Published:June 18, 2021
FURIOUS female pupils have gone on “strike” after their headteacher banned them from wearing “short and inappropriate” PE shorts.
Parents of students at the Notre Dame School in Plymouth were sent a letter informing them that pupils cannot wear shorts for PE lessons for their own “modesty”.
The head of the all girls school sent the letter out on Wednesday, June 16, claiming that the school “isn’t a place for sunbathing” and isn’t “a holiday camp.”
Parents and pupils have hit out at the letter, which claims that the clothing is “extremely short” and “inappropriate”, saying that they are “disgusted”.
Some of the female students organised a protest in the school playground to show their anger, and have been threatened with after-school detention if they wear the offending shorts.
Youngsters are displaying placards as they go on strike from lessons, with one reading: “Keep your rules off my body.”
The letter to parents reads: “Many students have recently started to wear shorts to school on PE days, rather than leggings. Some of the shorts have been extremely short, inappropriate and not plain black.
“Students have also started to wear non-regulation tops as PE kit, rather than the Notre Dame PE shirt, which contravenes our uniform policy.
“As a consequence, Notre Dame’s uniform appears to have slipped dramatically and looks very untidy on some days. Therefore on Monday, we removed the right to wear shorts to school on PE days.
“From now on it must only be plain black leggings for modesty and to help maintain our smart uniform standards.
“There isn’t a PE activity offered where shorts are essential for participation other than leggings. Our school is a place of work and education.”
It continues: “It is not a place for sunbathing, nor are we a holiday camp. Our uniform is renowned for being smart and we have been very proud of the way our students have worn it.
“So personally I am in favour of students wearing their PE kit to school on PE days – but only if it is the correct PE kit and worn with modesty.
“I have received several emails from Year 10 students stating that they still wish to wear shorts.
“If students come into school wearing shorts, they will receive an after-school detention for non-compliance.”
Both parents and pupils at the school have hit out at the sudden change in policy from the school.
One parent told Plymouth Live: “It’s really unfair. It’s quite disgusting. The head was so dismissive. I understand, but cycling shorts come past your knees.”
A student wrote in to their local newspaper, writing: “We should not be sexualised for what we wear by teachers, getting told we aren’t allowed to wear cycling shorts in hot weathers or in this case not at all as it distracts teachers.
“Being girls of ages from 11-16 we are being sexualised for not wanting to be hot. We have tried and tried for many days to change their minds about what they are going through with.
“Having to protest for our rights at a school is wrong but we have to do this to make sure we’re not getting sexualised.
“This will be happening from the start of the school day to the end! We will all be wearing shorts to support our word.”
Another pupil added: “For years this has always been allowed but up until now it is apparently distracting for people to and from school and inappropriate for male staff.
“I am shocked by this and it baffles me how this kind of treatment is allowed in this day and age.
“It had been really hot these past couple of days and a lot of my friends have been complaining saying how uncomfortable they feel in this heat.
“A lot of parents are furious with this along with students and have been emailing and calling up the school.
“There will be a protest on our school field and students will wear shorts and will refuse to go to lesson until they release the ban they have made and stop sexualising young girls.
“Apparently St Boniface school for boys (we are joined schools) are encouraged to wear shorts in the summer.
“This proves how differently us girls are treated in comparison to the boys and the blatant sexism that is so clearly shown.”
The Sun has contacted Notre Dame School for comment.