School and education are some of the more important cornerstones of society—they not only teach us theoretical subjects, but also give us the skills to navigate the world later on. Or at least, they should. Of course, no student is the same, we all have different strengths and goals, and ultimately, our aspirations determine what we take from our education. However, it’s likely we all agree that school shouldn’t be a place where a child’s confidence is stripped from them.

Perhaps one of the reason why society holds schools in such high regard (and also up to a certain standard) is because, more often than not, they help shape the person. Yet there are instances when school becomes the source of insecurity for the youth. That’s exactly the case with a 17-year-old high school senior who was sent home due to inappropriate attire.

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A 17-year-old high-schooler was sent home after a teacher deemed her clothes distracting

Image credits: Christopher Wilson

A student in Kamloops, British Columbia, was pulled from school and sent home because her teacher decided her clothes were inappropriate and might be distracting. But it wasn’t that there was anything wrong with the outfit itself—17-year-old Karis wore a white turtleneck underneath a black knee-length dress. Generally speaking, there wasn’t any excessive show of skin or anything like that, but the teen still had to go home in tears.

Her father took it to the internet to protest this decision with a video that went viral

Image credits: Christopher Wilson

“This is unacceptable. We shouldn’t treat our females like this. We shouldn’t be telling them they can’t dress a certain way. This is absurd,” said Christopher Wilson, the girl’s father. “After a short period of time, she was centered out by the teacher and was told the outfit she was wearing made or could make her or the teacher’s assistant, who was a male, feel uncomfortable.”

Wilson raised the question of whether people bothered by such attire should even be teachers

Image credits: Jamie Maclean

“If you’re a teacher and you’re distracted by clothing your students are wearing, then you are in the wrong profession,” said Wilson. “Maybe you should try something new.” The girl’s outfit allegedly reminded them of lingerie, mostly due to the lace that was on the dress, but the complaint about its inappropriateness raised a valid question about educators being uncomfortable in the presence of teens.

The school is now facing backlash from the community, with students organizing walkout protest

Image credits: Jamie Maclean

The school said it has rules against clothing that might hinder teaching and learning, but as Alex Dolson from Kamloops Sexual Assault Center pointed out, the girl wore a turtleneck under the dress, so it shouldn’t have been against any of the rules. The students of the school even staged a walkout to show support for Karis, protesting against the unfair punishment, holding signs saying “I am not my dress” and “My education is more important than what I wear.”

Some of the students protested by dressing in similar fashion

Image credits: Charmaine John

School District No. 73 stated it’s taking the matter seriously and is currently reviewing the incident. Wilson admitted the vice-principal and principal have handled the situation well, and the family even heard from the school district superintendent. According to the father, once asked about it, Karis wanted “to make sure this kind of thing doesn’t happen to the students that come after her.” Wilson added that if this situation would change something for at least one person, it would be worth it.

The outrage extended to different social media platforms, critizing the clothing censure

Image credits: cadburybunny

The incident sparked a discussion about what is appropriate behavior for both students and teachers. The punishment for this seemingly innocent outfit was met with outrage on social media, with people questioning why female outfits are still being judged so harshly in this day and age.

And here’s the video of Christopher Wilson addressing the issue

Image credits: The OverSeaNews

The incident earned dual response from people online