School principal says 'nothing inappropriate' was said at assembly over dress code

ireland
Female students were told not to wear tight-fitting clothes as they were distracting to staff.
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Digital Desk Staff

The principal of a Carlow school has rejected claims that female students were told not to wear tight-fitting clothing.

Ray Murray, of Presentation College in Carlow, said that some comments made on social media were “scandalous” and “damaging to staff”, according to the Irish Examiner.

Speaking to RTÉ Radio’s Morning Ireland, Mr Murray said that students were not advised against wearing tight leggings to school as it was “distracting” and that “nothing inappropriate” was said.

It was reported on Tuesday that female students in Presentation College Carlow were addressed in year assemblies on Friday, telling them not to wear leggings, roll their skirts or tighten their jumpers as it was “too revealing”.

Male students in the school were not included in the assemblies.

Fashion show

However, Mr Murray said that when Covid-19 restrictions were introduced, pupils who had PE came to school wearing their PE gear in a day that was becoming a “fashion show”.

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“On PE day, when students were coming in, particularly the girls, the uniforms regulations weren’t being followed and it was becoming more of a fashion show if you like more than anything else,” he said.

The principal said there was a discussion with the deputy principal and the deans of discipline on how to approach the uniform issue.

“It was felt that the simplest way was just to talk to the girls, in a sense go through... a reminder” of the school uniform regulations, he said.

Mr Murray said male students were not spoken to as the PE uniform issue “primarily was with the girls”.

Mr Murray said that no remark was made about teachers feeling uncomfortable with the sight of girls in “tight clothes” and that “nothing inappropriate, wrong, uncomfortable” was said.

“If a wrong message came through, obviously we do not want that to happen and I have an open-door policy for talking to the kids,” he said.

Over the weekend, this blew up on social media based on unsubstantiated allegations

The principal said the school is “annoyed” at the comments on social media, saying that they are “scandalous” and “damaging to staff”.

“Over the weekend, this blew up on social media based on unsubstantiated allegations,” he said.

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Mr Murray said he feels for the staff who have "taken the brunt of unsubstantiated rumour”.

Backlash

It comes as an online anti-sexism petition accusing the school of telling female students not to wear tight-fitting clothing has been signed by more than 6,000 people.

Labour’s education spokesperson, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, also called on the school to apologise to the student body.

"I think if an issue exists with a particular student and what they are wearing to school, that can be addressed in a proper fashion with the student themself and their parents, in a way that doesn't cause offence.

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6,000 sign petition after school tells female pupi...
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"What happened here appears to have been a generalised announcement made to an entire body of students, so I think the way this was managed was very unfortunate and I think an apology has to be given."

Yesterday, a statement from the school said the assembly was to remind students of school rules and regulations regarding uniforms.

The statement added: "The school continues to look after the pastoral care needs of all students through its excellent pastoral care/student support systems in the school.

“Any queries in relation to the above from parents or students will be dealt with in the normal way through the usual school channels.”

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