26/03/2014 11:34 GMT | Updated 26/03/2014 11:59 GMT

Haven Middle School, US, Bans Girls From Wearing Leggings - As They Distract The Boys

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A school in the US has banned its female pupils from wearing leggings or yoga pants as they prove too distracting to boys, and the decision has sparked protests among students and parents alike.

Haven Middle School in Illinois has been accused of "shaming" girls, and of picking on female students who have developed earlier than their friends.

Students wore leggings or yoga pants to school last week to protest against the ban, while more than 500 have signed a petition calling for the rule to be reversed.

Student Sophie Hasty told the Evanston Review: "Not being able to wear leggings because it’s ‘too distracting for boys’ is giving us the impression we should be guilty for what guys do."

One parent wrote a letter to the school principal Kathleen Roberson asking: "At what point do you take girls out of school altogether because boys can’t handle it?"

As Slate magazine points out: "Rhere's a fine line between deeming a type of clothing as distracting, and declaring a body itself to be disruptive. And if boys are really spending too much time staring at leggings (or legs) instead of at the chalkboard, then that's a behaviour that boys should learn to regulate before they're accused of sexual harassment once they graduate to the workforce."

One student told the Evanston Review she and a friend were both wearing the same PE shorts but she was reprimanded by a teacher while her friend wasn't.

"“I asked, ‘Why just me?’ and she said it was because I had a different body type than my friend,” she said. “With all the social expectations of being a girl, it’s already hard enough to pick an outfit without adding in the dress code factor."

Hoberson insists the school has not changed its dress code, and there is no ban, saying: "It has been communicated to students that ‘if leggings are worn, a shirt, shorts, or skirt worn over them must be fingertip length."