Principal emphasizes that skirt is no longer to be considered the “main” or “standard” uniform.

Taiyo Middle School, located in the Kanagawa Prefecture city of Hiratsuka, is celebrating the 71st anniversary of its founding this year. To mark the occasion, the school is introducing new uniforms for students enrolling in April, when the 2018 school year begins.

But while uniforms are usually designed to implement sameness, Taiyo’s girls will actually be able to show more variety in their mode of dress, as the new uniforms officially allow girls to freely choose between wearing a skirt or slacks.

This won’t be the absolute first time for girls at Taiyo to wear long pants on campus. During the winter months, for example, some girls opt to wear slacks because they’re warmer than a skirt. However, with the new uniforms principal Yugo Kuriki is stressing that slacks are not an “alternate” or “modified” girls’ uniform, but have full standing equal to the skirt version. “I want to express that the skirt is not the ‘main’ uniform for girls,” Kuriki said. “I think it’s OK for us to free the students from such preconceived notions.”

▼ Taiyo’s 2018 uniforms

While not specifically mentioned in the school’s announcement of the new uniforms, the option of slacks for girls is being seen as an acknowledgement that transgender and other sexual minority students may feel uncomfortable being forced to wear a skirt, which could in turn negatively impact their mental health, class attendance, and ability to learn. “I intend this as a way to eliminate gender differentiation in uniforms,” Kuruki has stated. No comment has been made about allowing boys to wear skirts.

Parents of local elementary school PTAs have also been told of Taiyo’s new uniform policy, and no complaints have been made. Taiyo has also said that going forward, all three versions of the uniform (boys’, girls’ with skirt, and girls’ with slacks) will be displayed together when depicting examples of the school’s uniform.

Source: Yahoo! Japan News/Kanaroku via Jin
Top image: Pakutaso