TDSB staff presented a draft of a revised Student Dress Code Policy (P042) to the November 8 Governance and Policy Committee meeting. After hearing delegations from two EDCers, and after an approximately hour-long discussion, committee members voted to ask staff to do further revisions to the draft prior to releasing it for external consultation by November 30.


Our understanding is that the Committee expects that Board staff will:

  1. Hew more closely to the NOW model school dress code by stipulating that “nipples,” rather than “breasts,” must be covered by opaque fabric.
  2. Excise the discussion of “gang affiliation” which has, so far, survived the revision process.
  3. More clearly spell out expectations regarding headwear — i.e. make explicit that the days of zero tolerance for non-religious headwear are over. (Again, NOW is helpful here.)
  4. Simplify the language of the revised policy so that it can be read and understood by all TDSB students / stakeholders.
  5. Make clear that the revised P042 will be the dress code for every school in the system — separate, school-based policies will no longer be necessary.

The End Dress Codes collective raised items 1-3 via delegations. In response, one committee member wondered whether students would be allowed to wear “pasties” over their nipples. (Sigh.) The NOW model code stipulates that nipples must be covered with opaque material, and that students must wear a shirt. Thus, no pasties — but no dress coding regarding cleavage, either. In responding to the pasties-curious committee member, Board staff did not make this clear; we hope that it will become clear in their next draft.

We were immensely grateful to Trustee Shelley Laskin for backing us up on items 1-3. Trustee Laskin clearly understood our concerns, and made certain that they were taken up by Board staff; she made certain that our voices were heard. Not to get all partisan, but: we’re really glad that she was re-elected back in October!

Throughout the discussion of the revised P042, Board staff made clear that they had heard and been influenced by the ten delegations regarding dress codes that were presented at the May 30 G+P meeting. Props to them for listening, and to delegates for speaking up. We believe that participation in the coming consultations on P042 will be as important, as influential, as delegations to G+P have been. We will do everything we can to spread the word when consultations begin — please be ready to take part!

The timeline so far:


4 thoughts on “PHASE II: STILL GOING…

  1. Hey there !! Thanks so much for all the amazing and hard work! Finally we are seeing things be where they need to be ! What is the deal though with hats and hoodies? I know this was an issue given it was being argued as being a part of hip hop culture but schools are arguing it covers the face and prevents identification . Can u shed some light on where this might go? Thx !!

    1. Hi Katia! The August 30 letter that all TDSB system leaders (all principals, superintendents, etc.) received explicitly mentions non-religious headwear twice:

      — it lists “hat colours” and “hoodies” as examples of items commonly included in dress codes that reflect “racialized assumptions”;
      — it states that school dress codes should “prohibit discriminatory rules or differential treatment based on racialized stereotypes (e.g. … headgear…)”

      Some schools have ended their prohibitions on non-religious headwear as a result of this letter.

      The revised dress code that was discussed last Thursday explicitly mentions headwear once:

      — it states that “The TDSB student dress code must be designed inclusively and result in barrier free access to the fullest extent possible (e.g., no zero tolerance head wear…)”

      We argued that this isn’t clear enough, that the revised code should not bury expectations regarding headwear in a parenthetical example.

      At any rate, we think that the August 30 letter, the draft of a revised dress code, and the Equity Policy (P037) provide ample material with which to militate against current prohibitions on hats / hoodies / etc.

      Does this help? Sorry if you already knew all this!

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