B.C. high school girls go braless to protest dress code

A group of Princeton, B.C. students went braless in protest after being directed to cover up bra straps

A group of students went braless at Princeton Secondary School Thursday to protest what they say is unfair enforcement of rules about dress.

They also put up posters with slogans including “My body is not a distraction” and “Yes, I have breasts.”

According to the protesters, who ranged in age from 13 to 18, girls have been disciplined for their attire, including for showing a bra strap.

Ashlin White, a Grade 12 student said being braless “feels great and very free.”

The protest was because “we are all sick of getting dress-coded…a bra strap should not be sexualized,” said White.

Another student reported staff are telling girls that their fashion choices “are a distraction.”

If male students get distracted “that’s not our fault and not our problem,” she added.

One of the protest organizers said the girls’ intent is not to “bash the school” but rather to “bring awareness to the fact that a bra strap is not sexual.”

She said while staff disapproved of the posters the administration has otherwise been understanding. A lunchtime meeting was organized by PSS vice-principal Crystal Larsen.

“I am a firm believer in student voice,” said Larsen following the meeting. “I’m really glad that the girls want us to look at the dress code so there is a consistent set of rules that we are following.”

Princeton Secondary School has no formal or written dress policy, although the administration announced plans in May 2017 to develop one for this school year.

Related: High school tackles touchy subject of dress code

The lack of clear expectations has resulted in individual teachers making their own decisions about what is or is not appropriate.

“The bra strap, that’s the one that the students feel strongest about,” she said.

A milder issue related to dress code is hats, said Larsen. Students in Grades 8 and 9 cannot wear hats in class, while older students are allowed.

“This is grey and black and white is better…In fairness it probably is about time that we create a modern and realistic dress code.”

Currently staff can ask a student to not wear a particular outfit in the future, ask the student to cover up, and for repeated issues can send a student home to change.

“It’s usually the third time that we ask them to go home but usually they can find something else to wear.”

And it’s not all about bra straps, said Larsen. “I believe in individual expression but I don’t want to see anyone’s butt cheeks.”

While dozens of girls took part in Thursday’s protest, not everyone felt they could support it.

“Yes of course I am wearing a bra. I always do,” said Karly Shapele.

Students should dress “respectfully for school,” she said.

“I’ve seen some pretty revealing clothes,” said Shapele, like too-short skirts and shorts. “When I can see someone’s butt cheeks that makes me uncomfortable.

Seventeen-year-old Caleb Mannhofer said seeing a bra strap “isn’t a big deal…As a guy I do not get aroused by a shoulder.”

Dale Furgason said he is not really concerned with how girls at Princeton Secondary School are dressed.

“As long as you are not showing too much of your body, I don’t care.”

Larsen said she will meet with concerned students again next week, and has already asked them for their thoughts on proper dress code wording.

“We need to create a policy. I think that’s what we are going to get and I think that is exciting.”

A policy will require not just student input, but also direction from teachers, parents and the school district, she said.

In the meantime, Larsen will meet with staff and try to find common ground to deal with issues that arise.

“I have to go to my staff and ask ‘how do we want to handle this as consistently as we can until we have a dress code created?’”

Larsen said she appreciates the students chose to protest in a respectful and peaceful manner.

“I want the kids to be heard. I want them to know that they are heard, that this is an important issue, but there’s lines that have to be drawn as to what is acceptable in a school.”

To report a typo, email:
publisher@similkameenspotlight.com
.



andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Chilliwack Terry Fox Run in the rain

Wet weather didn’t dampen spirits or enthusiasm for the annual cancer fundraiser

Chilliwack’s Belle Voci brings three-day a cappella festival to Fraser Valley

Singers will learn from two of Lower Mainland’s best music leaders at Belle Voci A Cappella Festival

Man charged with stealing Chief Dan George sculpture from Abbotsford school

Piece turned up in Mission pawn shop after Chilliwack artist noticed it missing this summer

New real-time location technology coming soon to Fraser Valley buses

Waiting riders will be able to see location of their bus using their phones

Seven Days in Chilliwack

A list of community events happening in Chilliwack from Sept. 16 to 22

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

B.C. wants to be part of global resolution in opioid company bankruptcy claim

Government says settlement must include Canadian claims for devastation created by overdose crisis

Guilty plea in Lower Mainland break-and-enter spree

Gordon Vincent Gladstone, 42, was charged with 12 counts relating to a dozen incidents in late 2018

Vancouver police officer hit with bear spray mid-arrest

Officer had been trying to arrest a woman wanted province-wide

B.C. ends ‘birth alerts’ in child welfare cases

‘Social service workers will no longer share information about expectant parents without consent’

U.S. student, killed in Bamfield bus crash, remembered as ‘kind, intelligent, talented’

John Geerdes, 18, was one of two UVic students killed in the crash on Friday night

Free Tesla 3 offered with purchase of Surrey townhome

Century Group’s offer for Viridian development runs through Oct. 31

B.C. communities urged to improve access for disabled people

One in four B.C. residents has disability, most want to work

Sikh millworker lodges human rights complaint against Interfor, again

Mander Sohal, fired from Delta’s Acorn Mill, alleges discrimination based on religion and disability

Most Read