UK: Police Called After Schoolchildren Protest Gender Neutral Uniforms

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Police attended a protest of some 150 parents and children who were demonstrating against a high school’s ‘gender neutral’ uniform.

Police were called to Prior School in Lewes, East Sussex, on Friday as parents and pupils rallied outside the school gates over the changes to the uniform, which bans skirts and forces girls to wear trousers, the BBC reports.

Local newspaper The Argus reported on the demonstration, sharing to social media video of the angry pupils protesting the gender neutral uniform.

The school made the changes in 2017 to “address inequality” with it affecting new pupils whilst current pupils could continue to wear the old uniform, which included skirts. However, the blanket ban was brought in for all children at Priory on Friday, with girls being told that they would be refused entry if they wore a skirt.

Administrators also said that it has brought in the gender-neutral uniform over alleged concerns at the length of girls’ skirts and to accommodate transgender pupils.

The Conservative MP for Lewes, Maria Caulfield, responded to what she saw on the video saying that she was “very disturbed to see the school turning away girls from Priory school because they choose to wear a skirt and calling the police on them. This is not how we should be treating the young women of Lewes.”

Former children’s minister and MP for East Worthing and Shoreham Tim Loughton, who attended the school as a child, said it was “political correctness gone mad again”.

Uniforms are mandatory in the vast majority of schools in the UK, and the greatest complaint of pupils and parents in Lewes was having to buy the new uniform which is expensive, costing £119.90 per child, and results in the old uniform being wasted.

One mother told The Telegraph that the new uniform, which she said was not “gender neutral” but simply a “male uniform”, was causing girls to have body confidence issues, saying: “One parent said to me that her daughter was looking at herself in the mirror and saying my body is awful. She was ok when she was wearing a skirt but she’s not comfortable in trousers and there are a lot of girls who feel like that.”

A Sussex Police spokeswoman told The Guardian: “Police attended Mountfield Road, Lewes, on Friday morning where a group of around 100 adults and children were protesting. Officers engaged with the protesters and they left the area shortly after. There were no offences reported.”

A number of schools have been rolling out ‘gender neutral’ uniforms across the UK in recent years in order to be sensitive and accommodating to ‘transgender’ pupils. Wales ruled in July that all school uniforms must be gender neutral, meaning that Welsh boys can now wear skirts to school. The changes come as British schools are set by law from 2020 to introduce compulsory sex and relationship classes from early years education onwards, which will include teaching about transgenderism.


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