Row over Kerala school’s uniform: Some call it ‘vulgar’, others say stop objectifying minors

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A school at Aruvithura in Kottayam is fighting a heated controversy online which erupted over the design of its new school uniform. Following a Facebook post that called the uniform ‘vulgar’, the school has received a barrage of complaints online – mostly from men – but the teachers of the school maintain that the uniform was well-designed.

It all began when a photographer, Zachariah Ponkunnam, posted an image on his Facebook wall of three girls wearing the uniform of St Alphonsa Public School, Aruvithura. In the post, he stated that the school uniform was designed obscenely. The post went viral and many social media users came down heavily on the school authorities, alleging that the uniform was obscene.

Interestingly, the comments on Zachariah’s post are mostly from men, many of whom have been making rather vulgar comments and posting obscene pictures and memes to fight the perceived ‘vulgarity’ of the uniform.

One of the memes in response to the photo posted online. It insinuates that the person who designed the uniforms must have previously designed for item songs.

More than five thousand people shared the post in just a day, and the photograph was circulated widely on social media.

Meanwhile, a person named Noushad Thekkayil from Kozhikode has also filed a complaint against the school authorities with the Child Rights Commission over the ‘inappropriateness’ of the school uniform. In the complaint, he demanded that action be taken against the school at the earliest.

The post and the comments though have been getting a lot of criticism as well, over objectifying the bodies of minors.

However, many others have also claimed that there was nothing ‘vulgar’ in the uniform, and that it was the problem with that particular photograph. They have also shared the photos of original school uniforms to prove their claim.

In an explanation given by the school, the Principal of the institution Sr Rosily says that that photo of the uniform which went viral was in no way similar to the original uniform.

“They are spreading a photograph which has been photoshopped. We have not received any complaints from the parents regarding the uniform till now. We have given complaint with the police against such defamatory campaigns against the school. We have also appointed a five-member PTA executive committee to enquire whether there are any complaints regarding the school uniform. We would take further action after the report from the committee,” principal said.

However, the Parent Teachers Association of the school has also said that they have not received any complaint regarding the uniform. The Times of India quotes PTA president Sabu Cyriac, “No parent or student complained about it. We chose the design from a booklet that illustrated various types of uniforms. The school purchased the cloth and stitched the uniform for its students. Obscenity is in the eyes of the beholder.”

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