PARENTS

Ralph Allen School Accused Of ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Sexism After Telling Parents To Measure Girls' Skirts

'It feels like an act of humiliation.'

13/06/2017 11:19 BST

A school has been accused of sexism straight out of the ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ after asking parents to measure the length of their daughters’ skirts. 

Ralph Allen School in Bath, sent a message to mums and dads explaining there had been a problem with girls breaking dress codes by wearing skirts that were too short - and requesting they check their daughter’s uniform each day to ensure: “the hem of the skirt should be no more than a planner’s width from the knee when the student is kneeling down’’. 

Mum of the school, Ruth Haynes, wrote on Facebook: “The idea of asking your daughter to kneel down to check a skirt length feels like an act of humiliation. 

“It has essence of Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale.”  

Indeed via Getty Images

Another mum who has children at the school, Holly Tarquini, wrote: “I have an enormous issue with this policing of girls’ uniforms - not least because my 12-year-old came home from school the other day in her prescription PE skirt which just skims her bottom. 

“She chooses to wear trousers every day, but if she chose to wear a skirt it sounds as though you would insist that the skirt she wears for school is long and the skirt she wears for PE is very short: why?” 

The request was made by the school on Facebook and read: “Parents/carers - please help! We are reinforcing to girl students the correct length of their skirts. 

“The hem of the skirt should be no more than a planner’s width from the knee when the student is kneeling down. 

“We will be asking students whose skirts are too short to unroll the tops or to wear an alternative the next day. 

“We need parents to help too - check your daughter’s skirt length before she leaves for school in the morning and ensure it is no shorter than it should be. 

“Impress upon our students that they should wear correct length skirts.”  

Some parents said female pupils were being “unfairly targeted” - but the school refuted this, saying a crackdown had already been launched on boys wearing untucked shirts. 

Others voiced support of the school’s policy about skirt lengths and said it should be enforced. 

Mum Emma Allen said: “I am so happy to hear this, it is awful seeing some of the girls with the skirts so short. I am constantly telling my daughter to not roll it up.” 

A statement from the school said: “The last two terms the focus has been on boys’ shirts being tucked in. 

“We have found that it is more successful to target one thing at a time, so all staff can help to reinforce the uniform guidelines together.” 

Pupils were required to wear a uniform at all times, to give a “distinctive and appropriate appearance inside and outside” the classroom, the school’s website said. 

The uniform requirements were “intended to be clear and unambiguous.” 

Boys must wear a suit jacket, white shirt and trousers, tie and optional jumper, but girls have the choice of wearing a skirt “worn at the correct length”, or trousers. 

HuffPost UK has contacted the school for further comment and will update this piece upon response.

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