Boys can wear skirts and toilet signs will be taken down as primary school adopts gender-neutral policy
An Irish primary school will allow boys to wear skirts and girls to wear trousers after switching to a gender-neutral uniform policy following requests from the student council.
The measure is being put into place in St. Brigid's National School in Greystones, south of capital Dublin, after the student council proposed the idea, and both parents and the management gave it the green light, according to the Irish Times.
Until recently, the school's rules regarding the uniform required girls to wear a green tartan school pinafore and the boys to sport grey trousers and a green jumper.
Under the new policy, which comes into effect in September, boys also will be allowed to don the tartan skirt and girls can wear the school's grey trousers, depending on their preference and sexual identity.
The school said that they hope this move, which will let the kids dress in line with the gender they identify, will help everyone feel welcomed and accepted.
The move comes after the Department of Education in Ireland published a report outlining how schools can support LGBT+ students in 2016 which stated that transgender students "should be permitted to wear a uniform that is consistent with their gender identity."
Speaking about the measure, St. Brigid's principal, Maire Costello, said children had begun to question their sexual identities from an early age and that they wanted to make sure everyone has "a happy experience" at the school.
"We have children who are questioning their sexual identity," she told the publication. "It is happening at an earlier age. We want all our children to have a happy experience in school."
"If that means girls wearing trousers or boys wearing skirts, so be it," she continued. "The most important thing is that children should feel comfortable and happy over how they are dressed."
She said the reaction so far had been overwhelmingly positive and showered the student council with praise for the work they put in to ensure that the measure was brought forward and executed.
"I’m very proud of them," she said. "They did their research and surveyed pupils... they made the case to the board who were fully behind them."
Besides allowing students to wear the clothing of their choice, the school will also be phasing out boys' and girls' toilets and replacing them with gender-neutral versions.
Sara Phillips, the chair of the Transgender Equality Network Ireland, said transgender children were now becoming more visible in schools thanks to changes in policies like the one enacted by St. Brigid's.
"There is still a lot of work to be done in schools," she told the Irish Times. "There are some great schools — including Catholic ones — and some terrible ones... it takes leadership and a common sense, human rights-based approach to ensure that all children feel welcome."