Female students at a secondary school in Carlow were told not to wear tight leggings to school as it was “distracting” .
Girls from sixth year down to first-year were called out of class on Friday morning at Presentation College, Carlow, and told they shouldn’t wear tight clothing because it was too revealing of their bodies and made their teachers “uncomfortable”.
They were also told not to roll up their skirts too short or to tighten up their jumpers and sweatshirts as this was also too revealing of their body shapes.
While girls of all years were spoken to, the younger ones were “given a PG version" of the rules, while the older girls were warned against showing off their female anatomy.
The talks, delivered by each year head, left students angry and several were in tears.
Male students were not called out from class or advised against the wearing of tight clothing to school.
Students say that they now feel “degraded, paranoid, violated, disgusted, and unsafe” in the school.
An online petition against sexism in school has since attracted more than 4,500 signatures.
“We are trying to bring our children up in a way that they are not ashamed of their bodies," Sandy Haughney, whose daughter attends the school, told the.
“The Pres has always been strong on dress code, but this is about more than a uniform. These are girls aged 12 to 18 years old, they’re very body-conscious.
"The girls should get an apology, they should feel safe in school.”
A statement on the school's website yesterday said:
"The rules concerning the correct wearing of our school uniform have not changed since previous years, other than the introduction of a half-zip top for first year students this year.
"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."
The Department of Education said it cannot comment on any individual case, and decisions on school uniform policy are a matter for the school's board of management.
"Schools should consult with parents and students in relation to this policy," a spokesman said.
"In any instance where a parent of a student has cause for complaint, matters would normally be addressed to the individual teacher or school principal as appropriate," he added.
"If matters cannot be resolved at that level then a complaint can be addressed to the school’s board of management."