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

Haida Gwaii doctor wins lifetime achievement award

Dr. Tracy Morton recognized by Rural Coordination Centre of BC

Haida hereditary leader attends first Prince Rupert totem pole raising in 30 years

Lead carver Lyle Campbell raised 40-foot memorial totem pole Aug. 11 in memory of his mother Alice

Province, feds, Wet’suwet’en announce progress in MOU talks

External community engagement process launched to help implement Wet’suwet’en rights and title

Haida GwaiIdol premiere may include special guest performance

Lineup includes musicians, dancer, comedian and more; One of the judges ‘may do a guest performance’

Rennell Sound road access to be closed over Labour Day weekend

Haida Gwaii Natural Resource District temporarily closing Rennell Road Aug. 31 to Sept. 7

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

Conservation seizes fawn illegally kept captive in Vancouver Island home

A Comox Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

Have you seen Berleen? B.C. pig destined for sanctuary goes missing

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

Health Canada says several kids hospitalized after eating edible pot products

People warned not to store cannabis products where children can find them

‘It’s not just about me’: McKenna cites need to protect politicians from threats

Police investigation was launched after someone yelled obscenities at a member of McKenna’s staff

Michigan plans dedicated road lanes for autonomous vehicles

First study of its kind in the U.S. to figure out whether existing lanes or shoulders could be used

Most Read