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)

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

Tim Schewe
Drivesmart column: Parking permits for people with disabilities

These permits are issued to the person, not the vehicle owner or driver.

Dr. Bernhardt’s freshly planted strawberries. (Mary Lowther photo)
Mary Lowther column: Hoping for a bumper crop of strawberries

Because our new plot gets a lot of sun, maybe strawberries won’t become consumed by wood bugs

Sarah Simpson
Sarah Simpson Column: Newton’s first law of motion

I could have sworn I told them to help each other get unbuckled and to come inside.

Commercial property owners in Duncan will have an opportunity to beef up their security in 2021 with matching grants from the municipality. (File photo)
City of Duncan to help commercial properties increase security

Municipality to set up matching grant opportunities

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
Courtenay fossil hunter finds ancient turtle on local river

The specimen will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Most Read