2011 June 1

In a week when a Glaswegian school has asked parents to buy baggy school clothes to ‘deter paedophiles’ the simple act of purchasing clobber for kids has become a difficult subject to discuss and shopping trips have become more of a battleground than ever.

The Scottish secondary school in question sent a letter to parents which contained the claim that ‘sex offenders might take pictures of schoolboys in tight trousers.’ Local police say there is no evidence of any incidents in the area that could be related to clothing or even to children. Short skirts have also been ruled out by the school and there’s a suggestion that if parents don’t stick to the suggested dress code, their children could be forced to miss out on school trips.

Parents have branded the letter ‘paranoid’ and a spokesman for the Parent Teacher Council said, ‘Many parents – and indeed young people themselves – are keen to have a dress code in school which requires everyone in the school community to dress in a way which is appropriate for a working environment.’

So what is a good dress code for schools? Sensible clothing such as polo-shirts, in a range of sizes, colours that can be washed and worn easily by active young people, and a sensitivity to different cultural preferences and to the needs of disabled children are all important. What nobody has suggested, until now, is that children should dress to avoid the attention of predatory individuals.

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