A note left urging female students at a Canadian high school to respect “male education”, and to stop wearing skin-baring clothes at school just because “it’s too hot outside” has sparked a sexism row.
The sign said: “When you wear little to no clothing and dress provocatively because it’s ‘too hot out’ or because you think it’s ‘attractive’ you are putting boys at risk of having a distracting working environment and saying ‘Your clothing is more important than their education.’
“Instead of dressing like a THOT, value the male education and dress conservatively.” THOT is slang for “That Ho Over There”, the sign read according to a picture obtained by a Canadian news site.
According to Canadian news site Global News, the note was reportedly written by two male students and hung in the hallway of Breton High School in Breton, Alberta.
It was reportedly a response to another sign, which had been posted in the girl’s bathroom a few hours before and captured on Snapchat.
The initial message accused Breton staff of body-shaming female students when sending them home for breaking the dress code, the Edmonton Journal reported.
“ When you interrupt a girl’s school day to force her to change clothes, or send her home because her shorts are too short or her bra straps are visible, you are telling her that making sure boys have a ‘distraction free’ learning environment is more important than her education” read the sign.
“Instead of shaming girls for their bodies, teach boys that girls are not sexual objects.”
Within a couple of hours, both notes had been taken down and a school-wide statement sent to parents.
The school division superintendent Brad Volkman said he is unsure what started the dispute, but explained that the question of whether or not short skirts and bare shoulders are too “distracting” for boys often comes up in the warmer months, as Breton High School does not have air conditioning.
“When we come to May or June, temperatures start to warm up and students challenge those rules a bit. There was not even a specific incident that started this — the girls are just getting frustrated and disagree with the dress code and wrote about it,” he told CNN.
Principal Lara Jollymore said the derogatory acronym used in the boys’ post would nonetheless be addressed that students were reminded to stay courteous when expressing their opinions.
The school’s dress code, which was developed with the school’s student government several years ago, specifies that cleavage, underwear, navels and bra straps must be covered up and that the straps need also be “three fingers wide,” the Edmonton Journal reported.
It also stipulates that students must dress appropriately to foster a “professional learning environment” before going on to explain that any students found to be breaching the dress code will be required to change their clothes or go home.