school in question also commented on the post, alleging that on one occasion, girls were sent home during a study period if their dresses weren’t the correct length.

“I go to this school, I’m a year 12 student, on Wednesdays we have study periods, they held an assembly during one of these and proceeded to check the girls’ uniforms, taking up our study time, and spent half an hour doing so,” she wrote.

Do you agree that girls’ school dresses should have a length requirement? Or should girls and boys have the same standards and options when it comes to their uniforms?

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