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?
As a vice principal of R.H King Academy (a uniform school) I spent endless hours disciplining students for “uniform infractions” instead of leading instruction or other admin duties.
It did not make sense to me that (according to the policy) students were consequenced after a certain amount of infractions. These included but not limited to:
- Wrong colour shoes
- Wrong colour socks
- Untucked shirt
- The list went on!
After the bankruptcy of a supplier, I took it as an opportunity really rationalize the archaic policy.
We developed a process, formed a committee of parents, teachers, support staff and student class rep. We then tasked each member to seek input from peers.
When that was done, we developed a consensus based on the community standards and expectations.
This policy was shared and again input requested.
A fashion show was done and an assembly was done to share the new policy. The number of “uniform infractions” went down to almost nothing and kids, teachers and admin can go back to the business of teaching and learning.
When I was principal of Albert Campbell C.I., it also had a policy where STUDENTS MUST WEAR ID TAG around their necks.
Again, a teacher can not walk down the hall without once saying “where is your ID tag”.
Again, this was creating a negative first contact with students.
I revised this policy with staff, students and parents. Review the intention and purpose and evaluated the impact. With consultation, this policy was changed to a much less intrusive yet maintain the goal, which was for a safer school.
Students were educated about the need to carry ID to ID potential unwanted visitors while make ID an integral part of school functions, such as library card, TTC card etc.
Respecting students will maintain safety.
As Trustee, and recognizing the diversity of each Ward, a TDSB policy need to include a clear process of consultation with parents, students and teachers, indeed all stakeholders. This includes understanding of human rights code and other relevant laws.
This policy also needs to be reviewed annually at school council so it reflect the needs of the community.
As an administrator for 15 years, it is my practice and belief that TOGETHER, we make better decisions.