A middle school in England recently changed its dress code, ruling all students must wear pants so the allegedly growing number of transgender students don’t feel awkward or left out.
The changes came after students asked teachers questions about why boys wore pants while girls wore skirts, said the school’s headmaster, Tony Smith.
“Pupils have been saying why do boys have to where ties and girls don’t, and girls have different uniform to boys,” he said, according to the Telegraph. “So we decided to have the same uniform for everybody.” He added that the school has “a small but increasing number of transgender students and therefore having the same uniform is important for them.”
He also noted that there had been reports of some girls wearing their skirts a bit shorter than a few teachers thought was appropriate, giving the school additional incentives to make a policy change. “We know the current uniform is not necessarily worn as respectfully as it should be,” Smith said.
Some teachers are supportive of the uniform changes but others think it’s ridiculous. “My daughter and her friends are appalled by this. The school is creating a hostile environment for girls,” said one mother. Another parent said her daughter is “proud to be a girl” and “feel[s] girls should be allowed to wear skirts if they want to.”
Not all parents felt that way, however, and some welcomed the changes. “I’m not in favor of [a] uniform at all, but if you’re going to have a uniform I think it is great it’s gender neutral,” a mother said. (Related: All Women’s College Lets In First Transgender Student).
Other schools in England and the U.S. have also begun changing their policies to be more gender inclusive. A private school in London changed its dress code policy earlier this year in response to a growing number of students questioning their gender identity, while the all-female Wellesley College accepted its first transgender students on Tuesday.
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