The TDSB’s Enhancing Equity Task Force was initiated more than a year ago. Facilitated by Liz Rykert, its mandate is to explore which of the Board’s equity strategies have worked and to identify where challenges remain. The Task Force released its draft report on October 24. Interested parties are invited to comment on this draft by November 20.

The End Dress Codes collective met with Liz Rykert in mid-October, after the draft report had been written. We told her about the destructive impact that school dress codes have on the Board’s equity goals, and about our hope that dress codes will be explicitly discussed in the final version of the report. Now, we want you to comment on the draft report and reinforce our message.

One of the barriers to equity the Task Force identifies is racism: “Racism was frequently raised as a concern by a wide variety of stakeholders.” Tell the TDSB about how school dress codes sustain racism.

Another is biased teachers and staff: stakeholders “stressed that it is the duty of the Board to ensure that staff do not perpetuate…prejudices.” Tell the TDSB that staff perpetuate sexism, homophobia, and transphobia when they enforce school dress codes.

Another is divisions between schools: “Wherever there were divisions between schools, traditionally marginalized students” lost out. Tell the TDSB about the divisions between schools’ dress codes, and how the harshest codes seem to be reserved for traditionally marginalized students.

The Task Force stresses the need for more student voice: “Students…stressed their desire to participate in the discourse on such important issues as equity.” Tell the TDSB what you’ve been trying to say about dress codes, or what you’ve heard students say about codes.

Tell the TDSB what you want them to know by November 20 — and tell us, too!

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