When Britain saw its worst heatwave in four decades last week, a group of teenage male students at the Isca Academy in Exeter, Devon decided to don skirts last Thursday in protest after a fellow pupil was told he would spend the rest of the week in isolation if he wore shorts.
The protest, which made headlines all over the country, was initiated by five boys who showed up in skirts before the rest of the male students borrowed friends’ and sisters’ uniforms to join in.
Under the school’s current uniform rules, male students must wear trousers, while female students are allowed to choose between gray trousers or a tartan skirt
Temperatures in parts of London reached 93°F, making it the hottest day the United Kingdom has experienced in 40 years
“The girls are allowed to wear skirts all year round so I think it’s completely unfair that the boys can’t wear shorts,” mother Claire Reeves told Devon Live.
“The weather has been so hot recently and it’s got to the point where my son is suffering.”
The protest ended successfully, with the Academy announcing boys will be allowed to wear shorts beginning with the next academic year, explaining that an abrupt change in uniform requirements could put ‘undue pressure’ on some families.
“Shorts are not currently part of our school uniform for boys,” a statement on the academy website reads.
“Contrary to news reports, we have not banned shorts; shorts are simply not part of our school uniform. However, as summers are becoming hotter, shorts will be introduced as part of our school uniform next year having first consulted with students and parents.”
Students who participated in the protest will bear no disciplinary consequences and as the news about it spread, it found overwhelming support online
Some Twitter users said they were “optimistic about future generations”
The protests caught the attention of media all across the country
More than 30 boys participated and although they pressed for the uniform policy changes to be effective immediately, they will have to settle for being allowed to untuck their shirts and leave their top buttons undone and not being expected to wear a tie or a blazer until next year.