Bob Esliger, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ assistant superintendent, makes a presentation to the district education committee on school attire expectations on Feb. 6. (KARL YU/News Bulletin)

Nanaimo school district updates its student dress code guidelines

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools discusses new administrative procedure

Updated dress code guidelines for Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools will seek to educate rather than shame students.

The school district introduced its Student Dress Code Policy in 2001 which defined appropriate dress as free of references to objectionable material i.e. alcohol, illicit substances, gangs, discriminatory and racist ideologies, sex, swear words and violence. The new student attire expectation administrative procedure still adheres to that, but also seeks to educate without shaming and guide schools as they form their own dress codes and codes of conduct.

Bob Esliger, district assistant superintendent, told trustees at their Feb. 6 education committee meeting that the district sought something that didn’t marginalize any group based on race, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, religion, cultural observance, household income and body size or type.

“We wanted to permit students to make their own decisions about attire and that usually causes a gasp in educators, in people who work in schools because, ‘Wow, could you imagine if we left it to kids to come to school with whatever it is they wanted to wear?’ Well, we’re not opening that door,” said Esliger. “This is a joint prospect with parents … however, we do want to seize the moment as an educational moment if the student comes with something that doesn’t fit in with the school’s code of conduct.”

Esliger said there isn’t a “thou shalt not wear” list of certain items of clothing, but rather school codes of conduct. Under the procedure, intervention will be treated as a minor incident. Students will be involved in problem solving, creating plans that comply with expectations and will have opportunities to find respectful alternatives, states the guidelines.

“Teaching school attire expectations through the code of conduct have the effect of increasing personal and social responsibility and a positive school culture,” said Esliger. “We are an educational institution. We teach, so we don’t post a list of rules on the wall and wait for someone to break the rule and then [punish]. That’s what we’re trying to get away from. Let’s get ahead of this, be preventative and we’ll teach the expectation.”

Stephanie Higginson, trustee, expressed concern about use of the word decorum in the administrative procedure. There is always a difference of opinion and she wanted to ensure schools know what is meant by decorum.

“Last year there was an incident in a school, where a young female student came in dressed essentially as what a pop star was wearing in a [popular music video] and her teacher was uncomfortable. Another female teacher was told to talk to her and tell her it was totally inappropriate what she was wearing and asked her to cover up and so when students are receiving one message from pop culture and another message in school, I just want to make sure that we’re really careful on that line and creating a place where that can be addressed,” said Higginson.

The dress code guidelines are considered an administrative procedure and do not need to be adopted by the board.



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Mount Benson park users now have 100 more parking spaces

Regional District of Nanaimo opens new parking lot on Benson View Road

Nanaimo council grants development permit for 170 apartments near Long Lake

Concerns raised over traffic around Rutherford Road

Man to be sentenced for sexual abuse of young girl in Nanaimo

Stephen Mark Castleden also sentenced for child pornography-related charges

RCMP investigating suspicious fire at Nanaimo apartment building

Early morning fire ignited under balcony at building on Glen Eagle Crescent

House fire displaces family of five in Nanaimo

Dog and cat still unaccounted for following house fire on East Wellington Road on Monday

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Editorial: Make it out to the night market this summer

First Commercial Street Night Market of the summer is this Thursday, June 20

B.C. man faces deportation over father’s honour-killing conviction

Father lied to immigration, was later acquitted of charges in Jassi Sidhu’s murder

RCMP allows officers to grow beards

Members can now wear beards and goatees, as long as they’re neatly groomed

Girl, 10, poisoned by carbon monoxide at B.C. campsite could soon return home

Lucille Beaurain died and daughter Micaela Walton, 10, was rushed to B.C. Children’s Hospital on May 18

30 years later: B.C. woman uses sidewalk chalk to reclaim site of her sexual assault

Vancouver woman didn’t think her powerful story, written in chalk, would ignite such support

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Bike and hike elsewhere

Letter writer disappointed in Nanaimo council for even considering discussing military range access

B.C. farmers concerned Agricultural Land Reserve changes choking their livelihood

Dozens voice concerns at special meeting hosted on Vancouver Island

Slain friend motivates rookie football player to make it with hometown B.C. Lions

Jaylen Sandhu, stabbed to death in 2014, a source of inspiration for promising RB Jamel Lyles

Most Read