Students wear tank tops, muscle shirts in support of Laura Anderson
Anderson was sent home Monday for wearing ripped jeans and a tank top to school
About 100 male and female students at A.B. Lucas Secondary School, in London, Ont. stood together in support of Laura Anderson by demonstrating in tank tops and muscle shirts Wednesday.
"I made sure the protest stayed beyond the gates of the school, I didn't want to go on school property and disrupt the school environment," said Anderson. "I do not want to be rebellious or disrespectful to administration in any way, the point is to come together as a whole."
The Grade 12 student was sent home Monday after she read the morning announcements. She was told by a vice-principal that she broke the school's dress code by wearing ripped jeans and a tank top.
"A lot of the girls at my school today have come together and united to make a change and empower ourselves by wearing a tank top and ripped jeans to tell [school officials] that dress codes need to be re-looked at," said Anderson.
Anderson said even though she's received some criticism about what she's doing, many of her peers stood behind her.
"I think this is happening in a lot of schools around Ontario and across Canada potentially as well and it's time for us to start thinking about how we think about girls' wardrobes," she said.
Anderson is not completely against dress codes, acknowledging school is a public place where students come to learn, but said some of the rules need to be reassessed.
"I think that we need be given more liberty and more responsibility that will help people see that we really do respect ourselves," she said.
The school council has already had some discussion about the dress code at a scheduled meeting Tuesday night. Superintendent Sheila Powell said council is supportive of the current wording, but students will have the chance to speak up again next week.
"The principal of the school has also scheduled the opportunity for student voice forums next week so that he can engage in conversations with students about the dress code in small groups and in informal settings," she said.
Anderson doesn't want students to take the demonstration beyond its focus, where it creates a barrier between them and the administration.
"By getting them to see our perspective in this type of way, it will help that conversation to run a lot smoother," she said.
Meaghan Seaton wore a tank top to support Anderson.
"I think it was ridiculous how she got sent home for an outfit that was so appropriate for school," said Seaton.
Sarah Hall was also there.
"We're all here to learn, boys should be able to dress the same as we should, because a [bare] shoulder does not distract someone," said Hall.
Superintendent Powell told CBC no one was sent home because of what they wore Wednesday, but follow-up conversations with some students were expected because of their clothing choices.
She said events this week have been all about learning.
"It's an experience for other students at the school to learn how they react to their classmates who may have very different perspectives on a similar issue, and how do you engage in respectful, purposeful dialogue about that topic," she said.