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Student voice leads to change in uniform

When a Year 10 student at ACG Strathallan in Karaka questioned her principal about why female students couldn’t wear shorts to school, he advised her to make a case for change.

“She asked about why our uniform policy didn’t give girls the option of wearing shorts or trousers to school,” said principal Danny O’Connor. “I told her if students felt the uniform was restrictive or outdated they needed to prepare and put forward a different proposal. That’s exactly what they did.”

The proposal outlined shorts and trousers were more practical for sports and activities, easier when sitting on the floor, warmer in winter, and would allow girls a choice in what they wore – a choice boys already had.

“Some girls feel more comfortable wearing a pair of shorts,” said student president Mckenzie Northcott. “Being able to wear shorts and trousers gives girls the choice to express who they are.”

The suggestion was accepted unanimously by staff and has received a positive reception from students and parents alike.

Mr O’Connor said, “It was a no brainer; the students put forward a very strong rationale and changing the uniform was the right decision.”

Mckenzie said seeing a plan come into effect was an exciting process and showed how action could be taken when issues were addressed.

“Especially coming from a Year 10 girl who has now changed the girls’ uniform code. It’s a key example of how student opinion really matters. Had she not come forward she would have always wondered ‘what if’.”

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