IN TROUBLE ... Five of the pupils at Hochland High School who were sent home for wearing too short skirts yesterday.
THE school principal at Hochland High School in Windhoek yesterday sent home more than 100 girls wearing skirts considered too short.
There was a mass inspection at the start of the school day. The school's rules state that skirts should be four centimetres above the knee or longer. Boys who were unshaven were also sent home.
A grade 12 girl, who was one of those sent home, questioned the school's priorities.
"They can't even give us quality education but they are focusing on skirts. They should rather focus on improving our education," she said as her peers loudly cheered in agreement. Pupils say the school hired a designer to make their school uniforms, which turned out to be short.
The specially designed uniforms for Grade 12 girls cost no less than N$450 each and it took more than a month to make them.
The students admitted that they were warned last week that those whose skirts are too short would be sent home.
However, they said a week was not enough time for them to get other skirts.
"We feel that it's unfair because we are innocent. It's not our fault that the designer made the skirts short," said another pupil.
Most of the pupils who failed the inspection were wandering around outside the school grounds yesterday morning, while others went home to bring their parents to talk to the principal, who declined to speak to the media or the parents.
Approached for comment at her office yesterday, principal Sarah Nehoya told The Namibian that she was busy and the reporter should instead talk to other staff members.
"Decisions are made by the staff, not only by the school principal," she said before walking off.
Parents and guardians flocked to the school inquiring about the reasons behind the decision. However, the principal declined to respond to their questions.
The deputy minister of education, David Namwandi, yesterday said it is important that pupils dressed decently, adding that it reflects discipline.
But he said the process of ensuring decency needs to be done systematically. The minister said he hopes the principal exhausted other disciplinary options before sending the pupils home.
"When you send back the pupils it means they are missing vital classes," he said.
Many of the pupils were scheduled to write tests yesterday and missed them.
According to Namwandi, the ministry does not want to interfere in the day-to-day running of the school. However, he will instruct the permanent secretary, Alfred Ilukena, to look into the incident.