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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 it exists right now Policy P042 is discriminatory. While there are certain situations at school where dress codes are appropriate (i.e. in Phys Ed or Tech classes where clothing choices can have a direct impact on student safety and participation), placing other restrictions on what students can wear is unjust and often targets already vulnerable students based on race and gender.

We must trust that our young people have the self-awareness to wear what they want to wear and to express themselves through dress as they see fit.   

At the same time, it’s also important that teachers (and parents for that matter) stress media literacy aspects of the Ontario curriculum. Students must be encouraged to think critically when it comes to consumerism, image and identity. So many of us (adults included!) fall victim to marketing and often convince ourselves that what advertisers and celebrities tell us is “sexy” or “cool” is our own unique expression.

Policing student outfits is not the answer. Energy will be better spent finding more creative and effective approaches to teaching media literacy so that students have the tools to make informed choices for themselves.