PEI

'We should be able to express ourselves': Students wear crop tops to protest dress code

Students at Bluefield High School in Hampshire, P.E.I., say they’re fed up with the school’s dress code — and on Monday some students wore crop tops to protest it.

'The one thing that affects our learning is teachers pulling us out of class'

Samara Ford wore a crop top in protest of dress code. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Students at Bluefield High School in Hampshire, P.E.I., say they're fed up with the school's dress code — and on Monday some students wore crop tops to protest it.

"We should be able to express ourselves through our clothing," said Samara Ford, a Grade 10 student at the school who took part.

"How does how we dress affect our learning? It doesn't," said Samantha Gallant, another student who participated in the protest. "The one thing that affects our learning is teachers pulling us out of class."

Victoria Wartman said she got in trouble last year for wearing a tank top. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Victoria Wartman, a Grade 12 student, said some of the dress code is fair and some isn't.

She got in trouble last year for wearing a tank top, she said, and was asked to put on a sweater on a hot day.

"It definitely gets hot in the summer and even spring so I want to be able to wear crop tops, I want to be able to wear shorts," she said.

The students said recently a student wearing a spaghetti-strap top was asked to cover up, which drew attention to the rules.

A petition has been organized, and a Facebook group has been set up — both in hopes of having the rules changed. School administration said some students had also put up posters at the school in attempt to rally others.

'This is your job placement'

The purpose of the dress code is to ensure that students wear clothing that is acceptable in an educational setting, Bluefield principal Jerry Coady said 

"I often tell students that this is your job placement," he said.

The rules don't allow students to wear low-cut shirts, thinner straps or crop tops. Short shorts are not permitted, nor are shirts with what are deemed inappropriate logos or images.

Bluefield High School's dress code has been in place for the past decade. (Submitted by Jerry Coady)

Coady doesn't believe anyone has ever been suspended over a dress code issue, but said he does hear complaints.

"Every so often, someone is upset when told what they are wearing does not meet our dress code," said Coady.

School asks students for ideas

The current rules have been around for about a decade, said Coady, and it may be time to review them.

He has met with a number of students to talk about dress code and he hopes to be able to resolve any concerns by meeting with students and discussing the issue.

"I told them to take a week to ten days to do some research, involve students and staff and come up with a proposal." said Coady.

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