A copy of HSS’s new dress code (Facebook photo)

B.C. mom upset by dress code’s disproportionate targeting of girls

Mother of Grade 10 student also not happy about northwestern school district’s lack of consultation

A new dress code at a high school in northwest B.C. has irked a few parents for its guidelines for girls.

Anissa Watson is a mother of four, with one of her daughters in Grade 10 at Hazelton Secondary School, near Smithers.

She said her daughter recently brought home the district’s revised dress code.

“She said, ‘Mom, look at this,’” Watson said. “It was mostly images of women’s bodies and with lines pointing to different things the schools did not want the girls to be wearing.”

The image, obtained by The Interior News, appears to show eight individuals – six girls and two boys – wearing various examples of prohibited clothing.

“Don’t wear: clothing that does not provide adequate coverage of your body,” it reads, referring to images of girls.

“Don’t wear: backless tops or clothes with revealing holes or tears.”

However, another illustration shows a boy wearing a baggy tank top with ripped sleeves and saggy jeans, with the jeans being labelled as against the code.

Carole Gagnon, executive assistant for School District 82, said schools are required to update their dress codes annually to comply with their overall code of conduct.

“Working with young adults at this time of year [when the temperatures increase] can become problematic when students make choices around wardrobe that may or may not be consistent with … the school code of conduct,” she said in an email.

READ MORE: B.C. legislature speaker says sleeveless dresses are OK

The school has a new administrative team, she said, so rewriting the dress code “only recently came to light as a potential issue.”

Watson said she supports a dress code and a larger conversation around what’s appropriate for kids to wear to school, but adds this initiative wasn’t even properly introduced.

“There was no preamble from the school, no consultation with parents, no consultations with students.

“My first thought was, ‘Oh, I was at the school yesterday helping out as a volunteer [and] I broke dress code – I wore a tank top.’ It was 27 degrees, you know?”

She added she was bothered by the emphasis on girls ostensibly distracting boys by what they are wearing.

“My daughter was told that she shouldn’t wear something that [will] cause a boy to have to cover his eyes to walk down the hallway, that’s my concern. The dress code isn’t there to teach the students about respect and professionalism,” she said. She added that when her daughter expressed concerns to a male teacher, she was told she was being immature.

Watson said she’s talked to other parents, who are concerned as well.

RELATED: B.C. trustee’s new dress code moves ahead despite opposition

RELATED: ‘Disgusting and shameful’: B.C. trustees’ dress code debate irks union head

Gagnon said the current dress code is an interim measure and that the school and the district will take input from parents on revisions.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Voters in Saanich North and the Islands, here lining up outside Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre on the first day of advanced voting, are among the provincial leaders in getting in their votes early, with some 20 per cent (10,174) of eligible voters have already cast their ballots. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
It’s Election Day in B.C.: Here’s what you need to know to vote

B.C.’s snap election has already broken records for advance voter turnout, mail-in ballots

Comox Valley are investigating a break and enter at a store on Denman Island. File photo
Thief steals Denman Island store’s charity jar

Comox Valey RCMP also looking for witnesses to Dove Creek injury

Former 19 Wing Commander Mike Atkins is the new CEO of the Comox Valley Airport. Photo submitted
Comox Valley Airport Commission announces new CEO

Alex Robertson is serving as acting CEO since Fred Bigelow’s departure for medical leave last year

A group gathers for a guided story walk at the Comox Valley Art Gallery plaza. Scott Stanfield photo
Comox Valley arts-based project takes honest look at overdose crisis

The Comox Valley Art Gallery, and AVI Health and Community Services are… Continue reading

The Comox Valley campus of North Island Hospital. File photo
Comox-Strathcona still on track to pay down new hospital debt

Reserves for capital projects should increase over annual debt in 2023-24

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

Most Read