Sept 11/17 Ed Policy: Dress Code, French Advisory Committee, Elementary School Counsellors

Vic High

Vic High

Lined Paper is  my personal record of and commentary on SD61 Board and  Standing Committee meetings. Official, approved  minutes are on the SD61 website, one  month after the meeting.

SD61 Greater Victoria School District includes students in Esquimalt, Oak Bay, Victoria, View Royal, parts of Saanich and the Highlands, and the Traditional Territories of the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations.

District Strategic Plan here.

Sticky post: Motions and Trustee Voting Records  January 2012 – June 2017.  Motions may be shortened but retain essential information.

October 17/16, Whiteaker: That the Board amend Bylaw 9130 Standing Committees to remove the words “with voting rights” from Item #4 and Item #5. / Carried. Unanimous.  This had the effect of allowing only members of the Standing Committee to vote on motions, though other Trustees, if they attend,  can participate in  the debate. The Chair of the Board  ex officio member both Committees, with voting rights. Quorum is a majority of Trustee members on the committee.

Education Policy and Directions Standing  Committee September 11 /17
Chair: Whiteaker
Members: Ferris, Nohr, Orcherton , Whiteaker;  Loring-Kuhanga ex officio (vote but not counted for quorum)
Present:  McNally, Nohr, Orcherton, Paynter, Watters, Whiteaker
Absent:  Ferris, Leonard, Loring-Kuhanga

Territory Acknowledgement900


Dialogue with the Public is welcome during Standing Committee Meetings

1. Approval [Adoption] of Agenda Adopted.
2. Approval of Ed Policy & Directions Minutes:  
Lined Paper link here.  Minutes of June 5 /17 approved with corrections: Page 5 motion “deferred” should be “Motion postponed to definite time” as per RRO 11th Ed, p 179. [ 100.00 In all meetings of the Board of Trustees, procedures shall be governed by Robert’s Rules of Order, except where provisions of the bylaws of the Board or the Schools Act may conflict, in which case the latter shall prevail.]
3. Business Arising From the Minutes: None
4. Presentations to the Committee:None

5. New Business
A. Student Representative:
Superintendent introduces Meghan Scott,  Esquimalt Secondary
Esquimalt Secondary (absent)
B. Dress Code: Associate Superintendent Deb Whitten, lead:  P 6 agenda (Interesting discussion at June 20 / 16 meeting), coming out of One Learning Community Ad Hoc Committee and Trustee Watters’ work with  the District Gender and Sexuality Alliance and updates to the District’s  related policy.

The One Learning Community Committee created a sub-committee tasked with
preparing a recommendation regarding the district’s expectation and guiding principles for dress .The sub-committee believes the following

recommendation aligns with the District values identified in the Strategic Plan.

Recommended (P 6 agenda): School Codes of Conduct will include the following statement:1.Our school is committed to creating a learning community that values diversity and is free of all forms of discrimination. In line with the BC Human Rights Code which prohibits discrimination on the basis of an individual’s: race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religion, marital status, physical or mental disability, sex,sexual orientation, gender identity or expression and age,<insert school name> promotes a climate of understanding and mutual respect where all are equal in dignity and rights. Actions through verbal or nonverbal communication(including clothing) must demonstrate support for the BC Human Rights Code. And 2.The School Code of Conduct will not include any other statements regarding expectations of dress.

Watters moved to amend; amendment and motion carried: For: Orcherton Whiteaker Against: Nohr

The Board of SD61 (Greater Victoria) accepts the following recommendation:
The School Code of Conduct will not include any other statements regarding expectations of dress, except for the following: Our school is committed to creating a learning community that values diversity and is free of all forms of discrimination. In line with the BC Human Rights Code which prohibits discrimination on the basis of an individual’s: race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religion, marital status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression and age, <insert school name> promotes a climate of understanding and mutual respect where all are equal in dignity and rights. Actions through verbal or nonverbal communication (including clothing) must demonstrate support for the BC Human Rights Code.

  • Paynter: For consideration, Oregon Dress Code. Has basic requirements for dress.
  • Nohr: Recently has been concern at UVic gym re gluteal folds showing with some women’s shorts. A health issue. Concerned with scanty dress in schools on the part of some students.
  • Whitten: Opportunity for a conversation with the individual in private, based on respect and dignity.
  • Watters: Each family has its own culture and hopefully decisions will be made in the home as a team. A learning curve for young people going out into the world to present themselves well.
  • Orcherton: Thanks to Nohr for her points. This are happening quickly in the diversity area. The will be instances where someone is not dressing appropriately. If the recommendation is all there is, it takes away authority. We are preparing students for life in the workplace and inappropriate dress will not be tolerated. Respect is something we teach. First impressions powerful. May be  leaving it wide open; need some guidelines. Not just students, adults in schools need guidelines too. Can see problems, like the UVic concern with gluteal folds, otherwise known as the “butt crack”.
  • McNally: Gluteal folds are not a health issue. This is women’s body shaming disguised as a health issue. And allow me to demonstrate where a “butt crack” [“The intergluteal cleft, also known medically by various synonyms and colloquially as the “butt crack”  … is the groove between the buttocks…” (Wikipedia)]   is and where a gluteal fold is. [Does, fully clothed.]  Dress codes are aimed at women, based on very old ideas (enshrined in some religions – thinking snakes, apples, women who want knowledge,  fig leaves, clothing…) of women as virtuous, and the custodians of men’s behaviour which is fundamentally debased. Dress codes (“modesty”) bring those old ideas forward, putting women “in charge”  and responsible for men’s behaviour (though not in charge of much that counts). Dress codes  demean boys and men by characterizing them as incapable of focus on anything but a woman’s body and that they need to be protected by more or less shrouding that temptation. Men are socialized from an early age to be “manly” and to react  – as one Facebook commentator  put it – as “mindless horndogs”. It’s a great disrespect and demeaning  to male / male identifying students to think they can’t stay with the physics text if a woman / person identifying as a woman  walks by. Dress codes disrespect  sexes and genders. In Victorian times the sight of a female  ankle was thought to drive men mad with sexual desire. Now we laugh at that. Living for the day when the spaghetti strap type of issues and dress codes are laughable as well.
  • Paynter: Back to the Oregon code. Some parts have to be covered. And Human Rights doesn’t cover swearing expressions, references to drugs or alcohol. Yes has to be conversation between parents and kids.
  • Male appearing person  in public seats: Confused about body shaming.  School should be providing excellent learning opportunities.  If ankles are distracting we need to talk about that. This proposed lack of dress code is not in the best interest of the safety of my daughters. Think about what these things will do to families.Talking about people showing up naked at school – using our children as pawns in some political agenda. SD61 schools may not be a safe place for my children.

C. French Advisory- TOR (Pp 7-9 agenda): Simon Burgers

June 5, 2017: McNally:That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria):1. No longer require the establishment of an annual French Advisory Standing Committee; 2. Establish a French Advisory Committee on an ad hoc basis when considerations arise.


Recommended: That the Board of Education of School District No. 61 (Greater Victoria) establish a French Advisory Ad Hoc Committee to meet at least annually, or as required. / Carried. For: Nohr, Orcherton, Whiteaker.

  • Superintendent: Not an Ad Hoc Committee – Ad Hocs have a defined TOR that ends when the issue has been dealt with and reported on.
  • Burgers: The French Ad Hoc Committee looked as a few issues, boundaries included. Because of French Federal funding, need a place for stakeholders to have input into how the money is spent, and goal setting.
  • McNally: Suggestion s for changes to TOR: specify the Trustee member will be appointed by Board Chair, and change “Membership shall be renewed annually” to “Representative groups shall appoint a rep annually”.
  • Paynter: Why havng a conversation  about French programs only? Not a good use of scarce resources of the District.
  • Whiteaker:  Won’t be limited to funding.
  • Paynter: Make funding part of the mandate.
  • Turcotte, GVTA [and French Immersion teacher]: Funding comes from Ministry of Heritage in Ottawa to the School District.The Funding Guide recommends establishment of an Advisory Committee. What if the Committee members want to meet more  frequently? And some years up to now, hasn’t met at all.
  • Superintendent: TOR specifies at least twice a year. [It does;  the motion doesn’t.] Like Aboriginal targeted funding, concern on the part of the funder that funds used for targeted purpose. Yes, have same question re why Advisory Committees on some parts of the district’s programs and not others.
  • Burgers: So various stakeholder groups to provide feedback and look at models of service.

D. Elementary Counselling Services

Nohr:  That the Board request that the Superintendent provide a report on the elementary counselling services within our district for the November 2017 Education Policy and Directions meeting.

Revised motion: Superintendent provide report n and recommendations on counsellor support for elementary students and their families, by November Education Policy meeting. / Carried. For: Nohr, Orcherton, Whiteaker.

  • Superintendent: Very general motion. Please be more specific.
  • Nohr: 1:1000 students ratio. Students in need neglected and untenable working conditions for teachers. Learning compromised when emotional need not met. Equity issue – some families have benefits  and others cannot afford counsellors.Would like grid with student numbers per school and counsellor FTE, as well as some successful outcomes and some gaps  identified.
  • Watters: Want to now what the plan is to address this – agree there is a gap.
  • Orcherton: How to address the gap that exists.
  • David [public seats]: Would like action plan.
  • Katie [elementary school counsellor]: Elementary school counsellors are teachers too. An extra day at a school makes so much difference in being able to support teachers with what may be difficult for a classroom teacher ie discussions of sexual abuse prevention curriculum, other issues.Elementary school counsellors are often parents’ first contact with mental health and family support.
  • McNally:  Taught  for 22 years in SD61, and appreciated counsellors; saw the need for more service. Motion seems to be working toward putting more funding into counselling, and its needed, but money has to come from one area, so where will it be taken from to increase counsellors? Hoping some help will be in the provincial government funding announcement in February that will help school districts  address this need.
  • Superintendent: Need to re-examine what we ask elementary counsellor to do,  and the amount of paperwork, but a conversation for another time. [Possibly linked to a variety of discussions  about changing the funding formula for student with designations?  For example: Inclusive Education funding is allocated to school authorities through a formula that aims to ensure an equitable distribution of funding. Funding is not determined through coding. School authorities distribute the funding they receive based on the needs of students within their school communities. This model would cut down on paperwork and case management.] We also have YFCs  and partners in health – need to enhance participation there – child’s troubles in school often due to family breakdown, so need broader systems approach,comprehensive model.
  • David [public seats] : Has District considered working with Social Workers seconded to schools to address family breakdown?
  • Superintendent: Yes, but MCF struggles for resources and has been chronically  underfunded.
  • Nohr: Would like school population and FTE of counsellors and YFCs. Just a spreadsheet.
  • Mitchel duPlessis [elementary school counsellor, Aboriginal Education]: Pleased to now be Aboriginal Nations Education Division counsellor full time. Attention not to the child only but to the whole community.About prevention.

E. Vancouver Island School Trustees Association

  • Watters: SD61 Board has invited VISTA to gather here for March meeting. As member of VISTA Executive, part of planning for event. VISTA plans Friday might; SD61 Board does the rest. Minister of Education Fleming will be featured on  Friday night.Some ideas for workshops / sessions.
  • Superintendent: Approaching First Nations for territory  and  welcome. Student introduction of Minister. Student band, student art walk. Hotel booking research underway.
  • Orcherton: Counsellors are an issue across Districts. How to send in ideas for topics? [To Watters who will collate.]
  • Whiteaker: Invite parent group rep.
  • McNally: what opportunities for real student participation , not just food service and entertainment?
  • Scott: Yes wondered also about that.
  • Superintendent: That is built in, will be opportunities throughout. Student Rep please take back to students.

F. BCSTA Provincial Council re- Early Childhood Education: Whiteaker

  • McNally: What are pros and cons of taking motion forward to Provincial Council  vs spring AGM? [Discussion]
  • Watters: Will put this on next VISTA agenda [Sept 30.

6. Notice of Motions: None

7. General Announcements: Paynter: Send in thoughts on 3 BCPSEA questions re collective bargaining sent out to you. Have heard from McNally.

8. Adjournment: 8:45 pm

About Diane McNally