A district crackdown saw 20-30 students sent home for dress code violations in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador late last week. While both male and female students were asked to leave school, the vast majority of those punished were girls cited for wearing visible bra straps.
As Labrador City undergoes a slight heatwave (it reached a whopping 68-degrees fahrenheit on Friday), students at Menihek High School have — much to the chagrin of faculty — been dressing to accommodate the warmer weather. Many students arrived at school wearing tank tops and knee-baring dresses, which, according to the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District dress code, is explicitly against the rules.
A district spokesperson confirmed in a statement that several students had been sent home, saying, "I understand there were about approximately 20 students asked to change or return home, then back to school, for new clothing — this included male students."
(Other media outlets are reporting that the number of students asked to leave was closer to 30.)
Students (even the ones who were not sent home) are pushing back against the rules, however, and saying that the district dress requirements ("Shirts may be sleeveless but must have a thick strap that covers undergarments. Shirts should be high enough in the neck to cover the crease of the breast") are sexist towards women.
"We were actually given a presentation at the beginning of every school year, and they were telling us, 'Well, you can't wear certain types of shirts because they're afraid that male students will take it the wrong way,'" 12th grader Danielle Matias told reporters.
"A shoulder shouldn't make anyone uncomfortable, and if it does, you're the problem," said 16-year-old Maddie Pynn, adding that the school was wasting their time "teaching us how not to be distracting" instead of "teaching boys to have more respect towards women."
This isn't the only story like this to come out of Canada recently. A Quebecois teen is currently fighting her local school board after teachers attempted to punish her in front of her classmates for wearing shorts.