An online anti-sexism petition accusing a secondary school of telling female students not to wear tight fitting clothing has been signed by more than 6,000 people.
The petition was set up amid claims pupils at Presentation College Carlow were told by teachers not to wear leggings or tight bottoms because it was distracting for staff.
Posted anonymously, the petition alleged students were told to avoid such items of clothing as “they cannot show off the female anatomy as it is distracting to the female and male staff of the school”.
Several parents have reportedly complained about the message apparently conveyed in a series of assemblies last Friday.
But the school has insisted its uniform policy has not changed in recent years.
In a statement, Presentation College said: “Students are regularly reminded of school rules and regulations at assembly.
“The school continues to look after the pastoral care needs of all students through its excellent pastoral care/student support systems in the school.
“Any queries in relation to the above from parents or students will be dealt with in the normal way through the usual school channels.”
Mary O’Driscoll, chairwoman of the parents’ council at Presentation College, said the school held an assembly to reiterate the schools uniform policy to students after some students had taken it “upon themselves” to wear whatever sports pants they wanted contrary to the school’s uniform policy.
She said she has a 17-year-old and a 15-year-old who attend the school and her younger child had “no issues with what was said at the assembly”.
Mrs O’Driscoll said: “Before Covid, there was rule in place where students couldn’t bring in their tracksuits on PE day. They had to bring in their tracksuits and change for PE time. With Covid that rule was relaxed – as in they were allowed to wear their tracksuits into school on PE day.
“Their school tracksuit is basically plain bottoms with no logos. What’s happening, seemingly, lately – some students have taken it upon themselves to wear in leggings which are not part of the PE uniform. It’s tracksuit bottoms.
“So as far as I’m aware – the assembly was held to reiterate the school uniform policy which they’re all aware of when they start school. They all sign up to the code of conduct.”
Asked whether students were told the reason for not wearing leggings was because it was distracting for staff members, Mrs O’Driscoll said: “I have spoken to a few people that were in those assemblies and they have told me that they weren’t told that.”