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To expect school to respect privacy wishes of 9 year old?

(216 Posts)
streetlife70s Tue 31-Oct-17 09:54:40

Hi, not a first time poster with a weird first time post but a briefly returning flouncer needing a little perspective please.

Like a lot of families we have discussed bodily autonomy, consent etc at home and both kids schools have done the same in recent months (DD9 and DS11) with targeted lessons on these topics.

From around the age of 7 both kids started to cover up more around us, asked for privacy in bathroom etc etc and we took our cue from them and did the same (so far so normal right?)

DD is not 'ashamed' of her body any more than me or DH are before anyone says that, but that doesn't equate to lack of privacy. So for example, when we go swimming as a family I don't have a problem with how I look in a cossie but I always get changed in a cubicle.

DD 9 has said this morning she no longer wants to use the communal changing rooms at school swimming because she wants to get changed in private. There are no private cubicles and she says she finds it too difficult to get changed single handedly holding a towel.

Her words were, "so how come I have the right to be private at home and when we go swimming as a family but then a teacher can tell me tell me to get my clothes off in front of a bunch of other kids at school?"

Errrm, not sure how to handle this one. I asked her to go and speak to her teacher before swimming about how she feels. I don't want to be 'that' parent expecting special treatment for DD but equally, in one lesson she has been taught about having rights over her body which trumps the rights of teachers, family etc and on the other hand are we saying "no, if you're told to get undressed in front of people and you feel uncomfortable you shouldn't because that's silly / they are all girls / a teacher says so / there is nowhere else?"

How would you handle this? (expecting perhaps call from school later)

treaclesoda Tue 31-Oct-17 09:56:29

I don't know the answer but I agree. I think that it's not ok for children to be forced to undress in front of their classmates if they feel uncomfortable.

ssd Tue 31-Oct-17 09:57:47

I'd totally stick up for her and tell the school this isnt acceptable

FacelikeaBagofHammers Tue 31-Oct-17 09:58:02

Slightly off topic, but get her one of those towels that velco closed around her neck so she can get changed underneath.

lurkingnotlurking Tue 31-Oct-17 09:59:03

It would take a very long time to get a whole class changed if private facilities had to be made available to everyone. But have a word with the teacher to see if they can help?

Twoevils Tue 31-Oct-17 09:59:10

Not sure what the answer is, but we have some hooded towels that have poppers down the sides. My daughter prefers to use them when changing for swimming lessons. Got them from Decathalon.

CMOTDibbler Tue 31-Oct-17 10:00:15

Get her a changing poncho - if there's no cubicles, the school can't change that, but a towelling poncho will let her change underneath

SloeSloeQuickQuickGin Tue 31-Oct-17 10:01:26

There aren't 30 helpers so how could you keep an eye on the whole class if they are all in different cubicles?

FWIW - I think your daughter has a valid point.

SheSparkles Tue 31-Oct-17 10:01:39

I’m with treaclesoda, I don’t know what the answer is for your dd, ut in the long term I believe that children should have the facility to change in private without it being an issue, but that will only come with a huge financial cost

RhiWrites Tue 31-Oct-17 10:02:11

I hated this aspect of school sports. It thoroughly put me off. I think she should have the right to change in private. (Although now as an adult I just whip it all off in changing rooms.)

Agree with the suggestion of a special towel. I know my friend has one which is like a cross between a towel and a kaftan.

Pengggwn Tue 31-Oct-17 10:03:12

What do you want the school to do? Communal changing isn't so students can watch each other undress, it's for safeguarding. Private changing gives rise to lots of issues.

Your only option here is to withdraw her from swimming lessons, as there won't be room for every child to change both safely and privately.

ScarletSienna Tue 31-Oct-17 10:03:28

I agree with you entirely. I’m not sure how it could be achieved-our pool only has one cubicle for example.

MaudAndOtherPoems Tue 31-Oct-17 10:03:46

I agree with your daughter, but there probably aren't enough cubicles and enough staff to shepherd the children in and out of them for that to be an option. Speak to the teacher, but the Decathlon tent towel is probably your best option.

Sirzy Tue 31-Oct-17 10:03:58

It’s a hard one from schools POV as they are often limited to the available space for School swimming changing. They also often need to take into account the members of the public will also want to be using the changing facilities

Thingywhatsit Tue 31-Oct-17 10:04:15

Totally get where she is coming from - do a search for a a beach robie - lots of surfers etc use them. Basically a towel with a hood and arm holes, the sides are joined up so gives privacy to change. That will solve the initial problem - just not the conflicting privacy issues......

They are a bugger to dry in the winter if you don't have a tumble dryer but they are good. Think I paid £30ish for my sons last one but it was branded so you can probably get a cheaper one.

RhiWrites Tue 31-Oct-17 10:04:42

Link to changing towel: amzn.to/2A2nsnF

RhiWrites Tue 31-Oct-17 10:06:00

It's not really safeguarding, is it? It's space. Schools don't usually have individual cubicles.

Twitchingdog Tue 31-Oct-17 10:06:57

If you daughter wants private area at school . I think you need to go with class to supervise her .

TheViceOfReason Tue 31-Oct-17 10:08:09

Bollocks communal changing is for safeguarding - it's because it is cheaper to install.

My school many many years ago had individual cubicles - and individual showers (albeit with curtains rather than doors). One of the (female) PE teachers would stand in the middle of the changing room - so no risk of anyone being cornered in a cubicle, someone opening the shower curtain etc.

Result was it also being QUICKER as everyone wasn't trying to change under towels etc.

It is ridiculous in this day and age and actually i would be THAT parent and make the point that we cannot teach children about privacy and bodily autonomy, then insist they change in front of their peers. Bollocks to that.

RavenWings Tue 31-Oct-17 10:08:30

I'd totally stick up for her and tell the school this isnt acceptable

And your solution for this is?

I'm not sure what you expect the school to do about it. It's a logistical and child protection issue - you can't send children off to all change in private cubicles, and adequately supervise that.

Not sure what speaking to the teacher is supposed to achieve. Buy one of those special towels as suggested above, or go supervise her changing yourself in a private cubicle if it really impacts you.

Pengggwn Tue 31-Oct-17 10:08:56

RhiWrites

It is safeguarding. Changing takes at least 15 minutes after swimming, plus 10 before. In that time students could wander in and out of one another's 'private' cubicles, sneak in as pairs or threes etc. and one member of staff supervising isn't going to be able to prevent things going wrong all the time. Then there is the issue of protecting them from other adults, self-harm, bullying etc. I would refuse to supervise 30 x 9 year olds changing for swimming in separate cubicles, not a chance. More than my job is worth.

ownedbySWD Tue 31-Oct-17 10:09:04

My ds hated getting changed for pe for this very reason. He was in year four when he stared refusing to change in front of his classmates. Fortunately for him, there was a toilet block attached to the classroom so his teachers allowed him to change in there. He is much happier with the cubicles in secondary school.

I agree with your DD but there aren't any easy solutions. The towel idea is good.

Lethaldrizzle Tue 31-Oct-17 10:09:44

I would tell her all the practical reasons listed above! Home and school are two different environments.

RavenWings Tue 31-Oct-17 10:13:40

Ah ok @vice, so apparently the school needs to independently remodel the swimming pool (I'm presuming it's a public pool and they don't own it?) to cater for a minority of parents. Got it. That's not an unreasonable request at all...

Have you ever actually gone as staff to school swimming? It takes a long time to get them all changed and ready. Meanwhile, you've to watch the ones who are ready and keep them safe. Having the one communal area does make it much easier to supervise and remind kids to pick up belongings.

RB68 Tue 31-Oct-17 10:14:13

When we went swimming as kids with school we all had our own cubicle - well we shared and one stood outside wile other got decent then swapped and you took it in turns week in/out as to who first etc.

It is not right to make them all change in a group and her logic is infallible!!

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