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Short end of the stick

22 June 2017 | Liz Bowen

Everyone always says you shouldn’t complain about the hot, sunny weather (be honest, it’s a rarity in Britain, especially at summertime) but let’s face it, this week’s heatwave has started to get a teensy bit unbearable.

In these circumstances then, it’s entirely acceptable for one to do whatever they can to make it, well, more bearable. My local B&M had completely sold out of fans this week, the whole nation completely abandoned their quilts and windows, doors and anything else that opened were flung wide to let in sheer anticipation that even a hint of that non-existent breeze would whisper past.

However, for pupils at an academy school in Exeter, their attempts at getting through the very, very warm days were thwarted when it was ruled they couldn’t wear shorts because it’s not part of the official uniform.

Understandable, one might think at any other part of the year, but seeing as girls can wear skirts sans tights during the hot summer days, you think the same could be said for boys and shorts, within reason of course. I doubt any of them were planning to show up in their footie kit.

But alas, that was not the case. After one boy was told he would be ‘put in isolation for the week’ if he did wear shorts because it breached school uniform guidelines, around 30 boys from the school all turned up in official school skirts to protest the decision.

According to an article, the idea came from a ‘sarcastic’ suggestion from the head teacher although I doubt she genuinely thought it would come to fruition. Children do tend to take things literally though don’t they…

Because the skirts were approved uniform there was nothing the school could do (although devonlive.com has reported that one boy was warned that his skirt was too short.)

The protest has generated national coverage and has resulted in the head teacher indicating that a review of school uniform guidelines would be considered following a consultation with both students and their parents…although I think we can be pretty sure how that conversation will end.

As the debate over gender equality continues to rage I think the positive coverage about this campaign is a great reminder that it can affect anyone, of any age, in any place and shows a lot of integrity for the boys involved.

I’m glad the head teacher has agreed to reconsider the policy and hope the effort wasn’t wasted.