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CanadaRosie DiManno: Toronto school board’s new dress code goes ‘onesie’ step too far

15:25  13 june  2019
15:25  13 june  2019 Source:   thestar.com

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Too - too sweet. And touché Serena Williams. Rebuked for wearing a sleek catsuit at Roland Garros Yet it had egg on its face too when, on Tuesday, Alize Cornet of France was assessed a code Tutu-you, Serena. Rosie DiManno is a columnist based in Toronto covering sports and current affairs.

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Rosie DiManno: Toronto school board’s new dress code goes ‘onesie’ step too far © Getty A group of teens walk outdoors.

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

Back in the primeval era — prime-evil, more like — girls weren’t allowed to wear trousers in high school.

Not at my downtown high school anyway. Not where I wanted to be either.

But, coming out of middle school, after having skipped a few years, the principal unilaterally decided I would not be permitted to attend the high school of my choice — Central Tech, for the design and drafting program. Too young, me, insisted the old fart principle. Too many boys at Central Tech.

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CERES (CBS13) — A Ceres High School student says a new prom dress code is unfairly targeting female students. The school district says it hasn’t heard of any student complaints and that individual schools can set their own dress codes . The district says she can appeal the policies with its child

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He imparted this declaration after calling me to the office, no parent present. The alternative, he said, was that I be held back to repeat Grade 8, despite off the scale marks. “My father will kill me!” I remember yowling.

So off I went, to Central Commerce — all girl-class, pointed towards secretarial careers — where my compulsory courses included bookkeeping, typing and penmanship. Not that those skills have been useless in my life. Typing 90 words per minute is a deadline asset for a reporter. And I still boast nice cursive writing, which isn’t even taught in many schools, considered obsolete in a tap-tap digital world. (In Ontario, no longer part of the mandatory curriculum.)

Anyway, about the pants. They were acceptable in elementary school. But verboten once girls proceeded up the schooling ladder. Unfeminine, I guess. We were being force-molded into proper young ladies, groomed to enter the ranks of the pink collar labour force.

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But how far is too far ? And do schools sometimes go too far in pushing back? Now, because of her daughter' s experience, Renfro says she catches herself paying attention at school events to dress code violations - earrings that might be too big, or a boy' s hair that is longer than shoulder length.

How about Toronto , derived from an Iroquois term meaning “where there are trees in the water”? Racism is a term too easily thrown around, draining and diluting it of meaning. Rosie DiManno usually appears Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

We had a math teacher who would scrunch up pieces of paper and drop them around the classroom before we got there, then lean down to pick them up and look up our skirts. The slier girls would seductively open their legs. Lots of tittering.

Fortunately my family moved to North York, which, while then a cultural wasteland, had looser dress rules under a then-borough school board. I recall the thrill, the wild abandon, of wearing blue jeans.

You’d think we’re beyond all that nonsense now, particularly the gender-tilted unfairness. Yet at the Vatican, as an example, stroppy men still measure hems on skirts — at the knee, at least — and female shoulders must be covered. As a child of God, I don’t think he/she would mind a few extra inches of my skin showing. But it’s considered disrespectful.

Pious Muslims and orthodox Jews are expected to cover their hair.

What is it that renders bits of women forbidden territory? Except the obvious — that it’s a patriarchal world.

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The first, a high school student in Barrie, met Brown at a bar. Drunk, by her own admission, while no alcohol had crossed I am not blaming this girl, if this incident occurred. I was 18 once too , more often stupid than prudent. Rosie DiManno usually appears Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

High school is a traumatizing experience for a lot of kids. Sexual orientation is but one of the characteristics Moreover, going down that road depletes the public school system , which already threatens to fracture Rosie DiManno usually appears Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

I offer my own school days for historical perspective. That was, what, four decades ago?

Yet as in so much of pinhead social correction, fixes — overcorrections — have veered to the equally absurd.

Students in Toronto can now go to school in their pyjamas and “onesies.”

Students in Toronto needn’t remove their baseball caps for the national anthem.

Students in Toronto may bare their midriffs, wear their hoodies up (so long as the face isn’t obscured), “plunging necklines,” visible straps and undergarments. But not undergarments as outer-garments, à la Madonna from her Jean-Paul Gauthier pointy corset Vogue-ing era. Which is so 15 minutes ago.

“Sizist” discrimination is a also no-no, though how that can be measured by wardrobe choice is puzzling.

As per the new Toronto District School Board dress code policy, recently approved and taking effect in September, students can pretty much wing it fashionwise, although the line is drawn at nipples. Can’t show those. And if, say, a male athlete wants to remove his top during phys-ed, that’s fine, provided girls are asked if they’d like to do so also.

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The regulations, insofar as any exist, are more of a social dynamic manifesto, dotting all the cultural I’s and gender-neutral T’s, which is entirely in keeping with the board’s progressive virtues, down to the loopy P’s and Q’s.

To wit, from the document: “Historically, school dress codes have been written and enforced in ways that disproportionately and negatively impact: female-identified students, racialized students, gender diverse, transgender and non-binary students, students with disabilities, socioeconomically marginalized students and Indigenous, First Nation, Métis and Inuit students.”

All arses covered here? And yes, do please cover your bottom, with “opaque” material. That is to say, not transparent.

The board reviewed and recalibrated its dress code after a handful of instances where students were sent home to change into more appropriate clothing hit the media. Consultations were held, focus group input gathered, draft policy posted, online public survey conducted. And voila.

Yet still they came up with a couple of boneheaded directives, specifically the jammies bullet and the no-doffing-required proviso.

“That one has caused tension,” admits TDSB executive superintendent Jim Spyropoulos. “That’s the one we’re grappling with.”

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A meeting of the Toronto Police Services Board was adjourned abruptly when Desmond Cole refused to leave So far , no problem. But Cole, by taking the police board meeting hostage, went well beyond activism and into the Rosie DiManno usually appears Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

You’d think they might have grappled it to the ground before released the reformulated code.

“There is a societal norm in our country to remove headgear during the national anthem,” continues Spyropoulos, whose remit is director of education, human rights and Indigenous matters. But he points to sports events where, despite crowds being asked to remove their hats, not all comply. (And as an aside, I don’t think national anthems should be sung/played at sports events, except for the Olympics and world championships where athletes are representing their countries.)

Students are “encouraged,” says Spyropoulos, to bare their heads during the anthem. But Lord forbid they should be compelled to do so. “The norms are primarily societal. Students might have different reasons for not wanting to. If they make that choice, then that’s their choice. It’s about honouring a student’s choice.”

No, it’s about disrespecting the anthem and what it represents. It should be about — beyond providing a decent education — turning out good citizens who can grasp the fact that in the real world, they won’t always get their callow way.

If students are banned from wearing “gang colours” and articles of apparel that, in the subjective opinion of a principal, promote “heteronormative” views, oppressive attitudes, vulgar or obscene images or language, drugs, alcohol, hate and pornography, then clearly education authorities are drawing judgmental lines in the sand. So it’s not about individual choices at all when those choices offend the board’s version of piety. And if they can command no “pasties,” they can damn well make students conform to the teensy observation of removing one’s baseball cap for the anthem.

As for the PJs, oy.

“What are pyjama pants these days?” counters Spyropoulos. “We don’t want students coming to school in their nightwear. But are drawstring sweat pants nightwear? I’ve seen students coming to school in Birkenstocks and pyjama bottoms for years. If they want to wear pyjama tops, we won’t say they can’t.’’

That’s taking grunge a flannel nightie too far. Ditto, for the Victoria’s Secret set, a teddy. Or Marks Work Warehouse boxers.

Days of yore were not better. They were lousy for girls made to feel like misfits and lousy for boys made to feel like sissies.

But sometimes it’s the adults in the room who are rebels without a cause.

Rosie DiManno is a columnist based in Toronto covering sports and current affairs. Follow her on Twitter: @rdimanno

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