This New Zealand School Told 13-Year-Old Girls Their Skirts Distracted Male Staff


There's no skirting the issue: Dress code sexism can be very real. 

According to New Zealand website Newshub, Henderson High School in West Auckland is currently in a controversy over hemlines. 


School officials told girls that their skirts must be below the knee or they would be given detention, according to one student, Sade Tuttle. Why is that exactly? Tuttle said deputy principal Cherith Telford told the young girls skirts must be longer to "keep our girls safe, stop boys from getting ideas and create a good work environment for male staff."

In a statement to Newshub, principal Mike Purcell defended the code. 

"These rules are not new and all families are made aware of them when they enroll," Purcell said in a statement. "They include a stipulation that the hemline of female students' skirts must be on the knee, no higher."

He continued, "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."

Purcell said he makes "no apology" for insisting on high standards. But for at least one student, it's not about standards, it's about sexism. 


"The rules themselves aren't the problem," Tuttle said to Newshub. "The problem is when these codes target girls specifically because their bodies are sexual and distracting."

Watch this episode of Flip the Script where Liz Plank unpacks the problem with dress codes: