By Lindsey Bever/Washington Post
Amid an intense heat wave, dozens of British schoolboys went to class wearing girls’ uniform skirts when the head teacher would not relax a dress code banning the more suitable option: shorts.
The teenage boys at Isca Academy in Exeter argued it was too hot for pants as temperatures approached 90 degrees Wednesday. Dozens of boys, who borrowed uniform skirts from female friends and sisters, planned to go to class Thursday sporting a new look in protest of the school’s ‘no shorts’ policy, according to the English news site, Devonlive.com, though, the temperatures Thursday had dropped into the upper 60s, according to the Associated Press.
“We’re not allowed to wear shorts, and I’m not sitting in trousers all day – it’s a bit hot,” one of the boys told BBC News.
It does not appear that the boys were punished for donning skirts, but one mother said her son was warned against it.
“My son wanted to wear shorts but was told he would be put in the isolation room for the rest of the week,” a mother, who was not named, told Devonlive.com about her 14-year-old son. “The head teacher told them ‘Well you can wear a skirt if you like’ but I think she was being sarcastic. However, children tend to take you literally, and so five boys turned up in skirts today – and because she told them it was okay there was nothing she could do as long as they are school skirts.
“One of the five boys did get in trouble – because it was too short.”
Another boy was reportedly told to change because his legs were too hairy, according to Devonlive.com. So Thursday, some older teens brought razors to fix that problem, according to the news site.
The mother also told Devonlive.com the boys are fighting “injustice.”
“Children also don’t like injustice,” she told the news site. “The boys see the women teachers in sandals and nice cool skirts and tops while they are wearing long trousers and shoes and the older boys have to wear blazers. They just think it’s unfair that they can’t wear shorts in this heat.
“They are doing this to cool down – but also to protest because they don’t feel they have been listened to.”
The Isca Academy dress code does not permit shorts, except during physical education lessons.
“We recognize that the last few days have been exceptionally hot and we are doing our utmost to enable both students and staff to remain as comfortable as possible,” Isca Academy Headteacher Aimee Mitchell said in a statement on the school’s website. The statement noted that students can remove neckties and undo top buttons on shirts, but stated that shorts are not permitted.
“I would not want to make any changes without consulting both students and their families,” Mitchell said. “However, with hotter weather becoming more normal, I would be happy to consider a change for the future and will talk to families and staff further about this in the coming weeks.”
These British boys, it seems, are not the only ones to think up such a novel idea.
In Nantes, France, some male bus drivers showed off similar feminine attire this week to protest the bus company’s ‘no shorts’ policy, arguing pants were too hot during the heat wave, according to the Local.
The bus company, Semitan, gave in – saying the men could wear shorts while the dress code was being updated to make more permanent changes, according to the newspaper.