Pool ban on nude children

NZ Herald September 12, 2008

A school has been told to stop letting its 5-year-old pupils get changed in front of adults by the side of a public swimming pool. St Bernadette’s School in Christchurch said it chose not to use the busy changing rooms at the Jellie Park aquatic centre so that the teachers and parents could keep a better eye on the children. But another park user complained and the centre has asked the school to stick to the changing rooms in future. School principal Maureen Moore told the Herald the same practice had been followed for two weeks before the incident without any problem. It was purely for safety, and the school did not set out to offend anyone. “If we can’t do it, we don’t do it. We’ll work something [else] out.”

Bob McCoskrie, of lobby group Family First, said it was a sad reality of high-profile cases of child pornography and paedophilia that parents now needed to “err on the side of modesty”. While his 7-year-old son and many other children would think nothing of being naked in public, “the adults are probably a little more nervous”. Bruce Pilbrow, chief executive of New Zealand’s largest parenting organisation, Parents Inc, said he had encountered a similar situation with his own children, in the 12-13 age bracket, when going swimming – which left him “mortified”. He did not view it as an issue of political correctness – rather schools needing to do their duty to keep the kids safe.