UK schoolgirls left in tears after male teachers line them up to inspect their skirt length

A UK school has sparked outrage from students and their parents for a uniform rule saying skirts must be knee length, with a warning of detention or suspension for failing to follow the rules.

Schoolgirls at England's Rainford High School in St Helens reportedly were told to line up while their skirts were inspected by male teachers and told that parents would be contacted if they did not comply.

However Rainford High principal Ian Young said the teachers were just enforcing the school's policies.

"The issue of required skirt length as a school rule has been within the school policy for a number of years and all parents and students are directed to this upon joining our community," he said.

Young said Rainford High has seen a 45 percent refusal of students not complying with uniform rules.

"We have taken firm action to politely challenge our students around how they wear their uniform," he said.

An online petition 'Stop Rainford High controlling girls skirts', started by Lexi Pennington, claims girls are getting "punished" for wearing skirts above their knee.

"School is supposed to prepare us for the workplace however when we see teachers in the school walking around their workplace with skirts not following these same rules it seems very unjust," Pennington wrote in the petition.

She said the way the girls were inspected seemed "demeaning and almost inhumane", describing it like being treated as an animal.

Comments on the petition included distraught and furious responses from parents.

"My daughter came home in tears after this debacle," one mother commented.

"My daughter was exposed to emotional and psychological abuse/stress and left feeling intimidated yesterday by grown men," another mother said.

One mother described it as being "outdated and sexist".

"I am fed up with the school humiliating girls about the skirts," another mother said.

She said only a few students take advantage of the rules, and the school shouldn't be having a go at the ones that aren't as bad.

"If the problem is about boys being able to see from under the skirts then they should be teaching the boys not to look at girls inappropriately," another person commented.

The petition now has over 1500 signatures.