The principal of a Sydney girls’ school made headlines this week over comments about clothing at school events made in a video address to students.
Cheltenham Girls High School principal Suellen Lawrence was reminding students of policy around outfits, explaining that those wearing “stringy, skimpy or revealing” clothes at school events would be sent home.
“Please remember, girls, there are men teachers in this school and they don’t want to be looking at that either,” the principal added.
“Don’t compromise their employment because you can’t do the right thing.”
In a video of the address, students can be heard reacting in disbelief to the comment about male teachers.
One student from the school told the ABC: "I thought she would be saying the opposite, and trying to encourage us, and say it's not OK for the male teachers to be distracted by you.”
Another said the issue wasn’t about the school’s policy, rather about the “misogynistic response” and added: "I think there has to be more education for the teachers at this school.”
In a statement, the NSW Department of Education said it does not support the principal’s comments and called them “inappropriate and regrettable”.
Cathy Brennan, the executive director of the school performance metropolitan north, told the ABC that Lawrence recognises her comments were not aligned with its view of how to give confidence to pupils.
"We're really proud of the fact that our girls there were empowered to raise concerns when it did occur,” she said.
Brennan added that after being challenged by students and speaking with her manager, Lawrence had shown genuine remorse.
"She has really understood and is quite distressed by the fact that this caused such concern for the students at her school," she said.
"She takes really seriously her role and responsibility to her students and staff."
Brennan said support and counselling would be made available to students.Do you have an idea for a story?
Email [email protected]