These Viral Images Are Sparking a Debate About How Girls Dress at School

June 7th 2017

Thor Benson

Many middle and high schools have dress codes that prevent students from dressing too provocatively. However, one school in Breton, Alberta has become the focus of a lively debate after some pictures from the school went viral, according to Global News.

breton school

Some Breton High School students posted a note in the girls' bathroom criticizing the school's dress code and how it's enforced. "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," the note reads. "Instead of shaming girls for their bodies teach boys that girls are not sexual objects!!!"

Later in the day, the boys' bathroom featured a note responding to the girls' note. "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,'" the note read. "Instead of dressing like a THOT, value the male education and dress conservatively." THOT stands for "That Hoe Over There."

breton school

Breton High School has a policy that states bra straps should not be visible at any time, and girls' shorts cannot be very short. Girls can be sent home to change if they don't comply.

The images stirred up quite a controversy, and the school district's superintendent felt compelled to comment on the situation. He said the boys using the term "THOT" was "clearly out of order."

"It's never appropriate for anybody, male or female, to blame anybody else for making them make a poor choice in terms of treating someone else with disrespect ... we all as individuals have to be monitoring ourselves, and we cannot use anyone else as an excuse for our behavior," Wild Rose School Division Superintendent Brad Volkman told CNN. "Beyond that, the girls are making a very clear case of how they feel about the dress code and the boys, in all sincerity, are very clearly making their case and this is part of the discourse that happens in society."

Many Twitter users argued that the school should not expect girls to account for boys' behavior, which is common when dress codes are discussed.





The debate over these notes touches on the larger issue of girls and women being asked to act or dress certain ways to avoid distracting boys and men or being harassed by them, when really boys and men should be responsible for their own behavior. As we've explained before, a girl dressing a certain way should not mean she will be the target of unwanted sexual advances, and blaming how girls dress on how well boys focus at school is entirely unfair. Often times, this is just another example of blaming the victim.