Do you support revising TDSB Policy P042 (Appropriate Dress) so that it aligns with equity and human rights, and so that it incorporates greater opportunity for student voice in dress code development, review, and revision?
Student Dress Codes have long been a controversial issue amongst staff, parents, students, faith, and human rights groups, and can be a difficult topic for Principals to navigate. While I personally feel that dress codes are inappropriate and encourage inequity I recognize that such policies and protocols are required under the Education Act and that Principals are required to consult their parent community when developing local dress codes. I believe that students should be consulted on any policies and protocols that affect their wellbeing, and especially policies that affect their personal choices. I also believe that school communities need clearer policies from the School Board in order to avoid discrimination and harm in their local practices. The Board’s policies must be gender neutral and reflect both internal Equity and Human Rights Policies and the Ontario Human Rights Code. However I do not feel that Policy revision and consultation goes far enough to create safe and equitable schools. Dress codes will continue to be a divisive issue in local communities, especially among parents, and so school administrators, teachers, and staff need training in equity, racialization, and gender discrimination so that they can guide their communities effectively and ensure that all schools foster student wellbeing and success.