While the College Jean-Eudes says it is open to the debate around the school uniform, former students point the finger at the contradictions between the speech and the actions taken by the establishment.
A week after boys decided to wear skirts in class, drawing media attention to the issue of gender uniforms, Jean-Eudes high school is celebrating the initiative of its students.
“Today, our students have used creativity to question the place of the uniform at the College. […] We salute the boldness of young people who will always dare to question ways of doing things and traditions in order to create new ones, while respecting the vision of our institution: raising intelligences and hearts ”, we could read on the Jean-Eudes College Facebook page.
However, the management of the school does not plan to change its regulations for the moment.
“We cannot change the rules immediately, that would be too hasty a reaction. We first want to consult staff members and parents before making this kind of decision, ”said the director, Dominic Blanchette.
According to him, a survey conducted among the school’s students showed that only 7% of them were not satisfied with their uniform.
However, several former students have published in The duty an open letter addressed to the administrative staff of Collège Jean-Eudes. They ask in particular for an apology for the humiliations experienced and a change in the regulations concerning the uniform.
Asked about this, Mr. Blanchette says he “welcomed” their testimonies, adding that he would have preferred to receive the letter before it was made public.
Control the body of women
On social networks, the numerous testimonies of students also denounce the hypocrisy of the management of the college, which has never taken their demands on the subject seriously. They describe an unjust, sexist and hypersexualizing settlement that was often a pretext for humiliation and punishment.
According to the sociologist specializing in violence against women, Sandrine Ricci, the question of the gender uniform is not anecdotal. She deplores the existence of such regulations which aim to control the body of women through their dress.
Ms. Ricci herself came up against the conservatism of Collège Jean-Eudes on a personal basis, when her daughter was attending school there. Contacted by the school because her daughter was “shortening her skirt”, she was unable to have a constructive dialogue with the administration.
“It’s a form of normative domination that has no reason to exist. The students have questioned schools many times on this subject, but they are hardly heard, ”explains the sociologist.
Although the boys’ initiative is a sign of solidarity, Ms. Ricci recalls that the media response she received is also a mark of their male privilege. For their part, the girls who tried to break the rule were systematically punished.
“To fight against violence against women, I believe that the energy of schools should rather go to sex education and learning respect and equality”, she underlines.