I point blank hated wearing skirts to school and opted for trousers as soon as I possibly could.
Wearing a skirt brings about so many minefields that a young girl should never have to consider, with the length scrutinized as if it was somehow reflective of your character. Moreover, wearing a school skirt can be so damn impractical come the winter months.
Therefore, I want to take a moment to applaud the strong students at Charter Day School in Leland, North Carolina, who challenged their school’s uniform policy.
The students – aged 5, 10, and 14 – took issue with Charter Day’s policy that female students had to wear skirts which were ‘knee-length or longer’.
— ACLU of North Carolina (@ACLU_NC) March 9, 2017
The students turned to the ACLU in order to pursue a lawsuit against the school, arguing how the skirts rule distracted from academics, restricted physical activity, and led to girls feeling cold and uncomfortable.
They had initially had put together a petition against mandatory skirts with over 100 signatures, but this was taken from them by a teacher.
Writing on the ACLU website in 2016, student Keely Burks wrote:
In the year 2016, I don’t think anyone should have a problem with young women wearing pants. There are so many professional women – businesswomen, doctors, and world leaders – who wear pants every day. If I had the choice, I would wear pants or shorts to school every day.
Some of my classmates would probably still want to wear skirts—but that should be their decision, not the school’s. Either way, we should have a choice.
I hope that by challenging my school’s policy, I can help other girls who want to go to school without being stereotyped, or who just want to play outside or sit in class without feeling uncomfortable.
Girls who violated the skirt policy could face punishments ranging from having their parents called to being sent out of the class, and could even result in potential expulsion.
Charter Day had claimed the policy was in place in order to promote ‘chivalry’ and traditional values, as well as to instill a sense of discipline.
After being represented by ACLU, the students have now won their lawsuit against Charter Day, with the judge ruling the skirts policy violated the constitution, according to court documents.
The judge stated:
The plaintiffs in this case have shown that the girls are subject to a specific clothing requirement that renders them unable to play as freely during recess, requires them to sit in an uncomfortable manner in the classroom, causes them to be overly focused on how they are sitting, distracts them from learning, and subjects them to cold temperatures on their legs and/or uncomfortable layers of leggings under their knee-length skirts in order to stay warm, especially moving outside between classrooms at the school.
Defendants have offered no evidence of any comparable burden on boys.
#BreakingNews Judge rules that North Carolina school's requirement for girls to wear skirts violates law & 'distracts them from learning due to focusing on positioning of their legs in class'. A school promoting traditional values for girls is unconstitutional sex discrimination.
— Dave Vescio (@DaveVescio) March 30, 2019
Very well done to Keely and the other students who stood their corner so determinedly on this one.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.