Auckland school's cleavage ban sparks petition

The petition says a dress such as this would not be allowed under the school's rules (
The petition says a dress such as this would not be allowed under the school's rules (

A west Auckland Catholic school has caused outrage among students over a strict dress code at its senior ball -- and now an online petition has been launched in an attempt to get the restrictions loosened.

According to the online petition, the principal of St Dominic's College in Henderson has banned students from revealing dresses and from ball dates -- unless they're involved in a "serious relationship".

The petition, which is said not to have been created by a student at the girl's college, says the rules are as follows:

While the petition creator recognises that some ball dresses "can look inappropriate", they say the limitations on what the students are allowed to wear "is taking it too far".

The restrictions are described as "shocking, sexist and extremely outdated".

There is also uproar over the timing of the restrictions, with many of the girls said to have already purchased pricy dresses long before the rules were announced.

The student's outfits must be approved by their associate principal, with many dresses failing to meet the new standards.

"Since when has a girl's back caused such outrage for being 'too exposed'. This is sexualising a girl's body and sending the message that they must be covered up and feel ashamed of showing skin," it says.

"Girls at this age (16 - 18) do have breasts and the fact that they must be completely covered is outdated and shameful on the College's behalf.

"Girls have backs, legs and breasts. All of which can be shown to an extent that is classy and elegant."

The school's principal says it's all a big misunderstanding.

"We have talked about it to them," says Carol Coddington. "There's nothing written down as such. I think what has happened is somebody has decided that they wish to make comment about what has been said."

The principal says this extreme response highlights the dangers of social media. All it took was one person to misunderstand the advice to spark a viral and misguided response.

The petition can be found here.