DNI uniform choice to stop gender stereotypes

Dunedin North Intermediate pupils (from left) Caspar Rennie-Weston (11), Ella Clarke (12), James...
Dunedin North Intermediate pupils (from left) Caspar Rennie-Weston (11), Ella Clarke (12), James Johnson (13) and Taya Kain (11) wear four of the five school uniform options. The fifth option includes long pants. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Have you ever imagined a world where girls can wear trousers and boys can wear kilts to school?

Well, imagine no more. That world has arrived at Dunedin North Intermediate.

The school has introduced five uniform options, including shorts, long pants, culottes and a kilt, and pupils are free to choose any option regardless of their gender.

Principal Heidi Hayward said the initiative aimed to remove gender stereotypes.

``We don't say there's a girls' uniform and a boys' uniform. There's five options for the uniform, and as long as you wear them in their entirety, you can wear whichever uniform you please.''

Ms Hayward said the initiative came from the pupils.

Since arriving at the school 18 months ago, she had received requests from girls to wear something other than the school kilt.

``Last year I had a couple of kids who challenged me. They said: `Why do we have to wear kilts? You can wear pants. Why can't we'?

``That seemed pretty logical to me. It was 2016 and I thought it was odd that we still have these stereotypes. What we were hoping to avoid is making it hard.

``If you're a girl who doesn't want to wear a skirt, you should have an option that works for you. That's where the culottes come in,'' she said.

Girls could also wear long pants in the winter if they wanted to, and boys could wear kilts, like their Scottish ancestors.

Pupil Ella Clarke said she was looking forward to wearing long pants in the winter.

``That will be good when it gets really cold.''

In a bid to make the uniform more cost-efficient and recyclable, the school jersey was the same as the Logan Park High School jersey, Ms Hayward said.

``A large number of the DNI kids go on to Logan Park, and the DNI monogram can easily be replaced with a Logan Park monogram.''

She said the pupils had been accepting of the options, but parents had taken longer to warm to the initiative.

``The kids weren't really fussed about it. It's adults that have taken a while to get their heads around it - they've asked lots of questions.''

Comments

Finally!! Well done DNI, I can only hope that all other schools will follow soon. Forcing kids into these gender stereotypes is simply sexist and unacceptable in the year 2017. My daughter does not like to wear a skirt at all and it is very unpractical for biking to school. It seems that many principals just like to force stupid rules on kids because they have the power to do so.

Who is this Principal Heidi Hayward? how lucky is DNI to have such an awesome Principal, who looks like can listen to all, add 2 and 2 together to get the correct answer. This lady should be cloned or at least run education classes after school for other schools, Councils. Now DNI has set the standard lets see other follow and use common sense. a Big Ups to Principal Heidi Hayward. BZ

Asking the kids, rather than imposing uniforms, is actually teaching co operation and civics.