A high school principal who told female students that dress code violations put “every male in this building in an awkward situation” says his comments were a mistake.

“The administrators have openly acknowledged they made mistakes in how they dealt with their uniform concerns and they have apologised to all of the students in the classroom,” read a statement sent to Yahoo Lifestyle from Brian Beal, director of education at the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board, in Canada.

“It was never the principal’s intention to make anyone feel uncomfortable, and he is working to resolve any issues that students and parents have. As a board, we are all committed to learning and growing from this situation.”

The incident happened last week, when a 12th-grade student at St. Theresa’s Catholic High School in Ontario, Canada, surreptitiously recorded principal Bern Tate during a uniform check during which he and vice principal Megan Clarke asked girls to stand up in class to assess the length of their kilts, according to CTV News Barrie.

On the recording, a woman presumed to be Clarke tells a student of her skirt, “Yours is fine” while Tate says, “It’s like the #MeToo movement. You’re putting every male in this building in an awkward situation.”

Later, student Hannah Arbour told the news station, “I was really caught off guard by what was happening because I didn’t expect that to ever happen.”

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Another student said of Tate, “And then he was like, ‘We get it, legs are pretty,’” adding, “We were like, uh, that’s uncomfortable. We’re underage females in a Catholic school — why is that comment being made by someone of authority?”

Others were put off by Tate’s “legs are pretty” comment.

On Wednesday, Tate and Clarke apologised to students. “Mr. Tate has said it was a poor choice of words and that it should never have happened,” a school spokesperson told the news station. “And I would concur with that. We would never want to devalue any of our boys and girls.”

Recently parents were outraged after a public school principal suggested that a stricter dress code could prevent the sexual abuse of girls. – read more here

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  • Wrong comment there, how unprofessional. Talk about the dress codes, just the dress codes, and nothing but the dress codes…..not what they look like, make others feel like or your opinion of what they look like. I always remember my great-gran telling me how the principal of their school would walk along the line with a ruler to measure how far above the knee their skirt was!

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  • We had a recognised dress code when I was in high school. It was enforced because some of the girls were pulling their skirts up higher than the bottom of their knickers. It simply looked revolting

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  • Seriously, they need a new school principle.

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  • Definitely the wrong things to be saying or even be thinking especially coming from the principal and vice principal – unacceptable coming from anyone actually. I do not think a stricter dress code to prevent the sexual abuse of (underage) girls is the correct answer either. Instead of shifting the blame onto girls/women with their short skirts, maybe men need to understand what will happen to them if they sexually abuse girls/women.

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  • His comment reinforces stereotypes that women ask to be sexually assaulted based on their clothing. What a disgrace to be in that position and be such a negative role model

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  • Why not clear the problem up completely and add long pants to the girls uniform options?! My high school uniform was skirt all year round, we didn’t have a choice, it was so unfair

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  • He definitely has a big problem. No not right for the job

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  • Unacceptable

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  • EW he has a big problem. Not sure he is in the right job.

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  • To me a good reason to have this man fired, a wee excuse is not enough.

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  • The Principal and all staff need to be accountable for their words and their role in a school. The message young women should be getting is respect and no comments about bodies and appearance.


    • Glad his comments have been deemed unacceptable. Comments like these always need to be called out.

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  • Geez why was he not fired or at least brought before the board of education to explain himself? Commenting on “pretty legs” is not appropriate or acceptable.

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  • He seems really really creepy. Keep him far away from kids kind of creepy.


    • Yes something that shouldn’t have been said.

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