Parents at Sydney’s Santa Sabina College have defended principal Dr Maree Herrett from conservative attacks over the school’s new uniform.

The Catholic school’s new uniform code offers options including shorts or trousers for girls, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

Conservative Christians and media figures have attacked the new dress code after it was announced earlier this month.

Dr Herrett said the change was not due to gender politics, but acknowledged that “there has always been a variety of ways of expressing your femininity or your masculinity”, and if students are struggling with gender “it might make that journey a little more comfortable”.

Columnist Miranda Devine last week called the principal’s comments “cultural Marxism”.

Facebook group Christian Lives Matter accused Dr Herrett of “pushing gender fluidity on young girls” by allowing them to wear pants.

Affronted parents and community members held a meeting last week to address the uniform issue.

Some have reportedly threatened to pull their children out of Santa Sabina over the new uniform policy.

Other parents say the rumours of outrage are overblown, calling the uniform change a “non-issue” and Dr Herrett an “outstanding” school leader.

Richard Aedy said he was surprised to see the new uniform being conflated with gender issues.

“Dr Herrett’s not saying ‘come to Santa Sabina and become a boy’, it’s more, ‘if gender identity is something you’re struggling with, this option might help you feel a bit better’,” he said.

“Charity surely extends to providing the most supportive environment to a young woman who is grappling with an issue like gender identity.”

Numerous other parents have reportedly contacted the media to express their support for the school.

School board chair Tony Woods said Dr Herrett had their full support, describing the negative coverage as a “campaign of misinformation which is obviously part of a broader agenda existing beyond our gates and our college community”.

“Whilst we respect the views of the broader community, we do not accept the actions of those who have hijacked the dialogue for other purposes,” Woods said.

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