School denies telling girls to stop wearing leggings because male teachers might find it ‘distracting’
Presentation College Carlow

Parents and pupils are furious with an Irish school after claims emerged that female students were instructed not to wear leggings because it could be “distracting” to the teachers.

Female students at Presentation College Carlow were allegedly confronted last week about uniform regulations.

According to the Carlow Nationalist, girls were called out of class and instructed not to wear tight leggings to PE lessons or to roll up their skirts.

Younger female students were allegedly given a “PG” version of the rules.

Meanwhile, male pupils were not advised in any such way.

The school denies some of these claims but, nonetheless, outraged parents and pupils decided to launch a petition.

The petition, titled ‘Sexism against female students in school by the staff and students’, now has over 9,000 signatures.

The description reads: “This is appalling, majority of students are 12-18 years old.”

It continues: “The male students were not aware of the situation going on and did not receive a talk about wearing tight clothes that show off the “male anatomy” which is probably more of a problem, the male students tend to wear tighter bottoms than the female students and nothing is being said to them.”

The petition concludes:

“Why should female students feel oppressed over a body part that everyone has?”

The comment section of the petition outlines some of the reasons why people think the school is in the wrong.

Another commented: “I am absolutely disgusted that in this day and age women are still being treated this way.”

In response, the school released a statement on its website. It rejected the claims that there were new uniform regulations in place.

It 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."

In an interview with RTE , the headmaster further refuted the claims that girls were told what to wear so as not to distract male teachers.

Principal Ray Murray referred to the allegations as “scandalous” and an “unsubstantiated rumour”.

He did admit, however, that the school frequently holds assemblies to remind pupils, particularly girls, of the existing uniform regulations.

Murray explained that instead of pupils wearing tracksuits for PE lessons, “it was becoming more of a fashion show”.

He denied that there was a “body-shaming ethos" at the school.

While the allegations are disputed, it has sparked an important debate about sexism, double standards and the sexualisation of teenagers.

Given that the petition is still gaining steam, the school’s statement seems to have done little to placate angry parents and pupils.

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