Pretoria – Pupils at a city school are boycotting classes, demanding to wear skinny pants instead of normal cut pants.
Hoërskool Pretoria West campus turned into a hive of unexpected activity as pupils demanded to be allowed to wear tight-fitting pants instead of the common grey, school uniform cut.
The pupils, boys and girls, said they decided to express their unhappiness with the school rule by going on a defiance campaign at the school.
They threatened to wear their preferred cut of pants until the school authorities relented.
They say the usual school uniform cut is “too big” for them.
“They chase us away and refuse us access to learning because of our skinny pants.
“They are forcing us to dress how they want, yet we also want to have a say in how we look,” one of the pupils said.
“Last week they made some of us take them off and they cut them up; they have no rights (to do so),” said one pupil, without explaining what alternatives those stripped of their pants used to cover up.
On a poster the pupils wrote: “We are going to wear our skinny pants daily until they allow us to.” The school has a rule not to allow in any pupil not in full school uniform or in the prescribed cut.
To circumvent the school’s rule of not allowing pupils into the school yard wearing anything other than the prescribed uniform and cut, many decided to wear skinny pants inside and the normal cuts on top of the tight-fitting pants, thus fooling the security guards manning the school gates.
Once inside the school premises the plan unfolded. They pretended to go along with teachers’ instructions but suddenly took off the normal-size pants and pulled out posters expressing the grievances they have had from the beginning of the school year.
They refused to go to class and instead staged a protest inside the school premises.
“We will wear the right colours of the uniform but we see nothing wrong with the cut,” said one of the pupils, who asked not to be named.
Pretoria News Weekend spoke to some pupils who admitted that the matter had not been tabled with the school governing body until now.
Commenting on the day’s events, Gauteng Department of Education spokesperson Steve Mabona said they condemned disruptions at schools. Mabona said the department would send a team official to the school to look into the matter and whether the pupils had contravened the school’s dress code.
August seems to be a favourite month for Pretoria pupils to express their frustrations with school authorities.
Last year at this time, pupils at Pretoria High School for Girls took to the streets in protest against the school rules after a pupil was apparently told to straighten her hair.
According to the school rule book, which has since been altered, all hair had to be brushed, neatly tied back if long enough, and be kept out of the face, according to the code.
Last month Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi had to intervene when pupils at Windsor House Academy in Kempton Park were kicked out of the school because of their hairstyles.
The pupils were reinstated and the rule book suspended.
Some pupils said the school’s code of conduct was constantly being changed and that it targeted black pupils in particular, as the rules were most applicable to them.