Greystones school receives negative comments following gender-neutral uniform announcement

The primary school in Greystones has received a number of anonymous calls complaining about the student-led introduction of a gender-neutral uniform policy.

Greystones school receives negative comments following gender-neutral uniform announcement

St Brigid’s National School in Greystones Co. Wicklow has received a number of negative calls following the announcement of their gender-neutral uniform policy from September.

The new uniform policy will allow pupils to wear a uniform of their choice. The pupils will be able to wear trousers or a skirt regardless of their gender. The national school hopes that the new policy will allow students to be comfortable and happy in their learning environment.

The new uniform policy was proposed by the student council and accepted by the board of management and parents. The national school has already been working on implementing gender-neutral bathrooms.

Since the school’s gender-neutral uniform policy hit headlines, the school says that they have received negative anonymous calls with only one parent complaining that they were not aware of the changes despite proof that they were notified by the school. Tom Sherlock, Chairperson of St Brigid’s board speaking to The Independent says that the response has been mostly positive: “The vast bulk of our parents have been hugely supportive.

“There will always be people who will be opposed to this that is for sure, but what is most important is that even one student feels more comfortable now.”

BeLonG To Youth Services in a tweet about the school in Greystones said: “policy changes like this are an important step in creating inclusive schools for trans children.”

Guidelines created in 2016 by GLEN (Gay and Lesbian Equality Network) and the Department of Education and Skills recommend that “at a minimum, a gender-neutral (uniform) option should be offered.”

“It is crucially important to the well-being of a young person that his or her gender identity is treated with dignity, respect and fairness.”

Sara R Phillips, chair of TENI (Trans Equality Network Ireland) that backlash is to be expected and education is key to help people understand how policies like this help young people:

“The negativity often comes from a lack of information and understanding and I think if we focused more on the child questioning their gender, and how it would improve their life, the response would be much better.”

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