A school has apologised after pupils complained a school assembly blamed unwanted sexual attention on girls wearing short skirts.
Pupils at The Elton High School in Bury, Greater Manchester, were split into groups of boys and girls to discuss “peer-on-peer abuse across society”, Manchester Evening News reports.
But the issue of uniform was raised and schoolgirls said the length of their skirts was blamed “as the sole reason for up-skirting and unwanted sexual attention”.
They also claim they were told that short skirts are a distraction for male pupils and staff.
A parent said some children had been left upset by the assemblies, with schoolgirls feeling “victim blamed”.
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Dozens took to the school’s private parents’ Facebook page to share their anger over the issues discussed, saying “girls should not be told how to dress to stop males looking at them”.)
The school has since apologised, saying that was not the “intention” of what was discussed.
Dozens took to the school’s private parents’ Facebook page to share their anger over the issues discussed, saying “girls should not be told how to dress to stop males looking at them”.
They felt the length of skirts should not even have been discussed when the focus of the assembly seemed to be about rape and sexual assaults.
Some older pupils removed their ties in protest after the assemblies and an Instagram page was set up under the name “Exposing Elton High”, which said: “For the past week both girls and boys have been forced to have an assembly on rape and sexual assault, however this assembly did not address the problems we have at Elton, but rather blame girls for the length of their skirts as the sole reason for up-skirting and unwanted sexual attention.”
The said they would “no longer be standing for this” and urged pupils to complete a Google form sharing their own experiences from the school.
“Quite a few parents have complained and the year 11 students have refused to wears their ties in protest,” one mum told the MEN.
“Elton are always complaining to parents about the children’s skirts, jewellery, uniform, make-up. Our children are there to be educated and they concentrate more on everything else.”
The school has since apologised “for any false impression that was given”, and said that was not the “intention”
“We held assemblies in school last week to discuss the issue of peer on peer abuse across society, how it presents itself in schools and how it should be reported and addressed,” said headteacher Jonathan Wilton.
“As is usual at the start of the school day, our assemblies also made reference to the need to wear uniform smartly, including by not rolling up skirts at the waist.
“Following the assembly, some students took to social media to express concerns that we had linked shortened skirts and abuse. This was absolutely not our intention.
“We have spoken to the students to listen to their perceptions and opinions.
“These conversations were very positive: we apologised for any false impression that was given, and we pledged to keep working with them and with all our students and staff to ensure our school community remains a safe and tolerant place.”
He added: “All the students that we spoke with responded positively, as have a number of parents who have been in touch. We have written to all parents of students in those year groups to resolve any confusion that may have arisen.
“We will continue to work closely with our students so that they remain confident that abuse and harassment have no place in our school culture.”
The pupils’ Instagram page has now been removed and parents told us they are pleased with the way the complaints have been handled.
One mum said: “I am happy with the way the school have handled it. The girls stood up for what they believed in and the school acted on their concerns. They are working together going forward and I’m happy with that.”
Another added: “It is clear that there was a miscommunication during the assembly, I’m really happy with the way the school have dealt with all of the concerns from students and parents and the issue has been resolved in a satisfactory way.
“I’m really glad that the school has raised these really important issues and allowed us all to discuss them openly.”