Editor’s note: The following letter was written to education minister Zach Churchill.
My name is Keira Campbell and I am a Grade 10 student at École Beau-Port, which is part of the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial (CSAP). My school is located in Arichat, Isle Madame.
My school has implemented a dress code recently due to an incident last year involving myself. While doing activities with younger kids outside, I received a severe sunburn. I could not wear anything on my shoulders so I wore a bra that hooked around my neck and a tube top and sweat pants.
My parents were well aware of what I was wearing when I left for school that day and had no issues with my attire. During fourth period that day, my teacher kicked me out of class because I was making her uncomfortable. Administration kept me in the office for the last two hours of school and told me I could not dress that way again.
Yet, the code of conduct for schools in Nova Scotia does not refer to a dress code. This made me feel excluded and ashamed of myself based on my body type.
My parents were told I would get an apology, but instead my principal told me to think about dress code rules over the summer because we would be implementing one this year. My principal came to visit my class at the end of the school year last year. She asked the boys to step out of the room and asked us girls how we would feel if she wore the short shorts and shirts that we do?
The school has decided to move forward and implement a dress code that is sexist and demoralizes women. My principal called Grades 6 to 12 into our AV room and we had a discussion. She and the staff suggested rules for our dress code.
Not everyone agreed with the rules she implemented, yet no vote was taken. After everyone left, I tried talking to her privately about certain rules but she was not open to discussion.
Recently, I decided to put up sticky notes around my school bathroom to voice my opinion. Fifteen minutes later, they were taken down and destroyed.
I wish to bring this to your attention because they are body shaming young women based on their body type and are making us feel inferior. In addition, I would like to point out that there are no dress code rules for the boys.