Thursday 18 October 2018

Skirts and boots above the knee and 'unusual' shades of red hair deemed 'disruptive' in dress codes for teachers

(gpointstudio/ Getty Images/PA)
(gpointstudio/ Getty Images/PA)

Laura Lynott

TWO multi-denominational State-run Community National Schools have written up dress codes to restrict teachers wearing skirts “just above the knee,” boots above the knee or dying their hair in “inappropriate” colours.

The rules are to be rolled out at Scoil Choilm Community National School in Clonsilla, Dublin 15 and Citywest and Saggart Community National School in Dublin 24, according to an RTE report.

The dress code from Scoil Choilm reads:  "The following items are deemed disruptive to the classroom environment or to the maintenance of a safe and orderly school and are not acceptable."

The document reads that skirts shorter than "just above the knee", boots any higher than the knee and hair colours deemed as "inappropriate" were not acceptable.

The Clonsilla school rules read: "Teachers and other staff members project an image to the community.

"Examples of professional attire include, but are not limited to, collared shirts, dress slacks, ties, knee length dresses/skirts."

"The principal has the final authority to decide what professional attire is."

The document continues to state that jeans, trainers, hoodies, and t-shirts are also "inappropriate" while even leggings aren’t safe - they’re banned too, unless worn under a skirt of permitted length.

While "punk or shaved hairstyles" or "inappropriate" hair colours, "such as pink or purple" or "unusual" shades of red, are also out.

Facial piercings and a collection of ear-piercings are also restricted, while tops bearing  "midriffs, halter-tops, backless clothing, tube tops, garments made of fishnet, mesh or similar material" are also banned.

“Clothing, paraphernalia, grooming, jewellery, accessories or body adornments" isn’t allowed to bear anything that "denotes membership in gangs or which advocates drug use, violence or disruptive behaviour" or which is "obscene, profane, vulgar, lewd or legally libellous".

The Citywest and Saggart Community National School dress code for teachers appeared to have been “modelled on the Scoil Choilm document”.

However, there is an element of freedom given to teachers in the documents with instructions they can of course “dress casual” during school holidays while Citywest and Saggart school will also permit teachers to dress in "suitable active wear" when teaching PE. But Scoil Choilm does not list this permission.

Assistant General Secretary of primary teachers' union the INTO, Peter Mullan told the broadcaster the dress codes "would be the exception rather than the rule".

Scoil Choilm became the first Community National School to be opened 10 years ago. Since then 10 more have been launched.

Dublin and Dún Laoghaire Education and Training Board, which runs Scoil Choilm and Citywest and Saggart said dress codes for staff were "a matter for the local principal and are therefore drafted in consultation with the school board of management and in full consultation with staff in the school".

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