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Dear ‘Miss’

Today you held an assembly for year nine.  It’s a precarious age, 13 and 14 year olds.  Their bodies and minds are changing on a daily basis and the air around them is thick with hormones and insecurity.   They often don’t know how they feel about themselves and worry about how they’re viewed by others.

They’re very much at a pivotal moment in their lives. A year ago they were still quite childlike and yet this time next year they’ll be knee deep in revision for exams that will influence their future careers. Now more than ever they need the support and guidance of the adults on their lives.

You chose to use the assembly to discuss uniform standards and one over of uniform in particular – skirts.

The issue of school skirt length is decades old and I’m sure it’s frustrating.  But I’ve never heard of a teacher going to quite the lengths (pun intended) that you chose, to make your point.

“The uniform rules state that your skirts must be knee length and yet the girls in this year seem to wear their skirts shorter and shorter.

“I actually find it disgusting.  I just wonder how low your self esteem must be to feel the need to wear your skirt THAT short.

“Do you like people looking at you? I mean, do you really need all that attention to feel good about yourselves? ”

Luckily Beth has been raised around a lot of strong women and men who respect them, so she didn’t take on board the potentially damaging statements you made.  But let’s just consider for a second, the implications of what you said.

1. You suggested to a room of 13 and 14 year olds, that females who show their legs do so because they have low self esteem.

2. You stated that the either sight of young girls legs was disgusting.  You implied that they should be ashamed of their body and cover it up lest they be found, ‘disgusting’.

3.  Dangerously, you suggested that if a girl wears a shorter skirt then they do so to attract attention.  This sounds alot like ‘asking for it’ to me.

Basically you slut-shamed an entire room of teenage girls and made comments that promoted rape culture.  You did this to try and enforce a school rule that effects neither their education nor their safety.

I know many teachers and have the utmost respect for those who educate our young people.  However I’m concerned about what you’re teaching them.

You have a massive responsibility and an opportunity to teach some great life lessons.

You should be teaching teenagers that their bodies are incredible, beautiful and that they have complete ownership over them.

You should be building up their self esteem, not publicly questioning it and essentially invited their classmates to measure it based on skirt length.

You should reassure them that self expression is okay and that we shouldn’t judge people by their appearance.

Above all, you ought to be making it clear to them that no matter what a girl wears, she is not ‘asking for attention’.  She can wear whatever the hell she likes.

Obviously as a parent I respect and support the school uniform rules.   I try to ensure that my daughter respects them and her teachers, but I’m proud that today she came home and told me she was angry with you.

As a mother of two daughters, as a fellow woman, I’m angry with you too.

You’re their teacher.  While my daughter’s at school, you’re in charge of her and her friends and I have no choice but to trust you with her well-being.  You have at your disposal punishments and consequences that I can’t match!  Night time detentions, lunch time detentions, lines, litter picking, removal of privileges, letters or calls home.  You could explain to them about corporate dress and how they may be expected to present themselves in the future.  You could reiterate the fact that the school rules are non-negotiable.  Why oh why would you feel the need to resort to slut shaming the young women in your care?

I beg you, consider the impact of your words and choose them more carefully.  Build up our young people instead of beating them down.

Regards

Beth’s mum

Be a social butterfly...

  • Oh my word, this is outrageous. I’m sure the teacher had good intentions but to say these things to the girls is totally unacceptable. My boy is in year 8 and we were discussing the other day how hard the girls skirt standard will be for one of my twins to adhere to, when she reaches secondary as she is super tall. Mich x

  • While i’ve always been a strong believer in school rules being followed more that it teaches people how to behave in work places more than anything else. It is totally unacceptable for them to slut sham students and I hope you’ve sent this to the school governors

  • Natalia Molinero Mingorance

    oh, I think the teacher has good intentions and probably what she wants is girls to not try to depend too much on their physical aspect to feel pretty, but the terms she uses are not really appropriate haha she may need to develop her communication skills lol and as long as the kids are not covering enough meat, I think the knee-thing is too extreme! x

  • I think that the teacher meant well and probably had the girls best interests ,however the way she came across and the language she used to put her point could have been better phrased.

  • I hope you shared this with the school. I would love to hear their response.

  • I understand why the teacher did what they did, but this was an awful way to go around and definitely not the right words or attitude at all! I really hope you have sent this to the school! If not, you definitely should!

  • Jennifer Eastwell

    My school teachers used to be like this too. It actually encouraged students to call each other ‘disgusting’ and ‘sluts’. But they are only following the teachers message to be honest. It’s wrong. The teachers should be encouraging students to dress appropriately. Explain the school rules and dress standards are there to protect the students too.

  • Ickle Pickle

    My daughters have been through this exact thing – they are now 20 and 17. I was absolutely horrified – it is an appalling way to talk to teens – well to anyone actually. Kaz

  • I really hope the school get to see this along with the teacher! Regardless of the actions, whether they were good intentions or not, there is a way of speaking to someone.

  • Alison Rost

    Wow .. I can’t imagine this happening! You can’t be the only parent who felt this way. Even if there was an issue .. it seems like there was a huge breakdown in the delivery. I’m so sorry ..