Students at a school in Carlow have been warned they will be punished if they continue talking about a new rule banning them from wearing tight-fitting tracksuit bottoms.
Parents have reacted furiously to the announcement and nearly 9,000 people have now signed a petition criticising the decision.
"Too tight and revealing"
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Sandy Haughney, whose daughter is a student at the school said the girls were told that tight black tracksuit bottoms would be banned because they are “too tight and revealing.”
She said a survey among students threw up several keywords they used to describe their feelings after the announcement: “degraded, paranoid, violated, disgusted.”
She said “the parents and the children need to be reassured that they are safe in school.
“Also, yesterday they were told that if they continue talking about this, they are going to receive slips.
“Now if you get a certain amount slips in school, you get detention which means that if you talk about this you are going to be punished. Now that is completely unacceptable.”
"Listened to and respected"
Ms Haughney said she would hate to think that if something happened to her daughter in the future, “she would think it is her fault because of the way she dresses.”
“The school needs to reassure parents and kids that they are safe in school,” she said. “That they are listened to and respected.
“This is huge and they should be allowed to talk about it.”
She said the school “definitely” owes the girls an apology.
“I want all kids to know that, if you are in school and you feel uncomfortable or unsafe and if you talk about it, someone will listen,” she said.
“They are being completely ignored and down the line, if something does happen, they will say, ‘what is the point, there is no one going to listen to me.’
“Right now, they want people to listen to them.”
Last night, the school issued a statement insisting its uniform policy had not changed.
“The rules concerning the correct wearing of our school uniform have not changed since previous years, other than the introduction of a half-zip top for first year students this year,” it said.
“Students are regularly reminded of school rules and regulations at assembly.”
Boys in the school have announced plans to wear leggings to school on Friday to protest the announcement.
On RTÉ this morning, Presentation College Carlow Principal Ray Murray said the girls were reminded of the existing school uniform rules because PE days were becoming like a “fashion show.”
He said no remark was made about teachers being uncomfortable with what the girls were wearing.