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School Comes Under Fire For Banning Girls From Wearing This To Make Transgender Kids Feel Better

One school recently made a controversial decision, albeit with good intentions.

A school in the United Kingdom has decided that 'gender neutral' uniforms are the best way to combat some new problems that the staff faces. With the growing number of openly transgendered students in need of support, the secondary school has decided that they'll be banning skirts and that girls and boys will start dressing identically.

The Priory School in Lewes, East Sussex has put the new policy into effect. They're hoping that the transgendered students in the school will feel more comfortable now that students will not be stigmatized by their wardrobe.

Headmaster Tony Smith told The Telegraph, "Pupils have been saying, 'Why do boys have to wear ties and girls don't?' and, 'Girls have different uniform to boys,'.... So we decided to have the same uniform for everybody.”

Smith says that while transgendered students are a minority, their number is slowly increasing. He explains that uniformity in uniforms is very important to this minority in particular.

According to The Telegraph, the number of children coming out as transgendered has quadrupled in recent years. Some experts say this increase is due to more exposure in the classroom to gender identity issues; it has left more students confused about their identity and sexuality.

The policy is an experimental one and is only applied this year to students in year seven, which for the U.S. would be equivalent to about sixth grade. If the policy seems successful, the school intends to implement it in all grades.

Not all parents are thrilled about this decision, feeling that sensitivity toward the minority's concerns have completely overshadowed the feelings of the majority. In particular, the parents of many girls are unhappy about the fact that their daughters are being banned from wearing skirts and being forced to dress more like boys.

“My daughter and her friends are appalled by this,” one mother said, according to the Independent Journal Review. “The school is creating a hostile environment for girls.”

According to Smith, transgendered students weren't the only ones who inspired the policy. Banning skirts was considered due to many complaints about students wearing their skirts too short, and because the community can't seem to decide what is an acceptable length. By eliminating skirts, it eliminates the problem.

“We know the current uniform is not necessarily worn as respectfully as it should be," he said. "There were problems with decency and a number of issues raised by people in the community about how students were wearing [the] uniform.”

Other schools are also experiencing some unrest when it comes to their dress codes. In Exeter, boys were frustrated that in a heat wave, they were prohibited from wearing shorts. In protest, about 30 boys showed up in skirts.

“We're not allowed to wear shorts, and I'm not sitting in trousers all day,” one protester said. “It's a bit hot.”

Girls have also had to fight for their rights to wear pants. For the last few decades it has become more common for girls to wear pants, but some schools with strict, traditional uniform codes have refused to change their policies. No matter how cold it gets, they're expected to don that skirt and expose their legs to the elements.

It seems no matter what school officials do, there will be disgruntled students and parents.

Source: Independent Journal Review
Photo: Brighton Argus/Solent News & Photo Agency

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