Letters to the Editor: ‘Don’t add to body conscious problem’

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A selection of letters to the editor from the Milton Keynes Citizen this week.

My 12 year old daughter attends Lord Grey School in Bletchley, where 29 girls were sent home for wearing tight trousers or skirts above the knee. I subsequently received a letter from the school’s Headteacher (Dr Jones) stating that the girls were sent home in order “to allow them to keep their modesty as they move around the school, and especially up stairs”. I have no problem with any school enforcing a reasonable dress code, but this dress code needs to be applied equally to boys as well as girls.

If boys at Lord Grey are making inappropriate comments about girls’ trousers, or looking up their skirts, then surely this should be dealt with under the school’s existing sexual harassment procedure (as it would be in any workplace). 
Yet instead of using the situation as an opportunity to educate both boys and girls about safeguarding, mutual respect and personal boundaries, Lord Grey has simply imposed additional dress restrictions on the girls, and blamed them for dressing “immodestly”.

The damaging misconception that men and boys “can’t control themselves”, and that female victims of sex crimes were “asking for it” by dressing in a certain way, starts here. If these boys were looking up women’s skirts in a public place, does Dr Jones really believe that the Police would prosecute the women for dressing inappropriately?

A senior teacher emailed me to share his opinion about the ‘fit’ of my 12-year -0ld daughter’s trousers. He had examined her trousers, and concluded that they were “tight on the lower leg but not so tight on the upper leg”. Unsurprisingly, my daughter (and all the other girls lining up to have the tightness of their trousers publicly scrutinised by a male teacher), felt embarrassed and judged. If there is anything “immodest” going on here, then this is it.

Body consciousness is already a significant problem among adolescent girls, whose bodies (and trousers) come in all shapes and sizes. I want my daughter’s school to show her a world of new opportunities, rather than teaching her that covering up her body is the route to personal success.

Liz Campbell

Walnut Drive, Bletchley

Lord Grey

Abide by the school rules

I have just read your story, Citizen, April 14, about children being sent home from Lord Grey School for wearing the wrong trousers.

I am shocked that parents are in uproar. A school that tries to improve standards and lays down the rules should be applauded. If children follow the rules it puts them in good stead for the future. Parents should try and support the school. I am sure that, like most other schools, they have the children’s best interest at heart. School should not be a place for fashion trends. What next? The school get slammed because one parents thinks that their child should be allowed to wear a pink jacket or and nose studs.

Come on, let’s start supporting schools.

Bartram Carter

by email

Charity

Thank you from Curie

I am writing on behalf of Marie Curie to thank everyone in Milton Keynes, Newport Pagnell and Olney district for their generous support of the Marie Curie street collections.

Marie Curie is here for people with any terminal illness, whether that’s cancer or any other illness, and their families.

We offer expert nursing care, guidance and support to help them get the most from the time they have left. And we want more people to benefit from our support. Your support raised an amazing £709.85 which equates to 35 hours of Marie Curie nursing care for terminally ill people in their own homes.

Hazel Bendon

Community Fundraiser, Buckinghamshire

Home grown

Support new talent

Why are the council and Amey not using home grown tradesmen? Is it because they are more skillful? I suspect not.

Just let’s remind ourselves what a small but great nation we are, with a strong legacy of fantastic works of engineering around the world. Railways, suspension bridges, tunnels through mountains etc. All built with British skill and know how, which have stood the test of time. I have friends who are in the building trade, and often hear stories about ‘having to put right’ migrant workers wonky brickwork, and holes cut to big in walls for electrical sockets.

We must try to encourage British youngsters by way of proper structured apprenticeships to get into these trades or homegrown talent will disappear, especially if Eastern Europeans are driving down wages there will be no incentive. Another good reason to leave Europe.

So just remember this country has a lot of talent, let’s nurture it.

Dave Gosling

Newport Pagnell

Sewage works

Unique setting is essential

It occurs to me that the project cannot go ahead without the willing cooperation of the landowner, who I believe to be Anglian Water.

I wonder if their senior decision makers are aware of the implications to all who support this calamitous decision for all the people of Milton Keynes, and very specifically to the residents of Willen and the Hospice.My grandmother ended her days in their care. I know that she had the best care available anywhere in the world, and part of that is due to the unique setting and tranquillity of the Hospice buildings. Anglian Water, then share the responsibility for what happens next.Anglian Water will be opened up to commercial competition in Milton Keynes, starting next year with non-domestic contracts.

Not long after that, every household in Milton Keynes will get the same choice that they currently enjoy for other utilities such as electricity, gas and telecoms services. I was trying to imagine what effect that competition along ethical and environmental lines might have on Anglian Water revenue and profit, for example, if a large proportion of businesses and households in Milton Keynes exercised their new freedom to choose as soon as they could. Would that cause the Financial Director at Anglian Water any concern ? He would be obliged to report the reason for any significant revenue change to the board and shareholders. I am not sure I would like to be in those shoes if that happened to be greater than the lease revenue from operating a Waste Transfer site. Perhaps the senior management team will rally round and help him out – a last stand behind the high security gate at Cotton Valley sewage works – indeed behind Pinehamgate! Good luck to him, he certainly needs it.

Kieran Brown

Resident of Woolstone (and ex Willen footballer)

Thank you

Kindness is still around

I just wanted to say a huge thank you to the gentleman in the Milton Keynes Theatre multi-storey car park who, on Monday, April 18, very kindly gave me £2 to pay for my parking when I realised the machines didn’t take card.

Your kindness meant that I didn’t have to walk back to the shopping centre to get money out – sparing my sore feet after a day’s work!

It also meant that I spent the rest of the day in a very happy mood and left me feeling hopeful that there’s still plenty of kindness about. Thank you!

Hanna Ljunggren

Bancroft Park

Suffolk punch

Proposals speculative

The Suffolk Punch Pub is not to be demolished as is suggested in the Citizen last week. It has been Heelands’ community and meeting place for 40 years, providing parkland, car parking and entertainment for Heelands residents. Bradwell Parish Council has registered the pub as “an asset of community value” under the Localism Act 2010. Any redevelopment would need planning permission and need to demonstrate how what new replacement community asset would be provided. No planning application has yet come forward.

The proposals reported are only speculative and would remove all the parkland and trees. A private nursery will NOT replace the pub, meeting place and social hub, which Heelands desperately needs.

Heelands residents will stand up and fight for the best for Heelands, and not just roll over and surrender. Heelands deserves more than the scraps from a developer’s table.

Catherine Jones

Heelands