Student Starts Petition to Change Dress Code at High School

Story by Stephanie Young and L. J Burke

Many high school students may describe their school’s dress code as “outdated” and “sexist”. According to Cordelia MacDonald, a student at Simcoe Composite high school in Simcoe, Ontario, the dress code at her school is just that- outdated and sexist.

Photo by Cordelia MacDonald

After noticing that her school dress code seems to target specific body types, Cordelia decided to make a change.

“Getting dress coded is so humiliating and takes time out of a student’s education. It promotes rape culture because it teaches girls from a very young age that they need to protect themselves from the boys because “they can’t control themselves”. That also makes it seem like all males are going to be like that and promotes a bad stereotype for young boys,” says MacDonald.

So Cordelia decided to start a petition. The petition was luaunched three weeks ago with the goal of 500 signatures. So far, the petition has 243 signatures.

“Women and girls are not the problem, their clothes are not the problem. The problem is the adults who are sexualizing these women and girls,” one signer said.

“I used to see boys walk through the halls in muscle shirts, or on some occasions take their shirt off entirely. I never saw one of them get in trouble. But I came to school multiple times and was told to put on a sweater. In the middle of summer. If lesbians like myself can function with girls showing their shoulders, so can straight boys and men,” another signer said.

Cordelia believes that the education system is sexualizing prepubescent and young adults and that college students have a lot more freedom over what they wear.

“In high school, so many mainstream clothes are targeted and there is little we can wear. But in college that isn’t an issue. From ages one to 18 you are told to cover up…but when you’re an adult and are more likely to be more in touch with your sexuality, those rules go out the window. So, what is the deal with the education system wanting to sexualize prepubescent/young adults?” says MacDonald.

Cordelia started this petition in hopes that it will make change at her school.

“I might not be here when the dress code gets changed, but that doesn’t matter. I want the next generation of kids to not have to go through what my peers and I have had to go through,” says MacDonald.

You can find and read more about the petition here.