Greater Victoria School District 61 reached a decision regarding the student dress code, adopting a new policy “committed to providing students with learning environments that are safe, responsive, and inclusive.”
Two years in the making, the dress code debate was hotly contested in 16 meetings, with 8 community presentations before a vote secured the new policy, as part of the district’s code of conduct at the April 23 board of education meeting.
Trustee Jordan Watters, who first championed the change in policy in 2016 called it a “new era of equity in our district” in a Facebook post.
Previously, Watters said students – primarily female – have been removed from the classroom, or asked to wear additional clothing, or singled out based on opinions from educators on what they deem appropriate attire to be.
The new policy prohibits all of that, and requires teachers, principals and parents to advise and consult with each other on an annual basis.
Officially, the new policy “supports the dress code consistently and in a manner that does not reinforce or increase marginalization or oppression of any group based on race, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, cultural observance, household income or body type and size.”
Of the 47 schools in SD61, only 22 – primarily middle schools – have dress codes.
“With our new policy in place we take the first step towards a future where no body is a distraction and all children are welcome to express themselves without fear of shame,” Watters wrote.