‘Instead of dressing like a THOT, value the male education’: Sign in Alberta school has girls up in arms
A rural school in Alberta is at the centre of a tussle about dress codes as students posted duelling signs about whether short skirts and bare shoulders are too “distracting” for teen boys.
Breton High School principal Lara Jollymore has spoken with each class in the Grade 7-12 school and sent an email to parents last week after a sign appeared in a girls’ washroom saying the staff shamed female students when they enforce the dress code.
“When you interrupt a girl’s school day to force her to change clothes, or send her home because her shorts are too short or her bra straps are visible, you are telling her that making sure boys have a ‘distraction free’ learning environment is more important than her education,” according to a picture of the sign obtained by Global News.
“Instead of shaming girls for their bodies teach boys that girls are not sexual objects!!!”
Wild Rose School Division superintendent Brad Volkman said staff removed the sign within 30 minutes.
Within hours, another sign popped up in the bathroom that said:
“When you wear little to no clothing and dress provocatively because it’s ‘too hot out’ or because you think it’s ‘attractive,’ you are putting boys at risk of having a distracting working environment and saying ‘Your clothing is more important than their education.’ Instead of dressing like a THOT, value the male education and dress conservatively.”
THOT is an acronym for “That Ho Over There.”
The second sign was also quickly removed, Volkman said.
Neither sign was written by staff, he said. The principal also told students that while debate on the dress code is welcome, students have to be respectful and that name-calling is inappropriate.
Volkman said he didn’t know what, if any, incidents prompted students to post the signs. The issue often comes up in schools during the warmer months, he said. Breton’s classrooms do not have air conditioning.
The school is about 100 km southwest of Edmonton and has 125 students.
The school’s dress code was written many years ago — Volkman didn’t know how many — in conjunction with the student council of the day. The code says navels, cleavage, underwear and bra straps must be covered up. Skirts and shorts must be longer than arm’s length, and the inseam of shorts must be at least one hand-length long. Pictures and words on clothes must be “appropriate for a professional learning environment,” and hats aren’t allowed in school. Shoulder straps need also be “three fingers wide.”
Parent Sheila Thebeau, who has both a son and a daughter in the high school, said she wishes students would follow the dress code. She doesn’t think students should be able to wear whatever they want.
“That’s not fair, because boys’ hormones are flaring up. It’s hard enough for them to behave themselves,” Thebeau said.
The student council and parent advisory council are likely to revisit the dress code, Volkman said.