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Parents furious after girls at secondary school told to stop wearing ‘distracting’ tight PE clothes

Parents were left outraged after a secondary school allegedly told its female students to refrain from wearing tight-fitting clothes because it’s ‘distracting’ for male teachers.

Female pupils at Presentation College in Carlow, Ireland aged between 12 and 18 were reportedly called out of class on Friday last week and spoken to by their heads of year.

According to a parent, they were told they shouldn’t wear tight clothing such as leggings because it is too revealing of their bodies and makes teachers ‘uncomfortable’.

They were also advised not to roll up their skirts too short or tighten their jumpers, reports the Nationalist. Younger students were apparently delivered a ‘PG version’ of the new rules.

Female pupils at Presentation College in Carlow, Ireland aged between 12 and 18 were reportedly called out of class on Friday last week and spoken to by their heads of year

The stern talks – delivered only to female students, not male – reportedly left several in tears and many feeling ‘degraded, paranoid, violated, disgusted and unsafe’ in their school.

A Change.org petition against sexism has been set up and signed by more than 4,000 people. 

Writing on Facebook, Sandy Haughney, whose daughter attends the school, said: ‘If these so-called male teachers can get distracted by 12 to 18-year-old girls, they should not be teaching.

‘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.’

She added to the Nationalist: ‘This is all wrong, it was all very badly done… There’s still no word of explanation from the school. 

Writing on Facebook, Sandy Haughney, whose daughter attends the school, said: 'If these so-called male teachers can get distracted by 12 to 18-year-old girls, they should not be teaching/'

Writing on Facebook, Sandy Haughney, whose daughter attends the school, said: ‘If these so-called male teachers can get distracted by 12 to 18-year-old girls, they should not be teaching/’

‘The Pres has always been strong on dress code, but this is about more than a uniform. These are girls aged 12 to 18 years old, they’re very body conscious. The girls should get an apology, they should feel safe in school.’

The author of the petition, who remains anonymous, wrote on Change.org: ‘This is appalling, majority of students are 12-18 years old and should not feel sexualised by their teachers who they are meant to feel safe around.

‘Why should female students feel oppressed over a body part that everyone has?’

Another angry commentator wrote on social media that the school should be ‘educating the young men they are moulding about appropriate adult behaviour and consent instead of shaming young girls’. 

The author of the petition, who remains anonymous, wrote on Change.org: 'This is appalling, majority of students are 12-18 years old and should not feel sexualised by their teachers who they are meant to feel safe around'

The author of the petition, who remains anonymous, wrote on Change.org: ‘This is appalling, majority of students are 12-18 years old and should not feel sexualised by their teachers who they are meant to feel safe around’

They added: ‘I am disgusted that like in so many cases, the onus is put on the female, in this case a child, to carry the responsibility for controlling men’s inappropriate behaviour.’

Parents also expressed resentment that they were not informed about these special assemblies prior to them taking place on Friday, while no notices were sent home regarding dress code. 

One, who wished to remain anonymous, said: ‘My 12-year-old said, “No ankles, no knees, no collarbones. We’re not allowed show any skin ever basically, we’re to remain covered at all times”. 

‘The older girl, she’s 16, they were told that they should have more respect for themselves showing off their bodies; basically, they were using their bodies to distract the male teachers.’ 

The Nationalist claimed it contacted principal Ray Murray, pictured, several times yesterday for a comment, but none was forthcoming

The Nationalist claimed it contacted principal Ray Murray, pictured, several times yesterday for a comment, but none was forthcoming

On Monday, a notice reportedly appeared in the girls’ toilet explaining that a survey had been carried out by students asking how they felt about Friday’s announcement.

It read: ‘The school failed to consider how this would make the female students feel,’ adding that female students now felt ‘uncomfortable, degraded, paranoid, violated, disgusted and unsafe’.

It added that students have ‘made it clear that they will not conform to these degrading rules’. 

‘We feel we deserve an explanation for how the situation was handled,’ it concluded. 

A statement on the school’s website reads: ‘The rules concerning the correct wearing of our school uniform have not changed since previous years, other than the introduction of a half-zip top for First Year students this year.

‘Students are regularly reminded of school rules and regulations at Assembly. The school continues to look after the pastoral care needs of all students through its excellent Pastoral Care/Student Support systems in the school.

‘Any queries in relation to the above from parents or students will be dealt with in the normal way through the usual school channels.’ 


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