Style & Beauty

Catholic School Bans Skirts From Uniforms, Parents Fight Back

It's time for a memorial spin of Britney Spears' "Baby One More Time," because one parochial school in Connecticut says those plaid schoolgirl skirts are now banned from classrooms.

A Catholic school in New Haven, Conn., is giving the unisex treatment to its uniforms, nixing the skirts from girls' outfits so that all students wear the khaki pants previously designated for boys.

But instead of applauding the new policy, some parents are complaining that their daughters are being denied the classic look of the skirted uniform.

Administrators at St. Bernadette Catholic School decided to make the uniform switch, announced recently in a letter to parents, for a variety of reasons, including that girls were wearing them inappropriately the New Haven Register reports.

But that wasn't enough to convince some angry parents who are circulating a petition to stymie the new uniform adjustments. Many parents say they're reluctant to shell out the cash for more uniforms, which is understandable. But others say that in banning skirts, the school is denying female students the right to a more feminine silhouette. "I would like to carry on with the beautiful tradition that the kids wear their proud uniform," one anonymous mother tells the Register.

Skirts are "prouder" than pants. Now we know!

Sartorial concerns aside, the school's invocation of "skirt rolling" brings up another key issue: wearing the skirts puts girls in a unique place for sexual harassment. As commenter songsinthekeyoflife writes on Jezebel about her experience with the uniforms:

I remember we liked having a uniform, for the most part -- there's something nice about the solidarity, the tradition and how tidy it looks -- but not one of us liked the attention we got from men (and especially OLD men) when we were wearing them. And I clearly remember expecting harassment any time I was alone and wearing it in certain public places. Teenage girls are harassed enough as it is, the uniform just makes it ten times worse and really brings out the degenerates.

The fight over what constitutes a proper school uniform won't be vanishing any time soon; uniforms, which have undergone flux in recent years due to student and parental demand for more comfortable and less revealing outfits, are becomingly increasingly more common in Connecticut's public and private schools. But the rise in popularity hasn't come without controversy: a recent survey in the Connecticut town of Manchester found an almost equal number of voters favored and disapproved of a uniform dress code.

Click over to the New Haven Register to read more parents' reactions to the ban on skirted uniforms.