Education bosses want gender-neutral uniforms in NZ schools

OneNews 29 May 2015
A leading clothing designer has slammed a Ministry of Education proposal to introduce gender neutral uniforms to New Zealand schools, calling it a “time-wasting idea”.
The Ministry is advising schools to offer gender-neutral uniforms to better provide for sexual diversity among students, as part of new guidelines released yesterday
The guidelines include provisions on “being inclusive and valuing diversity”, in particular saying that school uniforms can reinforce gender norms, and encouraging schools to consider offering gender-neutral clothing choices for uniforms.
However, Denise L’Estrange-Corbet told ONE News that “gender neutral” was a difficult concept to define.
“All I can think of is that they’re thinking girls should be wearing trousers but if it’s gender neutral, shouldn’t boys be wearing skirts?”, she said.
The report has been criticised by Family First’s Bob McCroskie, who calls some of the suggestions “extreme”, and says parents should be doing this teaching – not schools.
Gender-neutral uniforms considered by schools
3News 29 May 2015
The Ministry of Education is asking schools to consider uniforms that are gender-neutral.
The report has found school uniforms can “reinforce gender norms”.  It suggests schools should think about offering gender-neutral clothing choices to better provide sexual diversity among students
Family First’s Director Bob McCoskrie believes the guidelines are too extreme.
“Uniforms are part of life. There are places where there are certain uniforms that women wear and ones that men wear. We’re creating this false environment in schools which doesn’t reflect reality.”
Other guidelines include allowing same-sex partners at school balls, reviewing toilet spaces and making sport less gender-specific.
Mr McCoskrie says this is confusing and unrealistic.
“If Johnny goes to school and decides he wants to be a girl that day, does that mean that he uses the girls’ toilets? Does he change with the girls before P.E and play in the girls’ soccer team? That’s recipe for confusion.”

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