Parents want gender neutral uniforms
Fiordland College’s uniform is dated, expensive and not easily accessible, some parents say.
Yvette O’Shaughnessy, a mother of 12 and 13 year old girls at the school, started a discussion about the current uniform.
O’Shaughnessy brought it up after her daughters said they would like the option to wear shorts or pants, especially being as active as a lot of the boys at school.
‘‘I think it’s just a gender neutral issue more than anything else.’’
Some girls liked wearing the skirts, but having only one option - skirts - was ‘‘a sign of the times’’ and there should be more choice, O’Shaughnessy said.
She also had concerns for the economic impact on families having to ‘‘fork out’’ for expensive uniforms.
The school’s uniform cost was estimated at $900 in its 2017 fees structure.
Board of trustees chairman Nigel Humphries said the issue had been raised with him, but as a discussion topic more than a complaint.
The board would discuss it at its next meeting on January 31. The board was open to looking at options and hearing from parents who had questions, he said.
However, he agreed the gender neutral debate was ‘‘a fair point’’.
‘‘We want to look at the whole issue and look at the best options.’’
O’Shaughnessy’s post on the Te Anau Community Information Facebook page received comments from other parents expressing similar views, asking for a more ‘‘gender neutral’’ uniform.
Parent Catherine Scott said: ‘‘[I] totally agree with this issue and I’m so glad others feel the same. Kilts are not very practical for active girls, I’m all for gender neutral uniforms. Girls should have the option as to what they wear - skirt or pants.
‘‘I think it’s an old fashioned idea that girls wear skirts to school and I hope we can bring about some change.’’
Parent Amber Lind said: ‘‘My daughter is self conscious wearing kilts and would love the option of wearing long pants. The cost of kilts is phenomenal compared to shorts [and] trousers and does put a strain on things.‘‘
Fiordland College, in Te Anau.
Fiordland College students in their uniform with kilts.