School uniforms can range in glamour from the over starched bane of a student's existence to the oversexed star of a music video. In Great Britain, they're used as a tool with which girls explore their sexuality, and this is causing an ass-ache for educators.
Frustrated with ever-increasing amount of leg shown by female students and their constant crazy flouting of the rules, some British schools are opting to ban skirts altogether. The LA Times reports,
Girls who might've kissed their parents goodbye in the morning looking like paragons of virtue were arriving on campus with their skirts bunched up at the waist and drastically shortened. One headmaster in western England complained that his female students wore skirts that were "almost like belts," while a headmaster in a Scottish border town warned that the girls' increasingly revealing attire risked encouraging "inappropriate thoughts" among the boys.
Better to establish an environment that focuses attention on learning, not legs, than to maintain the status quo for the sake of tradition, educators say.
Understandably, this is being met with mixed responses. Girls are upset that a few rulebreakers are ruining it for everybody and some are wearing skirts to school in protest . Teachers, though, are relieved that their students aren't distracting the, um, boys. Certainly not the teachers. Perish that thought.
Educators say combating the rise of hemlines isn't about prudery but preventing the sexualization of children at ever-younger ages.
At publicly funded Nailsea School, where girls previously could choose between skirts and trousers, headmaster David New created a stir two years ago by banning trousers put out by a label called Miss Sexy.
"They were very low, hipster-style, very tight trousers. Staff were becoming embarrassed by seeing too much of the girls instead of the uniform," said New, who supervises 1,200 students in this commuter town outside the city of Bristol.
One one hand, banishing a gender specific dress code might help girls be perceived as equal to their male peers. On the other, telling middle school girls that they are sexualizing themselves to the point that it makes teachers uncomfortable makes the teachers themselves sound kind of creepy. But, on this third hand that I just found growing out of my back, rules are in place for a reason, and if teachers and school administrators shouldn't have to waste their time quibbling over skirt length when The Children need to be educated.
School administrator David New acknowledges that the skirt ban will probably only temporarily quell teen girls' unstoppable march toward Revealing Dress Town, as teenagers are great at breaking rules.
"I suspect that, teenagers being teenagers, there will be a new uniform violation that becomes the habit," New said resignedly. "That was true when I was at school, and I'm sure it was true when my father was at school."
Meanwhile Steven Tyler is hastily assembling a British camera crew with which to shoot his band's newest video. But does the UK have what it takes to produce the European music video star equivalent of Alicia Silverstone? Only time will tell.