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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 May, 2003, 19:10 GMT 20:10 UK
Pupils warned not to wear thongs
Parents have been urged by a head teacher to stop their daughters wearing thongs to a primary school.

Anna Roxburgh wrote to parents of girls aged 10 to 11 at Hamp Junior School in Bridgwater, Somerset, after hearing that some had the skimpy undergarments.

The letter read: "This is not due to any personal objection on my part, but out of concern for the girls' possible embarrassment while changing for PE or playing out in the playground - falling over or playing handstands and so on.

"I have also told the girls that their choice of undergarment would not be checked up on, nor would anything further happen."

Kate Strathearn, who received a letter, said she would not be banning her 11-year-old daughter from wearing thongs to school.

'Rethink needed'

She said: "I was surprised the school was not keen on thongs. I see nothing wrong with them.

"I have not told my daughter not to wear them and I do not ask her in the morning what she is wearing. She is 11 and she has a good head on her shoulders."

Another mother, Annie Milton, said she thought the letter was "unbelievable", adding: "Schools lay down enough rules without going right down to undergarments."

Michele Elliott, director of child protection charity Kidscape, however, fully supported the headteacher's letter.

She said: "Thongs are designed to be sexy. Thongs are designed to ensure that you do not show a panty line through tight-fitting clothes.

"Why on earth would you send a child to school with clothes that tight?

"I think the headteacher is absolutely right and I think the parents need to rethink their child protection roles.

"Where is the parents' common sense?"

She added: "I do think it's a concern for the school. Children do cartwheels, they fall over and always have their legs in the air in the normal course of play.

"It's a child protection issue in terms of embarrassment, safety, as thongs are inappropriate."

She added that there were health risks from thongs which she said could lead to infection.

A spokeswoman for Somerset County Council said: "It's up to the individual school to decide the code of dress."

Last year Argos was criticised for launching a range of underwear for girls as young as nine which includes G-strings and padded bras.

The company defended its decision by saying that was the underwear children wanted.

Earlier this year, department store Bhs withdrew its Little Miss Naughty range of padded bras and knickers for pre-teen girls.

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