Victoria schools consider eliminating dress codes
Proposal from Greater Victoria School District would only prohibit clothes promoting hate speech
Dress codes could soon become a thing of the past in Victoria-area schools.
Staff at the Greater Victoria School District are recommending that its 47 schools only be allowed to prohibit students from wearing anything that could be considered discriminatory under the B.C. Human Rights Code.
Anything else could not be limited in a school's code of conduct.
"There won't be anything specific about the length of shorts or the width of tank top straps. It'll simply be about respecting diversity and inclusion," trustee Jordan Watters told CBC News.
School dress codes have come under fire across North America in recent years for disproportionately restricting the clothing of female students in the name of keeping their male classmates focused on their studies.
Earlier this year, female students at Trafalgar Middle School in Nelson wore crop tops and short shorts in protest of what they described as unequal enforcement of the dress code.
Girls aren't a 'distraction'
Watters agreed that it's unfair to hold girls responsible for "distracting" the boys in their classes.
"We want to send a really strong message to the girls in our community that we support them and welcome them and we do not view them as a distraction, no matter what," Watters said.
"We're not going to be penalizing young women for having female bodies in the same way."
She also dismissed concerns that students might begin wearing garments printed with profanity and other obscene words, saying that it hasn't been a problem at district schools that have already done away with dress codes.
But she acknowledged that the idea has been a controversial one in the community, and among school board trustees.
"Certainly there are people in our school community who really value the idea of modesty," she said.
The board was scheduled to discuss the recommendation at a meeting Monday night.
With files from Anita Bathe