The 17-year-old student was told that her turtleneck and knee-length dress were inappropriate for school.
A 17-year-old high school student was pulled out of class and sent home after the teacher complained the student's dress made her uncomfortable. Karis was wearing a knee-length black dress with lace trim over a full-sleeved white turtleneck and the teacher pulled her up because it reminded her of a lingerie outfit. The high school senior at NorKam Senior Secondary school in Kamloops, Canada, was taken to the principal's office before being asked to go home. The girl's father, Chris Wilson, has hit out at the school over the decision to send her home over her dress. "[Karis] was told that it could possibly make the male student teacher feel awkward and it could make [her female classroom teacher] feel awkward since it reminded her of a lingerie outfit," said Wilson, reported CBC News. "It's actually a very modest outfit when you actually look at it ... I think the initial comments were based on the fact that it had lace."
Wilson said his daughter was upset by the incident. "[We] kind of saw the aftermath of her coming home in tears and just really broken up, confused," said Wilson. "There was a woman who was singled out because what she's wearing could make someone in a position of power over her feel uncomfortable. And the more you think of it, the more you say it, the more you understand that this is absurd," said her father, before adding, "It shouldn't happen." He had shared the incident on Facebook with the permission of his daughter. Karis' classmates rallied around her and staged a walkout to show their solidarity against the school's decision. "If there's a silver lining to this, [after feeling] that centered out and awkward, [it's to] have everyone stand up, stand beside you and say, no, this isn't OK, we're with you," said Wilson. He also added that the vice-principal and principal have responded positively to the situation. "We could definitely learn some lessons from it. I know for a fact that they're taking this very seriously and it might be an opportunity to promote learning for the teachers as well," said Wilson.
Karis Wilson, a student in Kamloops, B.C., was sent home from school this week for violating the dress code rules, wearing the below outfit. Students at Karis' school staged a walk out in support of their peer. The school has not commented.— Breakfast Television (@breakfasttv) February 25, 2021
📸: Christopher Wilson pic.twitter.com/DyqnibsyaO
Alix Dolson, of the Kamloops Sexual Assault Counselling Centre, pointed fingers at the school for blaming students over their dresses. “It’s not up to the students to be responsible for how other people are feeling about their outfits. If folks are having a response to that, that’s on them to consider and reflect on,” said Alix Dolson. “If you’re having a response and sexual thoughts about an outfit like that? There’s some reflection – some critical reflection – needed on the part of those teachers.”
The dress code policy at NorKam Secondary school will be reviewed in the wake of the incident, confirmed Rhonda Kershaw, the school's Board Chair, reported Radio NL. “Part of the reason that it's done at a school level is so that students can take some ownership in it, and it looks different at every school. It also gives them the opportunity to talk amongst themselves about what do they have for expectations in their schools,” said Kershaw. “If it's a district top-down policy, it's harder for students to take ownership on it.”
If that outfit makes the male or women teachers uncomfortable maybe there is something wrong with the teacher.— Santina Colacino 🇨🇦 (@scolacino) February 25, 2021
Kershaw added that ringing in a district-wide dress code policy might not be practical. “Dress codes, in general, are something that is very problematic because they are often subjective by design. Of course, everyone’s frame of reference is different,” said Kershaw. “What might have been acceptable when you or I were in school, may or may not be acceptable now. It’s a difficult topic. I know that many schools struggle to land on that place for dress codes that allow student choice and student freedom, but still given the sense of respect in the building. That has changed so much over time.”