- Publish Date
- Wednesday, 22 March 2017, 10:13AM
Have you ever imagined a world where girls can wear trousers and boys can wear kilts to school?
Well, imagine no more. That world has arrived at Dunedin North Intermediate.
The school has introduced five uniform options, including shorts, long pants, culottes and a kilt, and pupils are free to choose any option regardless of their gender.
Principal Heidi Hayward said the initiative aimed to remove gender stereotypes.
"We don't say there's a girls' uniform and a boys' uniform. There's five options for the uniform, and as long as you wear them in their entirety, you can wear whichever uniform you please.''
Ms Hayward said the initiative came from the pupils.
Since arriving at the school 18 months ago, she had received requests from girls to wear something other than the school kilt.
"Last year I had a couple of kids who challenged me. They said: `Why do we have to wear kilts? You can wear pants. Why can't we'?
"That seemed pretty logical to me. It was 2016 and I thought it was odd that we still have these stereotypes. What we were hoping to avoid is making it hard.
"If you're a girl who doesn't want to wear a skirt, you should have an option that works for you. That's where the culottes come in,'' she said.
Girls could also wear long pants in the winter if they wanted to, and boys could wear kilts, like their Scottish ancestors.
Pupil Ella Clarke said she was looking forward to wearing long pants in the winter.
"That will be good when it gets really cold.''
In a bid to make the uniform more cost-efficient and recyclable, the school jersey was the same as the Logan Park High School jersey, Ms Hayward said.
"A large number of the DNI kids go on to Logan Park, and the DNI monogram can easily be replaced with a Logan Park monogram.''
She said the pupils had been accepting of the options, but parents had taken longer to warm to the initiative.
"The kids weren't really fussed about it. It's adults that have taken a while to get their heads around it - they've asked lots of questions.''
This article was first published on Otago Daily Times and is republished here with permission.