Furious parents slam high school after it puts girls in isolation because their skirts were too short

A number of female students at South Wigston High School in Leicestershire were removed from class for violating its uniform policy earlier this week

Furious parents slam high school after it puts girls in isolation because their skirts were too short
South Wigston High School sparked outrage after putting female students in isolation because their skirts were too short (Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images)
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LONDON, ENGLAND: Parents have lashed out at a secondary school that allegedly put their wards in isolation and left them in tears because their skirts were too short.

A number of female students at South Wigston High School in Leicestershire were reportedly removed from class after violating its uniform policy earlier this week. Now, furious parents have spoken out about their daughters being lined up and having their skirts measured by staff on Monday, September 12. Those who fell foul of the uniform policy, which reportedly has a knee-length requirement for skirts, were told they would be put in isolation. One of the girls had to wait for two hours before she was allowed to leave.

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Emma Harvey, one of the parents, said the school's actions were "ridiculous" and that it suggests "girls are only entitled to education if they cover up." Another parent bemoaned how her 12-year-old autistic daughter no longer wants to go to school after being "humiliated" by staff. The school has responded saying it did not intend to upset the wards and is reviewing its uniform policy in light of the backlash.

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Harvey said her 14-year-old daughter was "extremely upset" after school staff took issue with the length of her skirt. "Basically, on Monday morning, girls at the school were brought into the school hall and staff proceeded to measure their skirts to make sure they complied with a new school uniform policy introduced at the start of this term," she told Leicestershire Live. "The policy brought in by principal Stuart Kay is that the skirts of female students have to be no shorter than knee length. This was the first day it was enforced and students were told they faced being put into isolation if their skirts didn't comply. In my daughter's case, her skirt was just slightly above her knee. She was told to either put on a skirt provided by the school for the day or be taken out of class and put in isolation. She was a bit shocked to be told her skirt didn't comply with the new policy and accepted the skirt offered to her so she could return to class. But when she went to the changing room to put it on she found it didn't fit her." She continued, "Basically, instead of a perfectly respectable skirt, they wanted her to wear one that was likely to fall down. It beggars belief. In the end, she had to use a hair bobble to fasten it around her waist. But the crazy thing is, even then, the new skirt was about the same length as hers was."

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Harvey, a child psychotherapist, said the new policy sent the wrong message to both girls and boys. "Putting girls in isolation for the length of their school skirts is utterly ridiculous," she said. "My daughter and other young girls being penalized and removed from accessing their education due to the length of their skirts is unacceptable. It's suggesting that girls are only entitled to education if they cover up. Yet boys can wear shorts at any length. We should not be giving our daughters the message that their rights are based on whether they're covered up or not."

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Another parent anonymously complained that her daughter and other girls whose uniforms failed to comply with requirements were held in a room and told they couldn't leave. "Staff were blocking the door and weren't allowing the children to leave. My daughter rang up my husband in a very distressed state," the embattled parent told the outlet. "She was crying telling him what had happened to her. She said that some girls were trying to climb out of the windows. My husband was so angry he actually called the police. They wouldn't do anything but that's how mad he was. He told my daughter he was coming to pick her up. But when he arrived he was told she couldn't leave. It wasn't for another two hours before he could take her home. He was furious." They added, "My younger daughter, who is 12, was also affected. She was told her skirt was too short later in the morning. She has autism and suffers from anxiety. She didn't quite understand what was going on, to be honest. Fortunately, one of my older daughter's friends helped calm her down and she was able to come home with her sister. The problem is, she was so upset she refused to go to school the next day."

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According to the report, the school on St Thomas Road, South Wigston is part of the Learning without Limits Academy Trust (LwLAT). Principal Stuart Kay responded to the criticism in a statement. "South Wigston High School has been dealing with some inconsistencies in the standard of school uniform. A small number of students were upset by the enforcement of our uniform policy on Monday," the statement read. "It is never our intention to create a situation where children are upset and therefore we have contacted all parents to inform them that we will undertake a review of our uniform policy in consultation with our school community."

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One parent, however, was not satisfied with the principal's remarks. "It's a case of too little, too late," they said anonymously. "The headteacher has lost the trust of parents and, more importantly, the pupils. This whole issue has been handled dreadfully. When he arrived at the school he said he wanted to build trust and a good relationship with the community. But this isn't the way to go about it. His behavior has been ridiculous."
 

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