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

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has suspended indoor dining at restaurants and pubs until at least April 19 in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. sets new COVID-19 daily record with 1,293 cases Thursday

New order allows workplace closures when infections found

The new 3,500 hectare conservancy in Tahltan territory is located next to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (BC Parks Photo)
New conservancy protects sacred Tahltan land near Mount Edziza Provincial Park

Project is a collaboration between Skeena Resources, conservation groups and the TCG

Mabel Todd, 83, of the Nak’azdli First Nation, leads a group of family members and advocates of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls as they walk along the so-called Highway of Tears in Moricetown, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Province, feds fund full cell service along ‘Highway of Tears’ following years of advocacy

A ‘critical milestone in helping prevent future tragedies’ after at least 10 Indigenous women murdered, missing along the route

Erin O’Toole, Conservative Party of Canada leader, answered questions during a Terrace District Chamber of Commerce event on April 6, 2021. (Screenshot/Terrace District Chamber of Commerce Facebook)
Erin O’Toole discusses Terrace issues during virtual event

Federal Conservative leader answered questions during a Terrace & District Chamber of Commerce event

Easter is on Sunday, April 4, 2021. How much do you know about Easter history and traditions? (Pixabay.com)
QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz about Easter and its traditions

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Most Read