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May 19, 2009

Kilts in school – Bedford, Ohio controversy

A male high school student in Bedford, Ohio, was sent home by the principal to get changed, as the kilt he was wearing was seen as inappropriate, and according to the principal, might be confused with “cross-dressing.” Since this has happened, the school district spokesman (Taggart)  has calmed the issue, stating that the principal’s concern about the kilt-wearing has been withdrawn, and he has apologised to the student. “Taggart says the district recognizes the kilt as an expression of the boy’s Scottish heritage and that the kilt was not inappropriate.” (

The article I read was short, but it did bring to mind a few interesting points:

1)      A kilt is considered well-dressed attire, with a full ensemble on par with a tuxedo for formality. One could wear a kilt to meet the Queen of England if he so chose, and would absolutely be dressed appropriately. Just this summer, my brother got married and chose to wear a full kilt attire (as did the other groomsmen) and they look absolutely smashing!

2)      There are men’s Scottish kilts and there are women’s Scottish kilts. Even if you are not Scottish, the difference is not hard to see, particularly since men tend to wear a Sporran (something resembling a fanny-pack, only much cooler) with their kilt. Therefore, unless this young male student was wearing a women’s kilt to school, there’s no way it should be confused with “cross-dressing.”

3)      It does not say in the article, but I am curious about the dress code at this high school. I can see how something out of the ordinary gets the principal in a bit of a flap, but what other dress code rules do they enforce? Apparently boys cannot wear “skirts” (not getting into that today) but can they wear ridiculous, extremely low-riding jeans so their entire backside is hanging out? What about the girls? Can they wear skanky, extremely low-riding jeans so that their entire thongs are hanging out? Or shirts so skin tight that you can see the brand name on their bra tag?

I’m always curious about dress codes at high schools, since ours was decidedly unfair. When I was in grade 11 or 12, they decided to clamp down on girls wearing spaghetti strap tank tops, deeming them inappropriate and overtly sexual. However, they never made any move to prevent the boys from wearing their baggy pants halfway down to their kneecaps! Conversely, as long as one wears something under his kilt, there’s nothing inappropriate about it at all!

I’m sure the principal at the school learned a valuable lesson, and I hope it served as a lesson for the other students in the school about Scottish heritage and related attire. Everyone’s heritage should be celebrated, and even though the boy was only wearing his kilt for a project, now that he’s got people talking I hope he continues to wear it once in a while, and enjoy it! Let him teach the other students about his heritage, and encourage them to explore their own as well.  Alba go bragh!

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