Anti-bullying charity sends letter to Hartlepool school over skirt comment

Callum Carr, founder of charity South Tyneside Against Bullying.
Callum Carr, founder of charity South Tyneside Against Bullying.

An anti-bullying charity has slammed comments made by a headteacher about skirt sizes in a letter to school chiefs.

South Tyneside Against Bullying, a charity which serves the region including Hartlepool, has sent a letter to the school calling for action to be taken following the comments made at Manor Community Academy.

Anne Malcolm.

Anne Malcolm.

School principal Anne Malcolm apologised after telling pupils that people shouldn’t wear lycra tube skirts to school if they were over a size 8.

Parents complained about the comment after pupils were left upset and Miss Malcolm apologised to parents and pupils – even though it is thought the jokey remarks were referring to herself and were misunderstood.

But despite the misunderstanding, Callum Carr, founder of the charity, said such comments have ‘planted the seed’ for pupils to start judging themselves with regards to body image.

He said: “A simple apology isn’t enough, something needs to be done to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

“For the message to have been interpreted wrongly could create a host of mental health problems and could lead to things like eating disorders and self-harming.

“They need to realise the impact this can have.”

In his letter he called for disciplinary action to be taken. The letter said: “The principal has acted in an unprofessional way and the handling of the subject and situation is inadequate.

“I would like to suggest that formal disciplinary action is taken against Anne Malcolm if this has not already commenced.”

The story attracted dozens of comments from readers.

Samantha Lawton said: “Disgusting, as if there isn’t enough pressure on girls as it is.”

But Paddy Horsley said: “Should ban them altogether.”

Debbie Monsen, who remembers being taught by her earlier in her career when she used a different surname, said: “If anyone had Miss Woolley back in the day, you’d get her personality and the likelihood of this being taken out of context.”