Taoiseach condemns 'victim shaming' amid Carlow school uniform controversy

ireland
Mr Martin said a full report on the incident would be prepared for the Minister of Education.
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By Digital Desk Staff

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said the Minister for Education will receive a report on events in a Carlow secondary school, following controversy over claims that female students were told not to wear “distracting” tight clothing.

Speaking this afternoon, Mr Martin said a full report on the incident would be prepared as he condemned “victim shaming”.

It comes as the principal of Presentation College in Carlow rejected claims that students were advised against wearing “distracting” clothing, saying “nothing inappropriate” was said during school assemblies on dress code.

“In relation to the Presentation Secondary School in Carlow... I didn’t hear the interview this morning, but I would agree with the deputy in terms of, there’s no place for victim shaming in any context,” Mr Martin said.

“I think the Minister for Education, Department of Education, will clearly receive a report on that.”

Apology

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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 10,000 people.

Female students have called on the school to apologise, saying they feel singled out as the male students were not spoken to about uniforms.

“We shouldn’t have to ask for an apology," one female student said.

“We should be allowed to wear bottoms that show off our figure, like I don’t understand what the problem is... what are we supposed to do, like cover our legs from head to toe, come in bin bags," she said.

It was felt that the simplest way was just to talk to the girls

Speaking to RTÉ Radio’s Morning Ireland on Wednesday, principal of the school Ray Murray said some comments made on social media in relation to the incident were “scandalous” and “damaging to staff”.

It was reported on Tuesday that female students 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”.

Mr Murray defended the assemblies, saying 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” in breach of uniform regulations.

“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.

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School principal says 'nothing inappropriate' was...
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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.

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

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