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High school students in the Montreal region protest against a “sexist” dress code

High school students in the Montreal region protest against a “sexist” dress code


About fifty students in the Montreal region, the vast majority of them girls, were suspended Wednesday after their school judged that the shorts they were wearing were too short.

Several students staged a demonstration on Thursday to protest what they consider a “sexist” dress code that unfairly targets girls.

“She [a staff member] I said my knees attracted boys. I didn't understand why,” Isabelle Drouin, a student at Cur-Antoine-Labelle high school in Laval, Que., said Thursday. “She just said word for word: 'Your knees are attractive to boys; you need to go home.'”

A spokesperson for the school service center confirmed the suspensions to CTV News.

Several students say that as the temperature began to rise outside, they began receiving warnings about the length of their shorts.

“It’s a little humiliating, I would say, to be discriminated against by the shorts,” said Grade 11 student Talie Cloutier.

“She said, 'Your shorts leave room for the imagination.' I was wondering what adult would comment that on a child's body,” said another student.

Students at Cur-Antoine-Labelle high school in Laval are protesting against what they call a “sexist” dress code. (Kelly Greig/CTV News)

Cloutier insists on the fact that the measures affect almost exclusively female students.

“The shorts we wear as students cover our bodies respectably and do not reveal anything inappropriate,” she wrote in a letter to Information about Noovo.

The student said the school's ventilation system was poor and there was no air conditioning.

“Temperatures are therefore higher inside classrooms than outside,” she explained. “These temperatures do not create an environment conducive to education.”

“[It’s] It’s hard to concentrate when you’re trying to cool your body,” said Grade 11 student Romy Moise Ethier.

The school sends a notice to parents

According to the school's dress code, which has been communicated to parents, shorts should hit around or just above the knee. In an email sent to parents, the school explains: “The dress code was developed after consultation with the school community and the rules ensure a harmonious atmosphere at school.”

He added that even some school sports team shorts could constitute an offense if worn on a daily basis. The school also told parents that “if a student does not comply with the rules, they will be required to change clothes, if they have any with them, or they will be sent home to change.”

Many students say this is the first time they have seen this policy enforced. Cloutier organized the protest and said she had worn the same shorts for years, especially in hot weather.

“There is fire inside the classroom. The ventilation inside the school is bad because it is an old school,” she explained.

“Acknowledge and apologize to all women”

Students spoke to CTV News about being objectified and sexualized when they are removed from class.

“I just wish they would acknowledge and apologize to all the women they removed from class yesterday,” said Grade 11 student Veronica Lamas. “Then they would look at the girls like they were sexualizing us, objectifying us and saying, 'Yeah, well, your shorts are a little shorter, so come with me.'

Drouin said boys at the school were not treated the same.

“Nothing for the boys,” she said. “The boys would bring their shorts like that, and it was like, 'do you have to send us home too because our shorts are short?' and the teacher told me: “No, just for girls.”

The Laval School Service Center states that any comments made towards students will be examined.

“If there have been inappropriate comments, the school will remind staff that this should not be happening,” Yves Michel Volcy, general manager of the school service center, told CTV News.

Students are demanding a change to the dress code and an apology for what they consider a humiliating day at school.




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