Because our daughters are being treated as though it is ok for men and boys to use them as sexual objects. They are being taught that they should change the way they dress but that men and boys do not have to change their way of thinking .
My daughter is a grade 8 student at Truro Junior High School . She was recently disciplined for wearing shorts to school . There is nothing in their dress code that says they are not allowed to wear shorts . Her shorts fall just about mid thigh. An acceptable length. She , along with many other girls , were in the vice principle's office because of the shorts they were wearing . 2 girls were actually driven home , one by the vice principal and the other by an educational assistant. Which , in my opinion is completely unacceptable. Some girls were made to change their clothes (if they happened to have pants with them) .
I went to the school Friday afternoon to speak with the principal and vice principal about the issue. I was told that their shorts are a distraction to the learning environment . That morning the students were told that their shorts are a distraction to male students and teachers . My daughter had sent me a text message telling me this .When I questioned this (to the vice principal ) she informed me that there was a "grey area" there and that perhaps the kids had misunderstood. Then she in turn contradicted herself and said that boys being boys they would be distracted by a girl's legs. This disgusted me. I said that perhaps instead of punishing our girls for wearing shorts and distracting the men and boys they should be teaching the men and boys not to disrespect our daughters. My daughter is not an object to be ogled . This is the worst possible thing that you can tell a teenage girl....you can't wear shorts because you're a distraction. As educators are they not supposed to boost self confidence and teach them right from wrong ??
To continue my situation...I informed the school that my daughter would continue to wear her shorts and that I was not buying her new shorts that suited their non existent "dress code". I was told that she (the VP) would contact the school board and the school advisory council and see what their opinion was on this situation and she would let me know the outcome of that call. I told her that regardless of what was said I would not force my daughter to wear pants to school. I chose to bring my daughter home with me for the rest of the day.
At approximately 3:00 I received a phone call from the VP . She informed me that my daughter was not allowed to wear her shorts to school . She also informed me that the disciplinary process had already begun ...my daughter was in her office (step 1) , I went in to talk to her (step 2) ...step 3 would be that if she chose to wear the shorts I would be called to come and get her and if I refused , she would spend the day in the office with the VP reflecting on her actions (which also meant missing a full day of classes) and if she continued to wear the shorts , she would be suspended. I questioned the fact that she would actually suspend a student for wearing shorts and her response was that she would be suspending her for defiance ...not wearing the shorts.
This all seems completely ridiculous to me. My daughter has never been in the principal's office for anything ! She is not a bad student , she is not a defiant person. The very first punishment she will ever recieve will be for wearing shorts to school .
Another child in my daughter's class , who was in the office at the same time , was told that she was not allowed to wear shorts because of scars on her legs. I should add that these scars are the result of a hard time in this child's life. She was at a point in her life where she used to self-harm ...the scars were the result of this. She was told that her scars were inappropriate for the learning environment and that other kids were distracted by them . This makes me sick. This poor girl is finally at a place in her young life where she has overcome the embarassment of these scars and she is comfortable and confident enough to show that she overcame this horrible time. This VP made her feel as though she should hide her scars. She chose to make a child who had suffered a mental illness feel as though she wasn't good enough . The consequences of that could have been devastating. Thankfully this child has parents who are willing to step up and support her.
We are parents who teach our daughters to be confident and have self respect...they are being punished for wearing shorts because it makes men and boys uncomfortable. What is this telling our daughters ? That it's ok for them to be treated as objects. That they are the ones who are wrong for wearing shorts. That they are the problem . Perhaps if these boys and men were taught to respect our girls we wouldn't have these issues.
I am in no way inferring that there are any teachers , male or female, in that school who would ever violate that trust and disrepect our children in any way ...but as a school administrator , she is in fact suggesting that it is an issue. This breaks a level of trust that our children have with their teachers and that we , as parents, have with the school system. I feel very strongly about this issue.
Monday morning my daughter , along with other girls , will be wearing shorts to school . They are going there knowing full well that they could possibly face suspension. I support my daughter and her friends and classmates. I will allow my daughter to wear her shorts and I will support her in this. I think that the message needs to be put out that girls are not there to be objects for males to use as sexual objects and that the discrimination against students who have suffered a mental illness needs to end now. Our daughters need to know that they are not in the wrong for wearing shorts ...that they do not deserve to be treated as objects because of the clothes they chose to wear.
Thank you for your time and please help our children by letting our communities know that our daughters (and sons) are being treated this way.
UPDATE : My daughter wore shorts today ...along with other girls. She was in the office and was called. I also contacted the school board. I was told that my daughter would be allowed to return to class today because there were a number of other girls that she had spoken to. But tomorrow she will face detention and then suspension. Other girls were sent home to change. The child with the scars on her legs was sent home for the rest of the day . If she is to wear shorts again they have to go to her knees so that no scars are visible. The school board supports the school 100%. They said that shorts are a distraction and are not appropriate for the learning environment. They said that the school has every right to send a student home. I will continue to fight this . Thank you for your support.
I just want to add ...the purpose of this petition is not to single out the boys and male teachers. We have never had a problem with any inappropriate attention from teachers or students. It was suggested that there was an issue with that happening . They were told that that was the reason they couldn't wear their shorts ...the VP actually makes it look like this is a problem , she is not only shaming the girls for the way they dress but she is making every male in that school look as though they all see our daughters in a sexual , objectified way. I am in no way accusing any male in that school of any wrong doing . Just wanted to clarify that. Thank you for your support!!!
UPDATE : My daughter and the other girl were in a lunch detention today . Different shorts but apparently they don't fit their standards. If I allow shorts tomorrow she will haven in school suspension. This is ridiculous.
- VP TJHS
Chignecto Central Regional School Board and Truro Junior High School
Debbie Buott-Matheson (CCRSB)
- minister of education
Change their stand on the dress code and re-evaluate the reasons that our daughters are being given for not being allowed to wear shorts.
julia Roberts started this petition with a single signature, and now has 7,515 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.