Dress codes to remain as is across Halifax Regional School Board

During a Halifax Regional School Board's policy committee meeting, members agreed that a hands-off approach might be best to deal with school dress codes.

Dress codes remain up to individual schools after meeting

Lauren Wiggins, 17, says school officials said her full-length halter dress was inappropriate and a distraction to other students. (Lauren Wiggins/Facebook)

During a Halifax Regional School Board's policy committee meeting, members agreed that a hands-off approach might be best to deal with school dress codes.

Earlier this month students in Montreal protested a dress code that forbids crop tops and any clothes considered too short, too tight or too tattered. 

In 2012 an Eastern Passage school banned yoga pants. Last spring a Truro Junior High student was told her shorts were too short, and just last month a Moncton teen was sent home for wearing clothes that exposed her shoulders.

Halifax Regional School Board member Christy Linders says each spring new problems with dress codes arise.

"There's two things that can happen: they can be too ambiguous and people can have different perceptions of what the words mean in them or perhaps they can be too prescriptive and either one can cause an issue," she says.

Right now there isn't one dress code that applies across the board.

Individual schools enact dress codes that they feel fit with their community.

Wednesday night, the Halifax school board heard that this school-by-school approach is common at many other boards.

Members agreed things should stay as is for now, especially because a new province-wide code of conduct is coming into effect in September.

It specifically doesn't include dress codes, saying they can be discriminatory.

Linders asked board staff for a report on how other cities deal with dress codes.

The report found Halifax's approach is quite common: leave dress codes up to individual schools. That approach will likely continue, especially come September when a new provincial code of conduct takes effect.

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