Isfeld student Jaylene Kuo is hoping to get the school district to come up with a more up-to-date dress code. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Isfeld student Jaylene Kuo is hoping to get the school district to come up with a more up-to-date dress code. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Island student lobbies school board for dress code consistency

Jaylene Kuo contacted school trustees after seeing dress guidelines at brother’s school

A Grade 12 student at Mark. R. Isfeld Secondary in Courtenay is questioning the board of education over inconsistent dress codes within the district.

For the last board meeting on Oct. 22, trustees received a letter from student Jaylene Kuo to follow up on an earlier message to the board she had sent them in June.

“We’ve been working with schools asking them to review their dress codes, working with their school communities,” superintendent Tom Demeo told the board at the meeting. “It’s something that we’ll continue to work on, and we’ll report back to the board.”

Kuo was prompted to look further into the issue after her brother, who attends Valley View Elementary, was given a general reminder to pay attention to the school dress code as the warm weather was approaching in the spring. She even put together a video on YouTube about the issue.

When Kuo looked through the code, she found it was targeted more toward girls than boys.

“I was shocked to see the number of rules that specifically targeted the way girls dress,” she wrote to the board, adding that almost every sentence seemed to be directed toward female students.

Kuo told the board she feels the code should be “respectful, modern and gender-neutral.”

As far as her own school, she wrote the dress code was vaguely written and left open to personal interpretation, which she described as unfair, biased and demeaning to all genders.

In general, she says many of the dress codes throughout Comox Valley schools refer to “distracting” clothing, meaning that it distracts other people. This, Kuo feels, comes with a couple of problems. For a female student pulled out of class because her clothing might be too distracting, it sends a message that she should be ashamed of herself and her body. For boys, it assumes they are not capable of controlling their thoughts and actions.

RELATED STORY: B.C. mom upset by dress code’s disproportionate targeting of girls

Kuo has requested the board adopt a policy along the lines of other districts such as Victoria or Chilliwack. She has found some examples of cases in other provinces or countries, including Oxford University. In one case, she came across a story about a five-year-old girl sent home for wearing a sundress, and she started wondering what kind of message this sends to young girls.

In part, this campaign started as a social justice class assignment for Kuo, and initially, she was thinking of tackling an issue on a broader scale but decided to focus on something close to home.

“This is something that I might actually be able to make a change in,” she says.

Already, Isfeld has simplified its policy, which has been pared down, Kuo says, to matters of safety or prohibiting any clothing that promotes alcohol and drug use.

“I’m really happy that Isfeld changed their dress code,” she adds.

READ MORE: Survey response to school catchment review already strong in Comox Valley district

Kuo is hoping the district will follow suit and come up with something that is fair for all students at all schools, ideally on a district-wide basis.

“I would like dress codes to be gender-neutral, be inclusive … positive,” she adds.



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Landis Carmichael is the Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as the Emergency Services Award winner. (Photo courtesy Landis Carmichael)
29-year-old firefighter has spent almost half his life with Langford department

Landis Carmichael is the 2021 recipient of the Emergency Services Award

Shannon Davis, manager at Sidney’s Star Cinema, holds up the largest available bag of popcorn available for sale at the theatre. It also also sells four smaller sizes in generating revenue following its closure last fall because of COVID-19. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney theatre fills bottom line with popcorn sales

Theatre applying to return to doing our household-only private rentals

Several BC Ferries sailings are cancelled Friday morning due to adverse weather. (Black Press Media File)
Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay ferry sailing cancelled due to high winds, sea state

Adverse weather causes cancellations across several BC Ferries routes

The construction zone remains for now at Clover Point, but plans for a new pedestrian zone and partially closed traffic loop were approved by Victoria councillors on Thursday. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Victoria council compromises with partial closure of Clover Point

Option preserves parking 14 spots facing ocean, creates more pedestrian space

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

A pharmacist prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way on Jan. 26. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
Canada approves use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

The country joins more than a dozen others in giving the shot the green light

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is preparing a rapid response team proposal for submission to the B.C. Ministry of Education. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district chosen as COVID-19 rapid response team

Team to consist of SD68 and Island Health staff, according to B.C. Ministry of Education

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Ella Donovan with mom Tina outside Fuller Lake Arena before heading onto the ice for practice. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Young Ladysmith skater watches and waits in battle against cancer

Ella Donovan’s tumour began a tumultuous time, but community support eased the burden

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Most Read