Clothing choices were discussed this week with girls in Grade 6 and 7 at South Meridian Elementary school, triggering some upset (inset) among parents. (surreyschools.ca photo)

Two girls forced to cover up with jerseys at B.C. elementary school

Parents at the South Surrey school are questioning actions taken by staff, which included a ‘discussion’ about appropriate dress code

Two South Surrey students were made to cover up their outfits with jerseys this week – and were called with their female peers into a “discussion” about what’s OK to wear – after staff deemed their clothing inappropriate for an elementary school.

School district spokesman Doug Strachan confirmed the step was taken Tuesday at South Meridian Elementary, and involved students in Grade 6 or 7. He did not have details on the offending outfits, and did not know which event occurred first, the discussion or the demand to don jerseys.

Parents were not given advance notice of the discussion, and Grade 6 and 7 boys were not included, Strachan confirmed.

The jersey measure, he noted – described by one parent as a “scarlet letter” – was “a one-off, a temporary cover-up for clothing that was considered inappropriate.”

“It’s not an institutionalized approach,” Strachan said.

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

READ MORE: B.C. parents riled after son’s Halloween photos used in anti-SOGI speech

Peace Arch News learned Wednesday that some parents at the 16244 13 Ave. school were upset by the school’s steps.

“The issue is singling out the girls,” Derek Thornton told PAN by email.

“Also, the dress code, purely in my opinion, is quite vague. I’m sure it is left that way intentionally so that it is simply left to the discretion of the day. However, a ‘scarlet letter’ of a jersey is completely inappropriate and definitely crosses a line.”

Thornton said many parents voiced concerns and frustrations through comments on a private Facebook page. A screenshot of part of that online conversation – with commenters’ names obscured by Thornton for privacy reasons – shows comments including some questioning why the boys weren’t spoken to at the same time.

One describes the scenario that played out as “ridiculous.”

Another commented that “it irked me.”

“Just the girls,” commented another. “I get some clothes are not appropriate in the school… but a lecture about it… they also now single out the offender so she wears a jersey at school for first offence and 2nd gets sent home… this could have been handled so differently.”

Strachan said the discussion with the Grade 6 and 7 girls was simply about “appropriate dress,” and that the Grade 6 and 7 boys were not spoken to as a similar issue or trend has not been identified amongst them.

He said, generally, the genders are spoken to separately, “when it might allow the students to feel more comfortable to speak out.”

Contrary to reports, Strachan said the girls “were not told” in Tuesday’s discussion that their clothing was distracting the boys.

He said the school will be involving parents in discussions regarding dress-code guidelines, approaches and options.

“The school will be continuing the dialogue from this week about the dress code and related expectations and processes with parents,” he said.

The issue was also expected to be on the agenda of this evening’s (Nov. 29) parent advisory committee, after PAN press time.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo River Road ‘hotspot’ for theft from vehicles, says RCMP

Over dozen reports of theft in past month, say Nanaimo RCMP, many victims were headed to backcountry

Process begins to try to get Lantzville lookout trail authorized

Regional District of Nanaimo staff will report back to parks and trails committee

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Supportive housing plan unbalanced

Letter writer worries crime and social disorder will increase from Newcastle area to south end

Vancouver Island team takes on wacky challenges of world’s largest scavenger hunt

Greatest International Scavenger Hunt taking place Aug. 1-8

Drive-in movie screenings next week will benefit Nanaimo food bank

Fortis B.C. and Fresh Air Cinema holding fundraisers at Woodgrove Centre

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Missing teen visiting Courtenay found safe

She had last been seen going for a walk on Aug. 6

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Island Health warning of spike in overdoses in Nanaimo area

Substance users advised to visit overdose prevention site on Wesley Street in Nanaimo

Do-over vote has similar result, 280-unit development in Lantzville going to public hearing

Mayor’s motion to rescind Clark/Medd application’s second reading fails 3-2

B.C. wildfire crews have battled 111 blazes in the last seven days

Twenty-nine fires remain active, as of Friday (Aug 7)

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

Cowichan RCMP use spike belts to end car chase — man in custody

The driver was arrested at the scene a short distance from his vehicle

Most Read