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.

Just Posted

Two ambulances and a medevac helicopter are on scene at Taylor River Flats rest area on Highway 4 due to a serious motor vehicle incident. (PHOTO COURTESY MAGGIE BROWN)
Highway 4 reopens after accident at Taylor River Flats

Multi-vehicle crash had closed highway to west coast

The Rollin Art Centre is holding children’s art camps this summer. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
ARTS AROUND: Celebrate art in the garden

Rollin Art Centre will host art event on Saturday, June 26

The King Edward Liquor Store sponsored the Alberni Golf Club’s event on June 13. From left to right are Ken Porteous (manager of the King Edward Liquor Store) and Alberni Golf Club Members Don MacGowan, John Robbins and Wayne Cheveldave. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
ALBERNI GOLF: Doug Cheetham records hole in one

Next Sunday is an open day with the best gross and the best net up for grabs

Francine Cunningham is an award-winning Indigenous writer, artist and educator. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Electric Mermaid online event hosts panel of Indigenous writers

Event takes place through Char’s Landing in Port Alberni

San Group owners Suki, left, and Kamal Sanghera with technical manager Richard Zeller at their facility in Port Alberni in Feb. 2021. The forestry company is looking at expanding its business into northwest B.C. by setting up a manufacturing unit in Terrace. (SUSAN QUINN/ Black Press file photo)
Forestry company San Group eyes Terrace for northwest B.C expansion

The company looks at Skeena Industrial Park to set up a sawmill manufacturing unit

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read