The Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) wants to update the dress code for schools in its jurisdiction so it allows students to expose their cleavage, abdomen and undergarments.
Draft Board Policy 6010: Student Dress cites the WRDSB’s commitment to “forstering inclusive environments” and anti-discrimination to justify the updated policy.
“Previously, student dress codes detrimentally impacted students who are female-identifying, Indigenous, Black, racialized, gender diverse, transgender and non-binary, and/or financially insecure, students with disabilities, and/or those experiencing other forms of marginalizations,” wrote the WRDSB.
The Code of Conduct for Students as of 2018 prohibited revealing clothing and exposed undergarments like bra straps.
“Skirts and shorts must be an appropriate length as determined by Administration,” the policy reads. “Bare and midriffs or halter tops or off-the-shoulder tops or muscle shirts are not allowed.”
“Undergarments (e.g. bra strap, thong, boxers) must not be visible,” it continued.
The latest draft policy hopes to overturn all of those restrictions and allow tops that “expose shoulders, abdomen, midriff, neck lines and/or cleavage.”
“Bottoms may expose legs, thighs and hips,” the draft policy states. “Straps and waistbands may be exposed.”
If adopted, the policy would specifically require that all clothing be worn “in such a way that all bottom layers cover groin and buttocks and top layers cover nipples, both with opague material.”
The WRDSB is not the first school to cite equity and discrimination to justify laxing their dress code policies.
In Oct. 2021, the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) also issued guidance to do away with restrictions on revealing clothing in its policy which critics claimed: “targeted female-identified students without considering non-binary views and identities.”
The Toronto District School Board also has a similar policy.
“It was the culmination of student trustees communicating and really amplifying the voice of students across the board, letting us know that our outdated policy and the way that it has the potential to be enforced at schools is problematic,” claimed HWDSB trustee Marie Felix Miller.
In comparison, schools with the York Region District School Board require cleavage to be “covered and not visible” as well as for the midriff and back to be “covered completely.” Similarly, the Thames Valley District School Board which encompasses London, Ontario also states that clothing with “bare backs, exposed midriffs, or that is too revealing is inappropriate.”