Getty Images
Advice

New Zealand Students Say Dress Code Is Gender Discrimination

April 11, 2016

'The problem is when these codes target girls specifically'

After a uniform check at a school assembly, female students at Henderson High School in New Zealand were told that their skirts must now reach knee-level. According to Newshub, deputy principal Cherith Telford said this was necessary to “keep our girls safe, stop boys from getting ideas and create a good work environment for male staff.”

The decision has upset many people, including some of the school’s students. Sade Tuttle, one of the students in the meeting with Telford, told The Guardian that “the rules themselves aren’t the problem; the problem is when these codes target girls specifically because their bodies are sexual and distracting.”

The school’s current principal, Mike Purcell, released a statement to Newshub:

“Henderson High School has rules relating to the wearing of school uniforms. These rules are not new, and all families are made aware of them when they [sic] enrol. They include a stipulation that the hemline of female students’ skirts must be on the knee, no higher. The uniform is practical for school wear and these rules are regularly enforced to ensure that all students can focus on their learning and feel comfortable in the school environment. As principal, I make no apology for insisting on high standards throughout the school and I have high expectations. That includes wearing the uniform according to the agreed rules.”

Purcell has since declined to comment further, according to The Guardian.