NorKam secondary student Karis Wilson in the outfit that got her sent home from school on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. (Contributed to Kamloops This Week)

NorKam secondary student Karis Wilson in the outfit that got her sent home from school on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. (Contributed to Kamloops This Week)

B.C. teen in turtleneck, lace-edged dress sent home from school for ‘inappropriate’ outfit

NorKam secondary student Karis Wilson was told the lace on the garment made it look like a slip dress

  • Feb. 24, 2021 10:00 a.m.

–– Kamloops This Week

The dress code policy of School District 73 is being called into question after a Grade 12 student was sent home for wearing an outfit that included a lace-trimmed dress worn over top a long-sleeve turtleneck shirt.

NorKam secondary student Karis Wilson said she was called out of class by her teacher on Tuesday morning and sent to the principal’s office due to her outfit.

Karis said she was told by her English teacher, a woman, that her outfit was making her and a male student teacher uncomfortable. She was sent to the principal’s office and then offered the opportunity to go home and change and return, choosing to stay home for the day.

“I came back in and I was grabbing my things, almost in tears, and my friends were all asking me what happened,” Karis said.

Karis said she was in class for 20 minutes before the issue was brought to her attention.

The district’s dress code specifies a number of items of clothing that may not be worn by students, including clothes that promote the use of drugs or alcohol, that depict vulgar or sexual language or images, that discriminate against protected groups, that promote violence or violent groups or clothing that is “worn in a way that detracts from the teaching/learning process.”

Karis said it was never explained to her how her outfit detracted from the learning process, but was told the lace on the garment made it look like a slip dress.

“I wasn’t even aware of what a slip was, and that it was a type of lingerie, and that’s what it reminded her of,” Karis said.

“But it’s not my fault that I remind you of something sexual. You shouldn’t be thinking about me in that manner.”

Karis said she initially wore the dress as part of a photo shoot with her horses last summer.

Karis’ father, Chris Wilson — KTW’s digital sales manager — said he feels the policy gives teachers too much discretion.

“That, to me, just kind of gives them carte blanche on it and you run into this, where you have an old-school teacher who is offended by it,” he said.

Wilson said his daughter is the type to normally wear sweatpants and a hoodie and hasn’t pushed the boundaries of what is acceptable to wear at school.

“At the end of the day, there should be clear guidelines, just like at work,” he said.

Karis said she is speaking out so that no one else is called out over clothing that isn’t too revealing.

“I don’t want this to happen to anyone else, so I’m going to make a big deal out of it. If I can help anyone, I’d like to. I am kind of nervous to go back into class because I don’t know what it’s going to be like,” she said.

Karis believes teachers should use professional development time for sensitivity training.

“Older teachers, I get it. They were raised at a different time and they have different opinions, but if they are going to be a teacher, they have such a big influence on young people’s lives … I don’t think there should be teachers dragging you down, saying that what you’re wearing reminds them of something that is sexual to them,” she said.

KTW contacted School District 73 for comment and is awaiting a response.

Sean Brady, Kamloops This Week

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Education

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Hailey
Artist launches new business with help of 7S educator

Former school first client for Mystic Design owner Hailey Revolone, a Seven Summits alumna

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

Tala MacDonald, a 17-year-old student at Mount Sentinel Secondary who is also a volunteer firefighter, has won the $100,000 Loran Scholarship. Photo: Submitted
West Kootenay student wins $100K scholarship

Tala MacDonald is one of 30 Canadians to receive the Loran Scholarship

First-year Selkirk College student Terra-Mae Box is one of many talented writers who will read their work at the Black Bear Review’s annual (virtual) launch on April 22. Photo: Submitted
June Hills of Trail won a big jackpot of $5,083 playing Bingo on Friday night with the @RotaryCommunityOnlineBingo on Facebook. Photo: Submitted
Trail player wins big jackpot in Rotary Community Online Bingo

Cards for regular games go on sale every Sunday

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

Most Read