Santa Sabina, an independent Catholic girls’ high school, in the Inner West of Sydney, has made a controversial change to the school’s uniform to allow students to wear pants and shorts.
The school says the change to the uniform, which now includes a black suit and a white blouse, is a reflection of the school’s progressive nature as a “trailblazer for the choice that it offers students”.
The corporate-styled pant and blazer combination replaces a green-themed uniform with a traditional tartan kilt, and goes back to the schools roots.
“The uniform has always changed. It was green for a long time but it was blue, it was originally black and white,” said the school’s principal Dr Maree Herrett said last month when the college community gathered for the launch of the new uniform.
“Black and white means something special to us as advancing the charism of the Dominicans, those colours are identifiable for us with the sisters.”
The school was established in 1894 by a group of Dominican Sisters.
The principal also told Fairfax Media that the uniform allows students to me more comfortable expressing their femininity or masculinity.
The uniform change has attracted a mixed response on social media.
On Facebook, some said they “liked how interchangeable and unisex it is now” and that “the new uniform is lovely”.
Others said: “Why dress teenage and little girls like conservative old men in black stripes?
“That red is not going to suit many, especially ones with orange hair. Black is very severe, why do young female school children need to be dressed like corporate business men?”
While a number of Facebook users said it was nice to see a school uniform that gives students more flexibility.
One of the teachers, Sally Dewar, said she loved that students have a choice.
“We give them choices in so many things why not in their uniform combinations. It looks fantastic when you see it in real life – I was at the launch and was really impressed with the quality of the designs. Not all the girls will choose to wear shorts or pants but those that feel more comfortable in them now have the choice,” she said.
“The fabric is also more sensible given our climate. The colours are very smart and reflect our Dominican heritage. The red jumper adds a splash of colour. The students overwhelmingly are positive about the change and are looking forward to wearing it.”
Just two other non-government schools across Sydney offer pants or shorts to female students as part of the regular (non-sport) uniform, according to Fairfax.
Business Insider has contacted the school for a comment and will update this post if it responds.