As temperatures soared this week, girls at Oban High School were being reprimanded for failing to wear tights.
Like much of the country, Oban has been basking in a bit of summer sunshine as the mercury hit 23C in the town on Wednesday.
But while many of us were throwing open our windows and cranking up our electric fans, a number of parents have said their daughters were pulled up for school uniform violations.
The girls have been making adjustments to cope with the warm weather and wearing socks instead of tights underneath their school skirts.
The mother of a first-year girl at Oban High School said her daughter was upset to be given “a row” for her clothing, despite being smartly dressed.
Jayne Donn said: “She got pulled up yesterday. It was the first thing she said when she got home, so it obviously really upset her.
“She looked smart. She was wearing a knee-length skirt, knee-high socks, a shirt and tie.
“She got a good report card and hates getting into trouble.
“I checked the school rules. There is no mention of socks with skirts whatsoever.
“The guidelines state that shorts can be worn. They are not going to make boys wear tights with their shorts, so this is really not fair.
‘In current times, does it really matter?’
Other schools have previously come under fire for enforcing a uniform policy demanding that female pupils wear tights as part of their uniform, even as temperatures soared over the summer.
A Welsh high school eventually ditched the policy in 2018 after parents complained that girls were being forced to wear tights in 30C temperatures.
Ms Donn added: “In current times, does it really matter? The kids have had a really hard time as it is.”
‘This rule strays into the territory of gender discrimination’
Oban councillor Julie McKenzie said the school’s approach was “draconian”.
She added: “It beggars belief that any school would take such a draconian approach to girls wearing socks, and never more so at a time when our children’s mental health is already being seriously impacted due to the pandemic.
“Perhaps the men in suits who set these legislatively unenforceable rules might change their minds if they were forced to remove their socks and wear tights on hot summer days.
“With pupils being permitted to wear shorts, this rule surely also strays into the territory of gender discrimination. Are boys also going to be asked to wear tights?”
Perhaps the men in suits who set these rules might change their minds if they were forced to wear tights on hot summer days.”
Councillor McKenzie said the dispute also touched on the barriers faced by parents on lower incomes, when it comes to stumping up for school uniforms.
She said: “With child poverty figures rising in Argyll and Bute and the Scottish Government backed Cost of the School Day Programme working hard to change policy and practice across Scotland, there is clearly a need to raise awareness locally on the strong link between affordable school costs, equity in attainment and better health and well-being.
“I therefore urge the school to ditch the daft ban on girls socks and work closely with pupils, carers and parents to find a more pro choice, equitable and affordable way forward for Oban High School’s ‘uniform expectations.'”
How has the school responded to the criticism?
In response to the questions raised by parents, a statement about the policy was issued through Argyll and Bute Council.
A spokeswoman said: “Oban High School’s uniform policy was created following consultation with pupils, parents and staff, and has been in place for over a decade.
“We promote fairness and equality in all our schools, which is why we expect pupils attending Oban High to all wear the same uniform.
“The uniform is simple, inexpensive, and almost all our 900+ pupils who attend are content to adhere to the uniform policy.
“We understand that some families do struggle financially and we have help available for those who need it.”