'A distraction for boys', student pulled out of class over outfit
A 14-year-old student from Chelmsford is not happy, after she was told to change her clothes due to a failure in dress code regulations.
Tiffany Fahey told CTV herself and some female classmates at St. Charles Elementary Catholic School were pulled out of class this week for her outfit.
Tiffany said the school called the outfits she and her friends were wearing ‘a distraction for boys’.
“It is extremely hot out and I can't concentrate in school,” said Tiffany.
"A lot of my friends can't concentrate. We have no air conditioning in the school. It's hot in there and it's not a good learning environment.”
Aside from making girls uncomfortable in the heat, with many of them unable to concentrate as a result, Tiffany and her mom Felicia said the policy is wrong.
They feel like it sends the wrong message to young girls.
“They're saying that the girls are being seen as a distraction,” said Felicia.
“I mean, it's the human body. I've got a tank top on and you can see my arms and no one would dare say ‘cover up because that's inappropriate’ or my colleague can't think beside me."
“We're trying to build girls up to be proud of their bodies and now the school is telling them the complete opposite,” added Tiffany.
The Sudbury Catholic District School Board told CTV it appreciates the issue has been raised.
It said this is an opportunity for students to learn about advocating for change, but the dress code is there for a reason.
“We have a dress code and we're all on the same page,” said Michael Bellmore, Sudbury Catholic District School Board chair.
“It's just an opportunity for everybody to learn. I'm also going to point out that dress codes are universal.”
Joanne Bénard, school board director of education, issued a statement to CTV.
“The Sudbury Catholic District School Board’s policy states that all Schools must adopt a dress code for all students that support the mission and vision. These dress codes align with the Provincial Code of Conduct which state that “students must be neat, appropriately dressed and prepared for school” (PPM 128). The dress code is in place to ensure that all students are wearing attire that is appropriate for the learning environment.
We appreciate the concerns regarding the dress code that have been brought to our attention. This is an opportunity for our students to learn about the process of advocating for change. The Principal will be engaging in a conversation with the students about what they believe should be changed in the dress code. He will then bring these recommendations to the School Council for consideration. The School Council is comprised of parents, school administration and School staff. If required, the dress code will be modified as agreed on by all parties.”
Felicia said she whole-heartedly supports her daughter's decision to take a stand.
“I'm going to stand behind my kids, because I think it's important to sometimes challenge the things that you think are wrong and that's how you get change, right?”
Felicia told CTV she has been in contact with the school board and a dialogue has opened up about the issue.
The board said the school's principal will be sitting down with students, so that they can look at making changes to the dress code policy this fall.