Hamilton Second School principal apologizes for dress code ‘conversation’

Just a week after Waterdown high school students staged a strike over their principal’s comments on the dress code, the principal of a second Hamilton school is apologizing for a similar blunder.

Dundas Central Elementary School principal Laura Bartkiw on Sunday sent a letter to parents apologizing for “a conversation about appropriate dress that treated male and female students differently, while alienating those with identities. non-binary “.

“We also apologize for suggesting that the way girls dress may be a factor in unwanted male attention,” the letter read. “We have caused harm. We are working to fix it and make sure it doesn’t happen again. “

It is not known exactly what happened during the Friday “conversation”.

The letter goes on to say that students “have the right to express themselves through clothing.” He acknowledges that dress codes have historically “unfairly targeted women and stifled the identity of Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA + communities.”

Last Tuesday, following a 200-person protest from Waterdown District High School students, the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board announced that its school trustees would bring forward a motion asking the board to review its guidelines on “appropriate dress”. This motion is expected to be presented to the board on Oct. 18 at a board meeting.

Students at Waterdown District High School wore pajamas to school last Wednesday to protest the school’s dress code. They are supported by Miranda Jurilj, public education coordinator at SACHA.Cathie Coward / The Hamilton Viewer

“Reviewing dated dress code guidelines, whether at the school or board level, is a useful task,” Bartkiw said in his letter. “This will involve new learning for the staff as well as for the students. “

At Waterdown, principal Theresa Sgambato apologized for her comments – which students say were broadcast via the public announcement system and reminded students not to wear crop tops or tank tops – on the same day where she did them, on October 7.

The high school was already shaken by news that police were investigating “historic” allegations of sexual assault related to the school. The students thought Sgambato was the blameworthy victim.


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