Letter: School dress codes are rooted in misogyny


Re: KTW’s article of Feb. 24 regarding a NorKam student being sent out of class due to the outfit she was wearing (‘Is this outfit inappropriate for a Kamloops classroom?’)

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I can't believe it's been almost 20 years since I was in secondary school and teenage girls are still being singled out publicly by teachers for so-called inappropriate attire.

Every year, I read in the newspaper stories about a girl being singled out, shamed and embarrassed by someone who should be more concerned with teaching than a kid wearing a dress. Every year, someone from the school or the teachers’ association agrees this is not behaviour they stand behind and that they will investigate.

Well, it's been decades of investigating every year whenever one of these stories gets published (and for every one that does see print, countless other incidents don’t) and nothing has changed.

In fact, the only new development is teenagers are now much better at organizing in protest and articulating directly to adults that dress codes are rooted in misogyny, used to shame girls and disrupt their education and contribute to victim blaming.

I'm glad some members of Generation Z at NorKam secondary walked out of class in protest and are standing beside one another the way my generation did not. I hope they start naming and shaming teachers who are shaming them for — horrors — wearing a dress over a turtleneck.

Teachers need to do do better. In this day and age, with how much we've learned since I was a teenager, there should be no excuses. Teachers can be part of the solution or part of the problem. It’s their choice.

Seanna Brennan


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