Sydney school principal slammed after ordering female students to dress “less skimpy” for male teachers

The principal of Cheltenham Girls High School is set to apologise to female students for her misogynistic comments on mufti clothing.

It’s not uncommon for students to receive a lecture on dress codes. However, the principal of Cheltenham Girls High School (CGHS), Suellen Lawrence, severely ruptured the intent of these restrictions with her misogynistic reasoning to students.

Lawrence was called out for her comments after female students released footage of an announcement she made regarding the dress code on mufti day.

Cheltenham Girls High School

Whilst the comments about uniforms and the threat of being sent home seemed straight forward, Lawrence made the comment that “there are men teachers in this school and they don’t want to be looking at that either.”

“Don’t compromise their employment,” she instructed her underage students. The comment was met with shocked reactions from the students, who were understandably disgusted by the insinuation that an underage girl should be held responsible for an adult’s perversion.

According to ABC News, several students confronted their principal who responded that her remarks were taken out of context before refusing to apologise.

It was not until the executive director of the school performance metropolitan north Cathy Brennan spoke against the comment that Lawrence displayed “genuine remorse” and took responsibility for the implication of her comment.

The Cheltenham Girls High pupils have insisted that their issue does not lie in the policy, but in their principal’s misogynistic response that explicitly placed the onus on young girls to “not encourage” or “compromise” the employment of their male teachers.

Students have taken their disapproval one step further, starting a petition on the transphobia and sexism of these comments. The petition (already with 2,600 signatures) recalls male staff who approached the principal after the comments were made, complaining about what the all-female students wore on mufti days.

“This has led to many students feeling sexualised and uncomfortable… our principal further said it is our ‘responsibility’ to dress ‘appropriately’ so they would feel more comfortable,” one student commented.

There is clearly a long road ahead in educating teachers about the cycle of blame and victimisation placed on young people.

The comments have been recognised as “inappropriate and regrettable” with Lawrence understanding the implications of her words and intent to apologise for them.