Skirt hemlines have become a heated topic at a West Auckland school after above the knee skirts were deemed a "distraction" to male students and teachers.

A group of year 11 students at Henderson High School were called into a meeting following a uniform check at a school assembly last week and informed by deputy principal, Cherith Telford, their skirts would need to be lowered to the knees to "stop boys from getting ideas", MediaWorks reported.

Ms Telford told the group, longer skirts were needed to, "keep our girls safe, stop boys from getting ideas and create a good work environment for male staff," MediaWorks reported.

Year 11 student, Sade Tuttle who was in the group, said the rules themselves weren't the problem but it was the rationale behind them.


"The rules themselves aren't the problem; the problem is when these codes target girls specifically because their bodies are sexual and distracting," she said.

Several parents of students at the school also said they were unhappy with the way the issue was being handled.

The schools principal, Mike Purcell, told MediaWorks that the rules were not new to parents and all families were made aware of them when their children were enrolled.

They include a stipulation that the hemline of female students' skirts must be on the knee, no higher.

"The uniform is practical for school wear and these rules are regularly enforced to ensure that all students can focus on their learning and feel comfortable in the school environment," he said.

"As principal, I make no apology for insisting on high standards throughout the school and I have high expectations. That includes wearing the uniform according to the agreed rules".

After news of the meeting was made public, hundreds took to social media to express their support for the girls.

One woman wrote; "Oh dear, the old thinking is still out there. Come on people we need to give our sons and fathers a bit more credit than that."