An entire girls’ athletics team have allegedly been suspended after they wore sports bras to their training to protest a “sexist” clothing rule that allows boys to exercise without their shirts.
The track and field squad at Albany High School in upstate New York, USA, were reportedly sent packing by Athletic Director Ashley Chapple after they turned up to training in sports bra and shorts, reports Times Union.
The girls had argued they should be allowed to strip down for the session during a heatwave, the same way the boys’ team are allowed to pull off their shirts when it’s hot.
They said they were banned for their protest.
Talented sprinter Jordan Johnson said: “She confronted us about wearing sports bras and saying we couldn’t wear sports bras because we have male coaches.”
A heated exchange with the coach and school staff followed and the group of girl athletes were suspended. The suspension meant that only two members of the team attended that week’s regional competition.
Jordan has set up a petition named “Stop Gender Biased Dress Codes: Allow the Girls Track Team to wear Sports Bras”. The petition has attracted more than 3,420 signatures.
In the description for the fundraiser she accuses the school of “punishing” the team for “practicing in sports bras in the presence of male coaches”, while the boys team were “asked nicely to put shirts back on and was not punished”.
Well-wishers have taken to the page to add their messages of support, with one writing: “Stop making girls deal with stuff that boys don’t have to. Sports bras are sports gear, not lingerie.”
Another said: “Girls should be allowed to wear sports bra if males are allowed to be shirtless.”
A third person added: “Double standards need to be eliminated!”
The school has since denied that the suspension was related to the dress code and instead stemmed from the girls’ conduct towards school staff.