[19 February 2015] - The vice principal of a high school in southern Turkey has raised eyebrows after suggesting the formation of “harassment teams” to prevent female students from wearing short skirts.
At a meeting with class presidents on 9 February concerning school uniforms, the deputy principal of the Kepez Atatürk Anatolian High School, identified only by the initials F.G., reportedly suggested that “male students could follow girls who wear short skirts to make them feel uncomfortable, after which the students would eventually have to dress ‘properly.’”
The subject was raised during a teachers’ meeting at the school on 10 February after a number of class presidents told other teachers about the vice principal’s remarks.
According to the record of the meeting, F.G. admitted making the suggestion and again defended it.
A teacher asked F.G. whether she ever suggested the idea.
“Yes, I did. Who is guilty when someone is harassed if we close our eyes on excessiveness?” the vice principal reportedly said.
Kepez District Education Head Hüdai Vural said an investigation has been opened.
However, F.G. has since refuted that she suggested such a plan.
“Everything I discussed with my students is private. We don’t tell others what we discuss at the meetings. I hold meetings with the class presidents every day. We talk about everything, including the classroom layout and cleaning. We discussed what should be discussed. I don’t understand where [the claims] have come from,” she said.
Kadir Öztürk, the head of Eğitim-Sen teachers’ union’s Antalya branch, accused the vice president of encouraging students to commit crime.
“Female students are being targeted. Principals and deputy principals do not have the right to say such things. Telling male students to ‘harass’ amounts to provocation,” Öztürk said.
He added that they would file a criminal complaint, based on the record of the teachers’ meeting that contains F.G.’s remarks.