Schools ‘should be allowed dress codes’

Sweden's education minister has said he is not opposed to schools having dress codes. But officials at the Swedish National Agency for Education say rules could be a violation of pupils' personal integrity.

Education Minister Jan Björklund said on Tuesday that schools “should have the right to implement certain dress codes,” providing parents agreed.

But lawyers at the education agency say that the only clothes that schools have a right to ban are those with Nazi symbols. Frank Nordberg, one of the agency’s lawyers, said the decision by a school in Stockholm’s chic Östermalm district to put a stop to low-hanging pants was “borderline.”

“It could be seen as an infringement on personal integrity,” Nordberg said.

But Björklund said he thought it was reasonable for schools to set boundaries.

“If 10 and 11-year-old girls want to dress like Britney Spears, it is often the case that both schools and parents want to set boundaries. I think they must be able to do so,” he said.

Björklund underlined that this must not happen without the agreement of parents.

“For schools to decide against the will of parents is in my view wrong and unworkable,” he said.