Engadine High School apologises to students after "misunderstanding"

"Misunderstanding": during an assembly for all female students on February 1, the principal of Engadine High outlined school uniform requirements, including the length of the skirt, which led to a Facebook backlash. Picture: ehs.nsw.edu.au
"Misunderstanding": during an assembly for all female students on February 1, the principal of Engadine High outlined school uniform requirements, including the length of the skirt, which led to a Facebook backlash. Picture: ehs.nsw.edu.au

Engadine High School’s principal has apologised to students and parents after they said she made inappropriate remarks about their school uniform.

Female students and their parents contacted the Leader on Facebook to express their outrage at comments made by their principal, Kerrie Jones, on the first week back at school this year.

A year 12 student said Ms Jones told female students at assembly that she was concerned that their “short skirts” and “noticeable bras” were a “disturbance” to their male peers.

“Myself and and the rest of my year 12 peers were left shaking our heads in disbelief as we were told we were “asking for it,” the student wrote.

“I’m embarrassed to say I attend a school that does not embrace its female counterparts.

“It is never the victims fault of sexual harrassment of abuse.”

The mother of a year 9 student of the school said the principal’s comments were “completely unacceptable.”

On its website, Engadine High School states that dresses and skirts should be “appropriately” hemmed at 10 centimetres above the knee and only white or concealed flesh coloured undergarments are to be worn under a blouse.

“Engadine High School has a strict uniform policy which has been ratified by the P&C,” the policy states.

“All students are expected to wear the correct uniform.

“We ask all our students to wear their uniform with pride and dignity and strongly understand that untidy dress whilst dressed in the school uniform brings discredit to the school, themselves and parents.”

Ms Jones could not be reached for comment on the matter but the Department of Education said it was a misunderstanding.

A department spokesman said during an assembly for all female students on February 1, the principal raised a number of points and messages, as is the custom for school assemblies.

“The principal raised the Times Up movement and was raising awareness about sexual harassment and speaking out about such behaviour,” he said.

“As a separate matter, the principal outlined the school uniform requirements, including the length of the skirt.

“The principal has acknowledged and apologised for any misunderstanding that these issues were spoken about together at the same time.

“It was not her intention and a note has been sent to parents to apologise.

“Engadine High School is a White Ribbon school and continually reinforces to students that any form of sexual harassment is unacceptable.”

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