Toronto school board changes student dress code policy, starting this fall

WATCH ABOVE: For the first time in more than a decade, the TDSB has updated its dress code. This fall, students will be allowed to wear hats and clothing that shows shoulders, stomachs, and more. Matthew Bingley reports.

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is modernizing its student dress code, relaxing rules around wearing spaghetti straps, tube tops, crop tops, hats and more.

The board has released a report that outlines revisions to its policies surrounding wardrobe apparel that students can wear inside classrooms and on school property.

READ MORE: School principal’s use of the word ‘skanky’ leads to protest

The list of changes includes being able to wear tops that may expose shoulders, backs, stomachs, midriffs, necklines and cleavage. Bottoms may expose legs, thighs and hips.

These policy changes will come into effect by September 2019, the start of the next school year.

According to the report, the last time the student dress code was revised was nearly a decade ago, in August 2009.

WATCH (May 26, 2015): Toronto students hold #croptopday to protest school dress code

The report acknowledges that the school board’s student dress policy has “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, socio-economically marginalized students and Indigenous, First Nation, Métis and Inuit students. Focused, explicit, persistent and determined action is required to challenge and overcome this history.”

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It goes on to say that some of its objectives include recognizing “that students have both the right to express themselves and the shared responsibility to maintain respectful, safe and positive school climates” and also “that dress plays a fundamental role in how students build healthy relationships and explore self-identity.”

READ MORE: Lethbridge high school students plan protest after strict dress code is posted

However, students are not allowed to wear anything that promotes drugs, violence, hate or prejudice or clothing that threatens health and safety or puts the school at risk. Students are also not allowed to wear headwear that specifically obscures the face, although hats and other cultural headgear are now allowed. Students cannot wear underwear as the only layer of clothing.

As a grey area, students may seek permission to wear bathing suits for swimming activities, sports bras as outerwear, Halloween masks and sports helmets that obscure a face and more.

WATCH (Nov 2, 2015): Teen writes searing takedown of school’s dress code