A furious mum has hit out after her seven-year-old son was told to undress in front of his classmates ahead of a PE lesson.
Gillian Lamarra, from Glasgow, said she was outraged when son Dylan came home upset and anxious after refusing to strip down to his pants in order to change into his shorts.
She said children should be offered some privacy after the incident at Craigton Primary School.
The Glasgow mum told the Daily Record : “Dylan has only been in Primary 3 for a week or so.
“He didn’t feel comfortable changing in front of his teacher, a man he had only known for a few days, and the rest of his class.
“He will be eight soon and is starting to become aware of his body and with that, his right to privacy.
“To suggest that children should just be ok about stripping to their pants in a class of 20 plus kids and their teacher is ridiculous and goes against many other things that we teach our kids.”
Dylan was brave enough to say no to undressing in front of others in gym class, and Gillian explained that her little boy was still shaken enough by his experience to tell her about it as soon as he got home.
But she worries other children might not feel as comfortable speaking up.
Gillian said: “I always tell Dylan that if he is uncomfortable with something then to speak up and I will back him.
“But some kids don’t have the confidence and if Dylan fees that way then it’s likely that other kids do too.
“What worries me more is that some kids don’t feel uncomfortable because it’s drummed into them that this is normal.”
While Gillian believes that overall, Craigton is a “great primary school”, and Dylan told her that his teacher accepted his choice, she was still left reeling that all kids aren’t offered the option of privacy as a general practice.
The mum contacted the school to try to find a solution for her son, but when she asked if he could use a toilet cubicle to change, she claims the headteacher said there weren’t enough to accommodate every child.
Instead, Gillian says the school advised that children were welcome to wear their PE kit to school on designated gym days.
Before the pandemic, pupils brought in PE clothing and got changed before their gym lesson.
However the local authority says some schools have allowed children to now wear gym kits on PE days so as to avoid having to carry extra clothing items.
They say some schools are continuing with this practice, despite the lowered risk of Covid.
However Gillian fears that the rules on wearing gym kit to school may change again when restrictions end – meaning children will be forced to change in front of classmates and teachers again.
She said: “I fear that after Covid the procedures will just go back to how they were before and leave some children feeling self-conscious, upset and embarrassed again, when it could all be avoided.”
Gillian made a TikTok video about her son’s experience and was amazed to received hundreds of comments and private messages from like-minded mums, who either disagreed with similar undressing policies or had no idea that their children were getting changed in a room full of other people.
Gillian said: “Many parents didn’t realise the kids change together and many whose children are currently going to school in their gym kits on PE day were not aware that this is temporary because of Covid and not because it’s in the kids’ best interest to be dressed ready for class.”
A Glasgow City Council spokeswoman said: “Not all infants begin school with the same set of skills and in some cases may need some additional help from a teacher in a number of situations and this includes changing for PE.
“Throughout last year, children came to school wearing PE kit on their gym days. Some schools have continued this practice and this school are happy to continue this, if parents wish.
“We are aware of Ms Lamarra’s query and we are confident that this was resolved quickly after it was raised.
“Young children in our schools all have different needs and our school staff will do everything in their power to protect, support and nurture these needs.”