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

The slide area on Dog Creek Road continues to be very close to the road. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
PHOTOS: Slide debris continues to move toward Dog Creek Road

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is responsible for maintaining the area

Representatives from Williams Lake Minor Hockey Association appeared as a delegation at the city council meeting Tuesday, Oct. 20 asking for the no spectator policy to be rescinded. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Update: Williams Lake city council rescinds no-spectator policy for hockey

WLMHA, city staff and council will meet Thursday to iron out details

COVID-19 test tube. (Contributed)
test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
Interior Health launches online booking for COVID-19 tests

Testing is available to anyone with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms

B.C. Conservative Leader Trevor Bolin and Cariboo North candidate Kyle Townsend were practising proper physical distancing during a campaign stop in Quesnel on Saturday, Oct. 17. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Bolin first party leader to visit Quesnel

The B.C. Conservative Pary’s leader made the stop to support Kyle Townsend

A 34-year-old man was treated for a gunshot wound in Williams Lake Monday, Oct 19, 2020. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake man treated for gunshot wound after accidental shooting: RCMP

Police are reminding residents to ensure firearms are not loaded when handling them

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Volunteer registered nurse Stephanie Hamilton recieves a swab from a driver as she works at a Covid-19 testing site in the parking lot at Everett Memorial Stadium on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020 in Everett, Washington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
13 more COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

There are 624 cases in the region since the start of the pandemic

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of decades-old plane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bear kills llama on Vancouver Island, prompting concerns over livestock

Officers could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

Bernard Trest and his son Max, 10, are concerned about B.C.’s plan for students in the classroom. He was one of two fathers who filed a court application in August to prevent schools from reopening if stricter COVID-19 protections weren’t in place. That application was dismissed last week. (Contributed photo)
B.C. dad pledges to appeal quashed call for mandatory masks, distancing in schools

Bernard Trest and Gary Shuster challenged health, education ministries’ return-to-school plan

Most Read