Locals hit back at Tauranga Girls' College for 'inappropriate', 'see-through' uniforms

A woman is "standing up for the young women" of Tauranga Girls' College with a petition campaigning against the school's new regulation "see-through" blouses.

On Sunday, Mount Maunganui woman Sarah McClure started a Change.org petition in response to the college's new "see-through", white uniform shirts, an approved design that is compulsory for all pupils to wear when term begins on January 29.

"The [slogan] of Tauranga Girls' College (TGC) is 'empowering tomorrow's women'. The shirts do not empower young women but will most likely make them self-conscious," McClure told Newshub.

"I hope my petition will achieve the privacy and respect the young women at TGC deserve, by giving them a uniform shirt that is not see-through and fits all changing body types."

McClure says despite none of her own children attending the college, she is passionate about advocating for "the young women who [are], or will be, attending TGC in the near future".

"If the school refuses to change the shirts, I will contact the Board of Trustees, then to the NZ Consumer Rights and Complaints and Fair Go," she says. 

McClure's petition has since amassed 583 signatures out of her goal of 1000.

"I have since found out this is not the only college that has a see-through female top in New Zealand... almost everyone is so supportive towards my petition."

Although some have suggested students wear white singlets beneath the blouse, McClure says that is not a satisfactory resolution.

"That is [another] added cost and it gets really hot in Tauranga through the summer... what happens if it rains?" she added.

The shirts have drawn criticism for their sheer fabric.
The shirts have drawn criticism for their sheer fabric. Photo credit: Left - Sarah McClure / Change.org; Right - File

On Monday, McClure asked her supporters what their daughters would like as a new-and-improved option, suggesting a "different material with stretch" and a more opaque colour.

A number of parents have called for a return to the school's "appropriate" polo shirts, which were phased out in 2018. 

"Not happy at all that my daughter has to start her high school years being forced to wear see-through blouses. High school is tough and having to worry about bras showing at age 13 is something they can do without," one mother commented.

"My granddaughters are beautiful and should not be subjected to unwanted interest due to a school uniform , give them pride and decency," another woman weighed in.

A student also signed the petition, labelling the shirts as "vulgar" and "inappropriate".

According to McClure, the school first released a new blouse at the beginning of 2019, but due to complaints over the thin fabric, created the latest blouse as a second option. A number of parents still deem the new design as too sheer for young women to feel comfortable in. 

Principal Tara Kanji told NZME that students felt the blouse introduced in 2019 was "more sheer than they hoped for".

"So last year we selected a thicker fabric [for the blouse] but not winter weight," she explained to the outlet.

"This is the thickest summer weight available by our supplier NZ Uniform and looks and felt great by those who trialled them."

Newshub has contacted Tauranga Girls' College for comment.