While students in other parts of Canada fight with their teachers over visible bra straps or the length of their shorts, students at a school in Edmonton have developed a far stricter dress code than their principal expected.
Students at Archbishop Joseph MacNeil Catholic School in Edmonton weren’t happy with the old guidelines, so they formed a student-teacher committee to come up with something new.
"They said they were rules for students by students," said Principal Kelly Forner.
"They came up with the consequences which in honesty were probably more strict than what I would have given as consequences."
The new rules aren’t as lenient as one might expect
No spaghetti straps are allowed — t-shirts must have straps at least one inch in width, shorts must have inseams of at least four inches; and leggings can only be worn with a top that covers the hips.
T-shirts cannot have offensive images or sayings and students aren't allowed to wear low-slung pants to class.
Students found breaking the rules are told to change their clothes. A warning is given with the first offence; a second offence leads to a warning along with a letter home to parents; an in-school suspension is the punishment for a third offence.
"They really didn't want students going home because they felt that their education was important," Forner said.
Hunter Boyer, a committee member and Grade 8 student, said it was important that boys had a say in how they should dress.
“Because of a lot of the time there will be guys wearing their pants really low and things like that and you really just don’t want to look at their underwear while you’re in school, sitting and trying to work,” he said.
The dress code was finalized last week. Posters now explain the new rules to students.
Grade 8 student and committee memeber Carmen Naranjo says the dress code is something she takes seriously.
“You have to dress like you’re going to work and if you dress inappropriately, that’s not something that you can do,” she said.
Forner says students showed a lot of maturity by initiating the dress code review.
“We want them to be responsible young adults, even when we’re not around," she said. "We want them to make good choices for themselves and that's part of education as well."