W. Aus­tralia school­girls al­lowed to wear pants and shorts

The Straits Times - - EDUCATION -

SYD­NEY Girls at pub­lic schools across the state of Western Aus­tralia will be able to wear pants and shorts, no longer re­stricted to dresses or skirts.

The Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment, in re­sponse to a com­plaint from an 11-year-old pupil, an­nounced ear­lier this month that it would amend a statewide dress code to of­fer girls more uni­form op­tions.

Stu­dents and par­ents have long voiced com­plaints about the old pol­icy, but the push­back has gained re­newed mo­men­tum.

Mrs Krystina Myhre and her daugh­ter Sofia wrote to the state’s ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter, Ms Sue Ellery, call­ing for a change.

“My daugh­ter and her friends have been quite un­happy about it for some time,” said Mrs Myhre from Perth, who is also a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Girls’ Uni­form Agenda, a group that cam­paigns for girls to have the op­tion of wear­ing shorts and pants.

The old rule re­stricted their movement, she said, mak­ing them worry about their body and space.

The pre­vi­ous dress code made it hard to take part in ath­letic ac­tiv­i­ties, Sofia said.

“I think it’s re­ally un­fair that my brothers have been al­lowed to wear shorts, and all through pri­mary school I haven’t been al­lowed to ex­cept when I have sport.

“I re­ally love kick­ing the footy, net­ball and do­ing hand­stands at re­cess and lunch. It is an­noy­ing do­ing these things in a skirt.”

Ms Ellery said that af­ter meet­ing the Myhres, she asked her depart­ment to en­sure the pol­icy was non-dis­crim­i­na­tory.

The change does not ap­ply to pri­vate schools, but a num­ber of them said they planned to fol­low suit.

“We are in­tro­duc­ing trousers for girls next year, but it’s very much an op­tion,” said Mr Robert Hen­der­son, prin­ci­pal of John XXIII Col­lege, a Catholic pri­vate school in Perth.

“It’s cer­tainly not throw­ing out the tra­di­tional uni­form.”

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