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Joe Stratton | Source: Facebook/jo.suleyman
Joe Stratton | Source: Facebook/jo.suleyman

Boy Is Rebuked for His School Outfit, So He Comes up with Brilliant Protest

Bettina Dizon
Sep 16, 2023
05:30 P.M.

A 15-year-old boy recently made his parents proud after standing up to the school's dress code amidst the hot season. His protest came in a creative form without breaking any school policies.

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Joe Stratton is a Grade 11 boy at Caterham's Stafford School in Surrey, England, who made waves on the internet for his witty way of protesting his school's dress code. His mom initially shared what happened on Facebook, and it went viral.

A group of students in their school uniform. | Source: Shutterstock

A group of students in their school uniform. | Source: Shutterstock

The teen's school, Stafford School, has a policy that allows wearing shorts instead of trousers during the summer term. Beyond the summer period, students were required to wear trousers and a tie or a skirt. The implemented dress code has two options for students in Grades 7 to 10 and a uniform for Grade 11.

A group of students in their school uniform. | Source: Shutterstock

A group of students in their school uniform. | Source: Shutterstock

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The policy did not sit well with Joe, especially since the weather was hot outside of the summer term. In an attempt to beat the September heat, Joe thought of a way to peacefully protest his school's policy that left everyone around him proud.

On September 6 and 7, 2023, the teenage student wore a knee-length skirt and buttoned white top to school. Although it wasn't the usual student outfit for a male, he still dressed in a skirt to combat the heat.

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Joe planned to wear the same uniform as needed, especially when the weather was too hot for trousers. September 7, 2023, was forecasted as the hottest day of the year thus far in his hometown, Surrey, England.

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"His words to us last night when planning his uniform for today [were], 'Not all heroes wear capes. Some of us wear skirts,'" his mom, Jo Suleyman, said in her now-viral Facebook post.

Screenshot of comments on Jo Suleyman's Facebook post. | Source: Facebook/jo.suleyman

Screenshot of comments on Jo Suleyman's Facebook post. | Source: Facebook/jo.suleyman

Joe's family was proud of him for standing up for what he believed in and making his voice heard without hurting anyone. According to his mom, either the teachers didn't notice or didn't say anything.

Screenshot of comments on Jo Suleyman's Facebook post. | Source: Facebook/jo.suleyman

Screenshot of comments on Jo Suleyman's Facebook post. | Source: Facebook/jo.suleyman

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Presumably, they saw his uniform and supported his cause. "I don't think they expected him to actually do it," Suleyman noted. Nevertheless, the peaceful protest was an act that made the educators proud.

Screenshot of comments on Jo Suleyman's Facebook post. | Source: Facebook/jo.suleyman

Screenshot of comments on Jo Suleyman's Facebook post. | Source: Facebook/jo.suleyman

Similarly, Joe's dad, Ronnie Straton, is incredibly proud of his son, whom he described as a "legend." Initially, Ronnie thought his son would be laughed at, mocked, and "have the mickey taken out of him." Still, he encouraged Joe to stand up for what he believed in despite the voices that say otherwise.

Screenshot of comments on Jo Suleyman's Facebook post. | Source: Facebook/jo.suleyman

Screenshot of comments on Jo Suleyman's Facebook post. | Source: Facebook/jo.suleyman

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"Why should he go to school hot and uncomfortable and then try to function in school?" Ronnie said. "To function and be uncomfortable and hot – I don't think is right."

Screenshot of comments on Jo Suleyman's Facebook post. | Source: Facebook/jo.suleyman

Screenshot of comments on Jo Suleyman's Facebook post. | Source: Facebook/jo.suleyman

Joe's school later decided that shorts could be worn for a few more days. They also announced that the option to wear shorts was being considered to be added to the school dress code permanently. Head of School Jeff Place said in the statement:

"The current intention is to revert to full normal uniform from Tuesday 12 September with temperatures dropping back. We will carry out a more formal review of uniforms in due course, particularly regarding shorts as part of Uniform A for all times of year."

Screenshot of comments on Jo Suleyman's Facebook post. | Source: Facebook/jo.suleyman

Screenshot of comments on Jo Suleyman's Facebook post. | Source: Facebook/jo.suleyman

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In his mom's Facebook post, Joe posed in their backyard wearing his altered skirt uniform. One picture showed him smiling, while the other showed his arm muscles in a pose.

Screenshot of comments on Jo Suleyman's Facebook post. | Source: Facebook/jo.suleyman

Screenshot of comments on Jo Suleyman's Facebook post. | Source: Facebook/jo.suleyman

Joe's mom received several comments from people who commended Joe for doing well in his protest. Many also agreed that the school's policy wasn't fair to the students.

Screenshot of comments on Jo Suleyman's Facebook post. | Source: Facebook/jo.suleyman

Screenshot of comments on Jo Suleyman's Facebook post. | Source: Facebook/jo.suleyman

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"In my view, the option for summer uniform should last until October half term," one Facebook user said. Suleyman agreed with the person and wrote, "If girls can choose [shorts] or trousers year-round, boys should be allowed to choose shorts or trousers too."

Screenshot of comments on Jo Suleyman's Facebook post. | Source: Facebook/jo.suleyman

Screenshot of comments on Jo Suleyman's Facebook post. | Source: Facebook/jo.suleyman

"Boys should be [allowed] to wear shorts. It's ridiculous heat outside," another Facebook user agreed. Meanwhile, a third person said, "He deserves a medal for that, fair play, and well done. [You're] raised a goodun."

Screenshot of comments on Jo Suleyman's Facebook post. | Source: Facebook/jo.suleyman

Screenshot of comments on Jo Suleyman's Facebook post. | Source: Facebook/jo.suleyman

In a similar story, an 11-year-old girl was sent home from school for wearing Vivienne Westwood and Nike shows. Parents couldn't understand the decision of Grace College in Gateshead, UK, to dismiss their daughters for clothing choices.

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