French school board apologizes for dress code enforcement blitz

Ottawa’s French Catholic school board is apologizing to students at an Orléans high school and their families after hundreds of students protested a dress code enforcement blitz.

Disgruntled students at École secondaire catholique Béatrice-Desloges took to the street Friday to protest the previous day’s enforcement blitz, in which mainly girls were called out into the hallway to see if their clothing conformed to the rules.

On Saturday, a letter from the school board’s director of education, Marc Bertrand, said all students must be treated with dignity and respect and the way staff enforced the dress code was “not acceptable.”

“The administration of the Conceil des écoles catholiques du Center-Est is sincerely sorry for this outcome and wishes to apologize to the students and families who have been disturbed by these events, “wrote Bertrand in the French-language letter sent to students’ parents.

According to the board, a preliminary investigation found some students, mostly girls, were called into the hallways and asked to bend their leg backwards at the knee to determine if their shorts complied with the dress code.

Bertrand said while many students felt degraded and humiliated, the board had not yet found evidence anyone had been asked to bend over – an allegation made by several students at Friday’s protest.

The board says follow-ups are underway with all of its schools.

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