School dress code 'to deter paedophiles'

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The Independent Online

Parents have been advised not to allow their children to go to school in short skirts and tight trousers because of fears they could be targeted by paedophiles.

Families of children at King's Park Secondary School in Glasgow were sent letters warning that sexual predators may have been taking pictures of pupils. A Glasgow City Council spokeswoman confirmed the warning was linked to the recent conviction of a local paedophile, Barry McCluskey, 39, who posed as a 14-year-old girl to entice children to perform sex acts in front of web cameras. McCluskey pleaded guilty in February to 49 charges stretching back to 2003.

However, Eileen Prior, the chief executive of the Scottish Parent Teacher Council, criticised the advice. "Creating a link between school uniform and paedophilia seems to be a dangerous and unhelpful one for everyone involved," she said. "It implies that young people are in some way responsible for the activities of paedophiles, which is an extremely dangerous argument and one which has echoes of the comments sometimes made around rapists and women's dress. If there is evidence of activity by a paedophile in the area, then police and parents should be informed and involved."

In the letters, parents were advised to buy "appropriate" school uniforms from a list of approved items at Marks & Spencer. The council spokeswoman said the choice of store was an advisory only, and was not intended as an advertisement.