Problems with school dress code policies are nothing new, from the preschooler who got into trouble for having long hair, to the father who told his daughter’s school that their policies discriminated against female students. A group of British schoolboys, however, added some surprising–or surprisingly breezy–flair to their gripes about school uniforms.
Every student at ISCA Academy in Exeter, England is required to wear a traditional school uniform. The rule is usually strictly enforced. But when a heat wave this past summer left students feeling super uncomfortable, school officials bent the rules a bit, allowing the kids to remove their ties and undo the top button of their shirts. Scandalous, right?
But here’s the thing: girls at the school could wear skirts instead of pants, while the scratchy, stifling trousers were the only option for boys. When they asked if they could wear shorts instead to beat the heat, the boys were coldly told “no.”
Everything reached a boiling point after one boy was punished with isolation for wearing shorts to school anyway. A teacher sarcastically said that if the boy didn’t like the school’s dress code policy, he could wear a skirt instead.
So what did this cheeky little lad do? Take the teacher up on her offer! If it hadn’t been so hot, he could have tried wearing a sweater as a skirt. Instead, he borrowed one from a female friend, and told his mates about it.
What started as a handful of boys wearing skirts one day in protest became a tidal wave, with 50-75 boys showing a little leg on the next day. With so many boys taking part in the protest, the school couldn’t even punish them. Strength in numbers, after all!
Boys said that wearing the skirts was refreshing. But their protest earned them more than a little breeze on the knees. Their little scheme turned everyone’s head. After video of the protest was posted online, the incident turned worldwide attention on this otherwise unknown school.
Administrators had little choice but to promise to change the school’s uniform policy starting the next year, to allow students to wear shorts. They sheepishly said that shorts were never really “banned,” just not included as part of the school’s official dress code.
We give the boys an A+ for creativity! What do you think? Were the boys out of line? What would you have done? Do you have any fun experiences protesting dress code policies?