BC school district revises dress code months after teenager was sent home for turtleneck dress combo

VANCOUVER – A school district in British Columbia where a teenage girl was sent home earlier this year for wearing a black dress over a white turtleneck has adopted a new dress code.

The dress code for the Kamloops-Thompson School District was already under review when Grade 12 student Karis Wilson was ordered to leave NorKam High School in February. This review has since been completed, and the district is implementing its new dress code for the 2021-22 school year.

“I am grateful for the efforts of all stakeholders involved,” Board chair Rhonda Kershaw said in a statement this week. “We recognize that a student’s clothing choice reflects their identity. This revised dress code gives students the freedom to dress as they see fit, in a safe and inclusive environment. “

The decision to send the teenager home sparked an uproar after her father Christopher Wilson spoke in a video on Facebook, calling the situation “absurd.”

The district refused to provide a copy of the dress code for CTV News at the time, but the father said it included a rule that prohibited students from wearing clothing “distracting for teaching or learning.”

“(She) was told that the outfit she was wearing made, or could make… the teacher’s assistant, who is male, feel uncomfortable,” he said. .

The Kamloops-Thompson School District dress code review began in December 2020 and included input from students, parents, teachers, the Indigenous Education Council, the Kamloops Sexual Assault Counseling Center and other groups.

The district said the updated code banned clothing that “violates the principles of safety and inclusion, including the promotion of hatred, illicit tobacco, drugs or alcohol, illegal activities, obscenity, profanity, pornography or obscene images “.

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