These Girls Demanded to Know Why Their Uniforms Were Called Inappropriate and Got the Worst Possible Answer

April 12th 2016

Laura Donovan

A high school in New Zealand has come under fire worldwide for telling young girls to increase the length of their skirts for the sake of their male peers and male superiors.

Sade Tuttle, a student at Henderson High School in west Auckland, told Newshub that the school recently conducted a uniform inspection on a bunch of girls and concluded that it's up to the females to wear clothing that does not give boys "ideas" or catch the attention of male teachers and administrators.

Dress code

"Basically we were told that our skirts needed to be lowered to below our knees," Tuttle said. 

She added that the school told her the policy is meant to "keep our girls safe," stop "boys from getting ideas, and "create a good work environment for our male staff."

Tuttle said that the rules themselves aren't an issue, but that the reason behind them is unacceptable.

"The problem is when these codes are taught to girls specifically because [of] the idea that their bodies are sexual and therefore distracting," Tuttle said.

Many people at Tuttle's school also feel the message behind the rule is misguided and sexist. Tuttle's friend Jazmyn Green told the publication that she would be fine with having her skirt below her knees if it wasn't for a reason like this.

Dress code

Current principal Mike Purcell stood by the rule in a statement to Newshub:

"These rules are not new and all families are made aware of them when they [enroll]. They include a stipulation that the hemline of female students' skirts must be on the knee, no higher. The uniform is practical for school wear and these rules are regularly enforced to ensure that all students can focus on their learning and feel comfortable in the school environment. As principal, I make no apology for insisting on high standards throughout the school and I have high expectations. That includes wearing the uniform according to the agreed rules."

The singer Erykah Badu seemed to respond to this particular controversy in a string of tweets on Monday that showed agreement with the rule, prompting immense backlash from other users on the platform:

The larger issue of school dress code policies.

Henderson High School's situation is among many high school dress code controversies to make headlines in recent years. As ATTN: has noted before, many schools advise young girls to dress in a way that won't distract their male peers, a move that holds girls responsible for the behavior of young men.

Some young girls have taken a stand against dress codes through social media. When the academic school-year started up again last year, the viral hashtag #IAmMoreThanaDistraction began surfacing on Twitter and Instagram. Many young girls posted photos of themselves alongside the hashtag to send a message about the potential harm of school dress codes.

RELATED: The Real Problem With Sexist School Dress Codes