UK

Primary schools tell girls aged FOUR to wear ‘modesty shorts’ – amid accusations of ‘body-shaming’

Leading child protection officer backs school heads telling girls as young as FOUR to wear ‘modesty shorts’ to protect them from ‘upskirting’ – but parents say policy is ‘body-shaming’

  •  Many teenagers now wear shorts under skirts to protect against ‘upskirting’ 
  •  Primary schools introducing shorts under skirts to stop ‘inappropriate attention’
  •  Some parents disagree saying young girls ‘should be free to do cartwheels’

The UK’s chief child protection officer has backed primary schools asking girls as young as four to wear ‘modesty shorts’ under their skirts to safeguard against predators – but parents say the move amounts to body-shaming their children.  

Wearing shorts under skirts has become popular in recent years among teenagers  wishing to protect themselves against sexual harassment and ‘upskirting’, where illicit photographs are taken under the victim’s clothing.

Now primary school headteachers have taken to warning parents against the dangers of ‘inappropriate attention’ from members of the public while youngsters participate in such activities as doing handstands in the playground.

Some primary schools have told girls as young as four to wear ‘modesty shorts’ under skirts

Changes to official school uniform policy have been introduced for children as young as four.

Now Simon Bailey, chief constable of Norfolk and the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for child protection, has lent his support to the idea of wearing modesty shorts, although he added the policy should be introduced in conjunction with tackling misogyny and sexual harassment across wider society.

Speaking to The Sunday Times, he said: ‘My view is that anything that can be done to ensure that young girls feel more secure has got to be good news, even modesty shorts, but the culture in schools has got to change at the same time.’ 

Wearing 'modesty shorts' amounts to body shaming their daughters, some parents argue

Wearing ‘modesty shorts’ amounts to body shaming their daughters, some parents argue 

The Dell Primary School in Chepstow, Monmouthshire and Parkside Primary Academy in Royston, near Barnsley, South Yorkshire have both written to parents advising wearing shorts under summer dresses. 

In a statement posted on a Facebook page for parents, Steve King, headteacher of The Dell Primary School, said: ‘While we do not want to give children messages that they are responsible for the actions of others, we cannot stand by while children’s actions may attract inappropriate attention from members of the public but did not act to protect them.’

Conservative MP Maria Miller said the responsibility of keeping children safe should not be placed 'onto them and what they wear'

Conservative MP Maria Miller said the responsibility of keeping children safe should not be placed ‘onto them and what they wear’

Some parents however feel angered their young daughters have been asked to cover up.

One parent said:  ‘Children should be free to do cartwheels, hang upside down and do whatever they want to before the inevitable hang-ups of puberty kick in.’ 

Conservative MP Maria Miller, former chairwoman of the women and equalities committee, which conducted an inquiry into sexual harassment in schools, said there were wider issues that need to be addressed in introducing the compulsory uniform change.

She said: ‘It’s our responsibility to keep children safe at schools and not put that responsibility onto them and what they wear.’ 

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