Girls told shorts could make staff ‘uncomfortable’

PARENTS at a Newcastle high school are calling for a principal to resign after a speech she gave to female students left them feeling "miserable".

On Tuesday, Francis Greenway High Principal Jo Edwards stood in front of the Years 7 to 11 students and said their short lengths could be putting staff in "potentially awkward situations".

According to The Herald, Ms Edwards told the female students their short-shorts were making some male staff "uncomfortable".

Around 20 girls have previously been sent home with letters asking them to wear shorts that are more "appropriate".

In the letter, Ms Edwards asked for girls to have their shorts "reach mid-thigh or lower" and worried a shorter length could be a "child protection issue".

The principal's speech quickly gathered heat on social media with most parents understanding Ms Edwards' desire to enforce uniform policy - but calling on her to have done it in a better way.


Francis Greenway High School's principal Jo Edwards is under fire. Picture: Supplied
Francis Greenway High School's principal Jo Edwards is under fire. Picture: Supplied

"There should be a restriction on length it's a school uniform not a fashion parade but there's a way of enforcing it and approaching the subject when it is not adhered to," Katrina McKeough wrote.

"Let's all get histerical (sic) because the school has rules and we don't want to follow them.

"The message could been delivered differently but seriously calling for the woman's job? Get the appropriate uniform and move on," Karen Ann added.

A day after the meeting - and the backlash - Ms Edwards emailed parents writing "it was not my intention to reflect on the character of students addressed earlier, and I apologise if my choice of words caused offence".

A number of male teachers have reportedly denied Ms Edwards' suggestions they were "uncomfortable" at school seeing the girls in short shorts.

"The issue has NOTHING to do with the length of the shorts, she was in her rights to address that the uniform was not being adhered to," Jodie Roberts wrote on social media.

"The issue is in the way she did this and what she said. It is horrifying to think that she has just set that school and its staff and students back so far...VICTIM blaming as its best..and a woman doing it seems to make it so much worse."

In a statement, the NSW education department said the principal was "reiterating the importance of students wearing the correct uniform".

"The consistent wearing of the approved uniform develops students' sense of belonging and pride in the school and projects a positive image in the community," it said.

"The uniform also supports student wellbeing, for practical reasons and in identifying students."