LONDON – As a record-breaking heat wave grips Britain, some teenage boys are protesting their school’s “no shorts” policy by donning skirts instead.
Students at the Isca Academy in Exeter, England, turned up at school Thursday wearing skirts after their head teacher wouldn’t relax the dress code, which bans shorts.
The teenagers argued it was just too hot to wear trousers as temperatures soared to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (nearly 27 C).
Local news site Devon Live captured the scene outside the academy Thursday morning as schoolgirls doled out spare skirts to their classmates.
One boy, who helped organize the protest, told Devon Live that 50 to 75 boys were involved.
“If the Queen said that the people … at this thing doing the royal stuff … could take off their jackets for like the first time in 100 years or something, then surely we should be allowed not to wear trousers in the summer,” he said, referring to changes made to strict dress rules for racegoers attending the Royal Ascot.
He added that wearing the black-and-white tartan skirt was “quite refreshing.”
One boy in year nine (eighth grade in the United States), who was also sporting a skirt, said the protest had started with five boys, but he expected “hundreds” to join in.
Asked if he enjoyed the feeling of wearing a skirt, he said: “It’s just a nice breeze.”
Another boy, in year 10, said he was “put in isolation” for wearing shorts to school on the previous day.
A mother with a 14-year-old son at Isca said: “My son wanted to wear shorts but was told he would be put in the isolation room for the rest of the week.”
She added, “The head teacher told them ‘Well you can wear a skirt if you like’ but I think she was being sarcastic. However children tend to take you literally and so five boys turned up in skirts today — and because she told them it was OK there was nothing she could do as long as they are school skirts.”
Isca Academy head teacher Aimee Mitchell released a “hot weather statement” in response to the uproar.
“We recognize that the last few days have been exceptionally hot and we are doing our utmost to enable both students and staff to remain as comfortable as possible through the following adjustments,” Mitchell said.
She added, “Shorts are not currently part of our uniform for boys and I would not want to make any changes without consulting both students and their families.”