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Commissioner backs gender-free school uniform rules

13 February 2012

Scotland's Children's Commissioner has taken up the case of a schoolboy whose petition for an end to gender-specific school uniform dress codes is currently before the Scottish Parliament.

Thirteen-year-old Luca Scarabello, from Camelon, lodged a petition in November claiming that rules such as trousers for boys and skirts for girls could cause "serious distress" for pupils with gender variants.

The Commissioner, Tam Baillie, has now intervened with a letter to the Public Petitions Committee, which is considering the petition. Mr Baillie believes that enforcing strict rules could infringe the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Equality Act 2010.

He wrote: "I believe we should be celebrating difference, rejecting discriminatory practice and allowing our children and young people to express themselves freely in a way that is both inclusive and respectful." He added that time spent enforcing compliance had the potential to create resentment and could be better spent "in developing supportive learning environments".

School uniform cannot be made compulsory, but local authorities must have a dress code policy and head teachers can ban certain items.

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