The British schoolboys who wore girls' uniform skirts to class to protest a “no shorts” policy during an intense heat wave have won their fight.
Dozens of boys at Isca Academy in Exeter said it was too hot for pants as temperatures approached 90 degrees. So Thursday, without an option to wear shorts, some of the boys borrowed uniform skirts from their sisters and female friends and wore them to school, making a statement that the school should rethink its dress code, according to the English news site, Devonlive.com.
“We're not allowed to wear shorts, and I'm not sitting in trousers all day — it's a bit hot,” one of the boys involved in the protest told BBC News.
Officials at Isca Academy have since said in a statement that although shorts are not part of the uniform for boys, “as summers are becoming hotter, shorts will be introduced as part of our school uniform next year having first consulted with students and parents. We feel that introducing a change in uniform part way through this year would put undue pressure on some of our families.”
But until then, the boys apparently will have to wear pants — or possibly those borrowed pleated plaid skirts.
Isca Academy officials said in their statement that none of the boys were punished for wearing skirts to school.
Still, one mother said her son was warned against it.
“My son wanted to wear shorts but was told he would be put in the isolation room for the rest of the week,” the mother, who was not named, told Devonlive.com about her 14-year-old son. “The head teacher told them, 'Well you can wear a skirt if you like,' but I think she was being sarcastic. However, children tend to take you literally, and so five boys turned up in skirts today — and because she told them it was okay, there was nothing she could do as long as they are school skirts.
“One of the five boys did get in trouble — because it was too short.”
Another boy was reportedly told to change because his legs were too hairy, according to Devonlive.com. So Thursday, some older boys brought razors to fix that problem, according to the news site.
The mother also told Devonlive.com that the boys are fighting “injustice.”
“Children also don't like injustice,” the mother told the news site. “The boys see the women teachers in sandals and nice cool skirts and tops while they are wearing long trousers and shoes and the older boys have to wear blazers. They just think it's unfair that they can't wear shorts in this heat.
“They are doing this to cool down — but also to protest because they don't feel they have been listened to.”
The Isca Academy dress code does not permit shorts except during physical education lessons.
“We recognize that the last few days have been exceptionally hot and we are doing our utmost to enable both students and staff to remain as comfortable as possible,” Isca Academy Headteacher Aimee Mitchell said in an earlier statement on the school's website. The statement noted that students can remove neckties and undo top buttons on shirts, but stated that shorts are not permitted.
Later, the school added that students did not have to wear uniform jumpers or blazers during the summer.
The British boys weren't the only ones to think up such an idea — and to get results in doing so.
In Nantes, France, some male bus drivers showed off similar feminine attire this week to protest the bus company's “no shorts” policy, arguing that pants were too hot during the heat wave, according to the Local.
The bus company, Semitan, gave in — saying the men could wear shorts while the dress code was being updated to make more permanent changes, according to the newspaper.
This story, originally published June 22, has been updated.