A private college replaces the skirt of its uniform for a unisex bermuda

A private school in Montreal is gradually removing the skirt from its school uniform to replace it with unisex Bermuda shorts, a controversial decision that puts an end to a long puzzle.

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“I’m convinced that it’s a matter of a few years before other schools follow this movement,” said Julie Dubois, director of Collège Sainte-Anne de Lachine.

As of this year, students from 1time secondary will no longer be able to wear the skirt.

The uniform at Collège Sainte-Anne is gender neutral, meaning that no item is specifically feminine or masculine. The skirt has therefore been replaced by Bermuda shorts that can be worn by everyone.

Too masculine?

“I don’t find it inclusive at all,” complains a mother who wished to remain anonymous so as not to harm her daughter, who is about to start secondary school.

According to her, the options that remain are not neutral, but masculine. “Girls who want to be feminine are excluded and pushed to look masculine.”

School uniforms and dress codes have been the subject of much discussion lately, with pupils complaining that warnings were served more to girls than boys and that in some places staff were measuring the length.


A student's mother shows off the shorts her daughter will have to wear this year.

Photo taken from the Collège Sainte-Anne website

A student’s mother shows off the shorts her daughter will have to wear this year.

“This is not the type of relationship we want to develop with our students,” explains Ms.me Dubois.

The problem is that systematically, a large number of students rolled the skirt so that it arrives very high on the thigh, “Wimbledon” style, image the director.

The establishment tried to replace it with a culotte. “In our eyes as adults, we thought that it would allow greater ease of movement.” But that didn’t fix the problem as some had the shorts cut right under the skirt.

“It’s a fight we lost,” admits Mme Dubois.

She assures that the pupils have been consulted on the new options. Some girls, for example, wear Bermuda high-waisted and with a belt. Several fittings were carried out with student witnesses.

“We asked them if they wore the skirt on weekends. They told us no. So why do you want a school skirt? They said: deep down, we don’t care that much.

Overall, the news was well received. “But each time there is a modification to the uniform, it is not unanimous,” explains Mme Dubois.

Code needed?

For sociology doctoral student Rose Moisan-Paquet, this example brings up the question of the need for dress codes. By removing the skirt, “we restrict the clothing choices of students who already have a uniform,” she recalls.

The arguments invoked are often those of “not distracting the boys” and the “proper functioning of the school”.

“But girls, they are able to dress themselves when they don’t have an imposed code”, which they often perceive as “outdated and sexist”.

At least two public schools have also chosen to no longer have a dress code, she reports.

Prestige

For her part, the director Julie Dubois deplores all the comments that the college received, whether from parents or complete strangers, on the length of the skirts of the girls when they were doing an activity outside.

“That’s crazy huh? […] The pressure of always being talked about, [de la jupe]. While our school is much more than that.

“My great disappointment as director was to hear parents talk to me about the image […] Of tradition and prestige. [Du fait que] all the big private schools have a skirt.”

“It’s a bit of an elitist logic where you have to stand out and show that our child goes to the best school”, interpreter Mme Moisan-Paquet.

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