Thames Valley District School Board unveils new student dress code

At Thames Valley District School Board’s schools, you won’t see the iconic Playboy logo on any student’s clothing.

The Board of Trustees has announced a new student dress code. Revised student dress guidelines underscore the School Board’s focus on personal expression, autonomy and non-discrimination.

The new dress code allows K-12 students to show shoulders, belly, cleavage, legs, thighs and buttocks. The guidelines only require students to cover their nipples, buttocks and groins with clothing made of opaque material.

In September 2022, the TVDSB Trustees voted unanimously to establish a new Board Dress Code Policy. The revised guidelines were developed by the Thames Valley Community and Student Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee and these expectations apply to every school within the board.

According to Mentorless, the updated dress code will allow students to exercise autonomy and affirm their ability to make choices that affect their bodies. These updated expectations are far less stringent than traditional school dress codes, which typically prohibit revealing attire such as shorts, skirts, tank tops and crop tops.

TVDSB schools will maintain standard rules regarding inappropriate messages on clothing, including prohibiting the use of symbols such as the Playboy logo.

“Student attire that can reasonably be construed to symbolize, suggest, display, promote, or incite drug or alcohol abuse, illegal or criminal activity; profanity; pornography; violence; promote racial, creed, or other identity-based hatred; or otherwise threaten Health and safety, is not consistent with ensuring a safe and inclusive learning environment for all students and is therefore not permitted,” the new guidelines state.

While decisions about dress code now rest largely with students and their families, it remains the responsibility of the Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher to ensure that students adhere to Board expectations. Guidelines posted on the TVDSB website include tips and advice for staff to implement when discussing the dress code policy with students.

All schools on the board are now required to adhere to the student dress code, unlike in previous years when individual schools were able to set their own dress code. The TVDSB believes that a board-wide dress code will ensure consistency across schools and protect and promote the human rights of students.

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