HeadLine: JO WINS RIGHT FOR BOYS TO WEAR SKIRTS INTO SCHOOL
Daily Record, 24/02/2000, p19
by SHAUN MILNE
A SCOTS mother has won the right for her daughter to wear trousers to
And the outcome of the legal battle means schoolboys there can now wear
skirts – if they want to.
University professor Claire Hale took daughter Jo’s school – Whickham
comprehensive in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear – to court after staff banned
her from wearing trousers in class.
Yesterday, she won an out of court settlement in a landmark case backed
by the Equal Opportunities Commission – who said they would help anyone
tacklesimilar dress issues in future.
Last night, Professor Hale, originally from Irvine, Ayrshire, said:
“It means that on any day a child can decide what they want to wear to
school without discrimination.
“We don’t know what the future holds, who knows if a boy will want to
wear skirts – and why not?
“You have David Beckham wearing a sarong and all those posh boarding
schools in Scotland where they wear kilts.”
Thrilled Jo, 14, added: “I am delighted. Now I will be glad to put this
“After all, if you’re in class and doing your work then what does it
matter if you’re wearing trousers?”
Last night, the school insisted that they only backed down over costs.
Peter Maughan, chairman of the school governors, said: “We were
prepared to foot a bill of between £1000 and £3000 if we lost.
“But the EOC decided to hire the most expensive lawyers in the land and
forced the costs up.
“If we had lost we were looking at a bill of up to pounds 50,000. We
have 1700 children to educate and we couldn’t take that risk. We have
been forced into this by chequebook litigation.”
An EOC spokeswoman said: “We are really pleased by the result and would
be happy to assist any other parties to negotiate uniform dress codes.”
Under the Sex Discrimination Act different dress codes for males and
females are allowed – but it is illegal if the dress code of one sex
disadvantages the other.
Ann Hill, of the Scottish School Boards Association, said: “If boys
wanted to wear skirts at school they would just look stupid. You have
to get a balance between what is practical and what is common sense.”
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