Dear TDSB Students,
On August 31, the TDSB sent a letter to “system leaders,” including all school principals. The purpose of this letter is to clarify what the Board expects with respect to school dress codes: the Board expects that, while the Appropriate Dress policy is being revised, all school dress codes will be updated to align with the Board’s revised Equity Policy.
That’s not all:
- The letter gives credit to the many student leaders who have fought discriminatory school dress codes over the past few years, and to the students, parents, and staff members who spoke about dress codes at the May 30 Governance and Policy Committee meeting.
- It instructs administrators to seek out and respect student voice.
- It makes a distinction between the respect due to everyone involved in discussions about school dress codes, and the respectability that is often invoked to justify discriminatory codes.
- It calls on administrators to see school dress codes as teaching tools for talking about healthy relationships in terms of boundaries and consent.
- It argues for an understanding of students’ experience of school as a social environment, as opposed to a professional work environment, and asserts that students need the freedom to express themselves at school.
- It states that no dress code is an excuse for shaming or publicly humiliating students.
You know what? It’s honestly a legit letter!
What this means for YOU
And it means that if you find yourself feeling shamed, humiliated, harassed, policed, or profiled because of what you choose to wear to school, then someone hasn’t gotten the message; the Board’s expectations are not being met; the letter’s instructions are not being followed; your rights are being violated.
It means that if you feel like your sexuality, culture, or social identity is being suppressed by dress code enforcement, or if your school dress code is reinforcing racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, fatphobia, ableism, classism, or any other form of bias, prejudice, or discrimination, then something is wrong — and you can do something about it!
What to do if you’ve been unfairly dress coded
You can refer to the letter described here, the letter that your principal has received. You can refer to the Board’s recently revised Equity Policy. You can seek out a staff ally who you trust to help you fight for your rights. You can reach out to the End Dress Codes collective for guidance. You can monitor this website, and follow us on Insta / FB / Twitter. And you can spread the word — share this post, print and distribute the flyers below, and talk to your peers, your teachers, your principals, your parents, and your trustees about what you want, and what you deserve.
These are the dying days of discriminatory dress codes in the TDSB; together, we can hasten their demise and ensure that they are buried good and deep!
The End Dress Codes collective