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Getting Through School Is A Taller Order For Some

, , , , , , , , , | Learning | December 17, 2021

I am a twenty-two-year-old woman who has always been unnaturally tall. I am currently 6’9” (2.05m), and when I was twelve I was 6’3” (1.95m)! Life is hard enough for a teenage girl, but in my case, it was worse because I was bullied for my height, and the teachers at my school (a middle-class all-girls grammar school) were generally never very good at dealing with issues like this.

As an example, when I was thirteen, my mother, unable to find shoes that fit me, had to buy boy’s shoes. Someone in my school found out about it and started calling me “Boyshoes”. This in turn led to the rumour that I was born male (I wasn’t), and of course, all the girls in my school had to see for themselves if this was true by touching my breasts (to “see if they were real”) and putting their hands up my skirt (to “see if I had a penis”). When my mother complained to the school, they said there was very little they could do. I guess they meant there was very little they were willing to do. My mother claimed that this was sexual harassment, but the school disagreed, saying it couldn’t be sexual harassment as it was an all-girls school and the perpetrators were girls. My mother went to a solicitor, who wrote to the school, and they finally did something.

On another occasion, my mother had been having trouble finding a uniform to fit me. I was tall, but I wasn’t skinny like some tall girls; I was curvy and heavyset, and buying a uniform sized for a girl my age was out of the question. She tried uniforms for seventeen- and eighteen-year-olds — I wasn’t even fourteen at this point — and although they did fit, the skirts were far too short.

The school’s uniform policy stated that the hem of the skirt should not come too far above the knee. This was measured by kneeling on the floor and measuring from hem to floor — the distance should not have been more than about two inches. In my case, it was closer to seven inches, and when I stood up, the skirt was well above my knee because my legs were so long! At this point, my mother gave up; the skirt fit, the jacket fit, and she’d found blouses that fit, so she was just going to send me to school, shorter skirt or not.

It wasn’t long before I got a detention for a “non-regulation uniform” and was told to come in the next day with a regulation-length skirt. The following day, I got another detention for “non-regulation uniform and failing to rectify this issue in a timely manner”. I also got a letter sent home with me, warning my mother that I would potentially be suspended if I turned up to school in non-regulation uniform again.

My mother was livid! She stormed up to the school and demanded to see the principal. She waved the letter in his face and demanded to know why the school was “picking on me”. The principal was uninterested and made some excuse about how “the school’s uniform policy is for everyone’s benefit”. My mother told the principal that the school’s official uniform supplier didn’t make uniforms for girls of my height and build, and that if I wasn’t left alone, she’d be taking further legal action.

The school never bothered me about my “non-regulation” uniform again.

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