"If you’re a teacher and you’re distracted by clothing that your students are wearing, you are in the wrong profession, Karis WIlson's father said of the incident.
A 17-year-old high school student was all set to go to school for a day of learning. But this was cut short after a teacher called her out for the outfit she was wearing, sent her to the principal's office, and was later sent home in tears. The outfit in question? A knee-length dress worn over a full-sleeved turtle neck! She was told by her teacher that the other male teachers felt "awkward" about her outfit deemed "inappropriate." The incident was brought to light by the girl's father who took to Facebook to share the absurdity of the situation.
Karis Wilson is a student at NorKam Senior Secondary school in Kamloops, British Columbia. She was told by her teacher that her clothing reminded her "of a lingerie outfit." It was, in fact, a female teacher who pulled her out in front of the class. She even told her that the lace-trimmed outfit could "possibly make a male student teacher feel awkward and it could make feel awkward," reported Metro UK. Karis was escorted to the principal's office and her father, Chris Wilson, expressed his disbelief at the incident through a Facebook Live that went viral, but has since been taken down.
“Today, I’m frustrated, I’m hurt, I’m disappointed in the system. My beautiful daughter went to school today feeling excited, feeling good about herself, ready to learn,” he said, as per 7 News. “She sat down in class and after a short period of time, was centered out by the teacher, and was told the outfit she was wearing made or could make, her or the male teacher’s assistant feel uncomfortable.” When the school authority was confronted and asked how it was fair, they pointed out that the official dress code had a provision that stated clothing that was “distracting to teaching or learning” was not allowed.
It's _2021_ and we're STILL seeing girls being sent home for wearing distracting clothing.— CadburyBunny ESC (Emotional Support Canuck) (@cadburybunny) February 25, 2021
And the Distracting Clothing is ...
A TURTLENECK under a KNEE LENGTH DRESS!?!?
B.C. teen sent home from school over 'distracting' clothing https://t.co/CkDMEtkPeU via @YouTube
In response, the dad said, “If you’re a teacher and you’re distracted by clothing that your students are wearing, you are in the wrong profession,” and added, “Maybe you should try something new.” He even asked his daughter how she wanted to handle the situation to which she said, she did not want students coming after her to feel the way she was made to feel. "Please stand with Karis and me and make sure that those involved are held accountable and that this never happens again," Chris urged. And Karis’s classmates did stand-up for her and even staged a walkout in solidarity. They chanted "I'm with Karis" and even made a hashtag in support.
A spokesperson for the school district told local media an internal review would be conducted. Dr. Terry Sullivan, superintendent of schools, said in a statement, “School District 73 is aware of the incident regarding a grade 12 student and dress code at NorKam secondary on Feb. 23, 2021. We understand the parent is concerned about what happened to his daughter at school yesterday. We are also concerned about these allegations and are treating them seriously. The incident is currently under review. We will not comment on the incident specifically. Whenever a parent is concerned about their child at school we want to work with them for the best outcome for the student.”
This incident has raised many bigger questions: Who or what determines "inappropriate clothing"? How do such actions taken in schools add to the unhealthy norm of victim blaming? What message are we giving young folks through such steps?
Speaking to CBC, Chris said, "We could definitely learn some lessons from it," he said. "I know for a fact that they're taking this very seriously and it might be an opportunity to promote learning for the teachers as well." He continued, "There was a female who was singled out because what she's wearing could make someone in a position of power over her feel uncomfortable. And the more you think of it, the more you say it, the more you understand that this is absurd. It shouldn't happen." Chris added, "If there's a silver lining to this, [after feeling] that centered out and awkward, [it's to] have everyone stand up, stand beside you and say, no, this isn't OK, we're with you."
Cover Image Source: Facebook/(R)Bethanie Frank (L) Julee Boston