Boy Wears Skirt To Protest School Dress Code

A boy in Britain is protesting his school’s dress code in a creative way: by taking advantage of a loophole in the system and wearing a skirt to school.  12-year-old Chris Whitehead says that he wanted to protest against the school’s policy, which prohibits boys from wearing shorts, even when it’s hot outside.  Most recently, he addressed 1,368 pupils at morning assembly while wearing a black skirt.

“In the summer girl students are allowed to wear skirts but boys are not allowed to wear shorts,” Whitehead explained.  “We think that this discriminates against boys. I will march in a skirt with other boys waving banners and making a lot of noise.”

The reason for the no-shorts policy seems a little confusing, and it’s unclear whether Whitehead’s protests will make a difference.  It’s interesting, however, to compare this grievance with the dress code with other protests against schools’ attempts to regulate what students wear.  In United States high schools, the debate tends to be over students’ ability to express their identity, not their comfort.

“When officials want to discipline a student whose wardrobe expresses sexual orientation or gender variance,” wrote Jan Hoffman in a November 2009 article for the New York Times, “they must consider antidiscrimination policies, mental health factors, community standards and classroom distractions.”

It seems as though Whitehead isn’t going to be forced to stop wearing a skirt, but his actions might not attain the desired result.  In some sense, it’s heartening to hear the headmaster of Whitehead’s school explain that “‘ultimately the boys can wear a skirt to school because it doesn’t say they can’t in the uniform policy and we would be discriminating against them if we did not allow it.”  But I suspect that this issue would be more controversial if Whitehead were making a statement more political than his desire for shorter pants during the summer.


Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

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Kathy Lucas
Kathy Lucas1 years ago

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Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin4 years ago

A few years back a similar thing happened in Stockholm, Sweden. The rules regulating dresscodes for subway gate personel stated that females could wear dark blue short skirts in the Summer, but males had to wear dark blue pants. A bunch of the guys showed up one day wearing the short skirts and was ordered to go back home and change. Since there was a loophole in the rules, no direct ban for men to wear shirts, the guys wore skirts every day until they were allowed to use shorts. It could get really hot in those little huts that they work in and no a/c or fan that helps.

Lee Y.
Lee Y.4 years ago

yes truly admirable for his courage.its a discrimination fashioned as non discrimitory cashing in on the notion that boys would never ever dare wear a skirt.well here u have it now.the school can either let him n his fellows wear shorts,or let him contionue in skirt.if they decisively ban skirts on boys on basis of pure common sense of dressing,this boy can point out the lack of choices for boys,1 vs 2 for girls,n that would open the grounds for partiality debate.well done kid.

Colleen S.
Colleen S.4 years ago

Kudos to this student for standing up for what he believes in! I don't understand why the school will not allow the boys to wear shorts during the summer?? Isn't there some risk to their health (i.e. heat stroke)???

Joy Jin
Joy Jin4 years ago

This boy is amazing. Good for him. I hope his school relents and lets boys wear shorts.

Judith Corrigan
Judith Corrigan4 years ago

When I was at school, the girls were not allowed to wear trousers even in the snow. A lad in my year came in wearing a skirt in protest, the stupid rules stated that a girl could be sent home to change clothes if she came to school wearing trousers but a boy could wear a skirt all day and the school wouldn't do anything. I think that the school in this story should change their policies and allow boys to wear shorts during the summer.

Lin Moy
Lin M4 years ago

The boys should wear shorts, leave the skirts at home

Tom Y.
Tom Y.4 years ago

I agree broadly that boys are discriminated against. In this case, shorts, not skirts, are the more appropriate attire for them. Chris Whitehead's loophole find was hyperbolic, and made his point; but it wouldn't work well as "dress"-code policy.

Sibella Louw
Bella L.4 years ago

This is fantasctic. This boy is incredibly brave. I had a similar struggle in my school, but lost. Let's get this noticed.