Carlow school tells students not to wear tight-fitting 'distracting' PE clothes

ireland
The school has not yet responded to questions from parents on the matter.
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Digital Desk Staff

Students in a secondary school in Co Carlow have been told by teachers not to wear tight-fitting clothing to PE, as it is distracting for staff.

Presentation College Carlow spoke to all female students in their year groups last Friday and asked them not to wear leggings or tight bottoms according to the Carlow Nationalist.

The students were also told not to roll up their skirts or tighten their jumpers as it was also too revealing.

According to the Nationalist, younger students were given a 'PG version' of the rules but male students were not included in the assemblies.

One parent, who wishes to remain anonymous, described how her two daughters explained the rules:

"My 12-year-old said: 'No ankles, no knees, no collarbones. We are not allowed shown any skin. Basically we are to remain covered at all times'.

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"My older girl is 16, and they were told they should have more respect for themselves and basically that they were using their bodies to distract the male teachers."

The school principal was contacted yesterday by the Nationalist, but did not issue a comment on the matter.

Student reaction

An online petition against the policy has also been signed by 3,500 people, while people on social media have described the instructions as a 'disgrace' and amounted to body-shaming.

Students at the school said they felt "degraded, paranoid, violated, disgusted and unsafe" following the announcement, while the male students in the school are planning to wear leggings to school in protest.

The Irish Secondary Schools Student Union (ISSU) has said the controversy is a reflection of the everyday sexism encountered by girls and women.

The ISSU's Saoirse Exton says she was appalled but not surprised at the instruction.

"This is a thing that constantly happens; girls being made feel uncomfortable because they are [considered to be] sexualising themselves by wearing leggins.

"I think it is everyday sexism that occurs to a lot of women and girls in second level and throughout the rest of their lives."

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