The Kamloops-Thompson School District has a new dress code for students.
Revisions to the code were released Tuesday (July 6, 2021) following a stakeholder consultation process that began in December 2020, involving students, parents, teachers, support staff and counsellors.
The dress code, frequently a subject of controversy, hit the news again in February when NorKam student Karis Wilson was sent home for wearing a black lace-edged dress over a turtle neck. Her father Chris took to social media to complain about the school’s decision.
Board Chair Rhonda Kershaw said, “We recognize that a student’s choice of dress reflects their self-identity. This revised dress code provides students the freedom to dress in any way they choose, within a safe and inclusive framework.”
The dress code prohibits clothing that undermines the principles of safety and inclusivity, including the promotion of hatred, tobacco, illegal drugs or alcohol, illegal activity, obscenity, profanity, pornography or obscene images.
“Having students directly involved in the revision of this dress code was an important part of this work,” said assistant superintendent Bill Hamblett.
“It will also provide principals with the direction they need to ensure the school dress code is current and equitable across the district.”
The stakeholder group participating in the consultation included:
- District Student Advisory Council
- District Parent Advisory Council
- Aboriginal Education Council
- Kamloops Thompson Teachers’ Association
- Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3500
- Kamloops Thompson Principal and Vice Principal Association
- Kamloops Sexual Assault Counselling Centre
- School District SOGI Representative
- School District Diversity Student Representative
At its first meeting on April 14, 2021, the representatives were asked to share a draft of the current Administrative Procedure Dress Code with their constituents to get written feedback.
When it reconvened May 14, 2021, themes from the feedback were discussed, and a student group from South Kamloops Secondary made a presentation regarding a recent SKSS dress code process. Based on input from that meeting the dress code was revised, the district said.
The stakeholder group met again on June 16, 2021 to review updates to the revised dress code, and the revisions were reviewed by the Employee Policy Advisory Committee on June 29, 2021.