A petition alleging “sexism against female students” at a secondary school in Dublin has been launched online, after female pupils were reportedly advised to not wear tight leggings for PE as they could be "distracting" to both male and female staff members.
Over 8,000 people had signed the petition by Wednesday, which claims that an assembly of girls were told that they weren’t to wear tight-fitting leggings for PE lessons.
According to the petition, the reason given was that the uniform worn for these lessons “cannot show off the ‘female anatomy’ as it is distracting to the female and male staff of the school – not the students”.
“This is appalling,” it reads. The anonymously-written bio goes on to address the supposed inequality when it comes to expectations of male and female school uniform.
“The male students were not aware of the situation going on and did not receive a talk about wearing tight clothes that show off the ‘male anatomy’ which is probably more of a problem.
“The male students tend to wear tighter bottoms than the female students and nothing is being said to them. Why should female students feel oppressed over a body part that everyone has?”
According to ITV, several parents have complained about this message, which was allegedly conveyed in a series of assemblies last week.
But Mary O’Driscoll, chairwoman of the parents’ council at Presentation College, has insisted that the school had held the assembly to reiterate school uniform rules because students had taken it “upon themselves” to wear what they like during the pandemic.
“What’s happening, seemingly, lately – some students have taken it upon themselves to wear in leggings which are not part of the PE uniform. It’s tracksuit bottoms.”
She added that she had spoken to a few people who had attended the assembly and asked them about the reasons for the warning against girls wearing leggings, and they had told her that they “weren’t told” it was because these items of clothing were distracting.
A statement from the school reads: “Students are regularly reminded of school rules and regulations at assembly.
“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.”
The Independent has reached out to Presentation College Carlow for further comment.