When a new policy on dress codes is unveiled in the Thames Valley District school board later this year, the voices of students will be heard loud and clear for the first time, officials there say.
The new code is expected in December, and will be a clear plan across the board where dress codes in the past have varied from school to school.
“Student voice has to be at the crux of what we do. It has to inform our practice, because this is who we service,” said Rheba Moore-Nash, the board’s system principal of equity and inclusive education.
“When we roll out the guideline, you’ll see it is fully informed by student voice and the challenges that students have experienced because of existing policies,” she said.
Moore-Nash said the success the board experienced last year with input from a student equity advisory committee has encouraged it to continue with the practice permanently.
The board will put out a call Wednesday to high school students to volunteer to sit on the committee for its second year.
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The board is hoping for two students from each high school, Moore-Nash said.
“We’re opening up to all interested students in secondary schools so they can help inform policy and procedure,” she said.
The committee is made up of students who “reflect diverse identities, abilities and lived experience,” Moore-Nash said.
“We want to amplify their voice in hopes of identifying barriers for students in their learning, sense of belonging, participation and engagement and their overall well-being,” she said.
The student committee has been backed by school board trustees, Moore-Nash said.
Students also will be involved in policies for mental health and school curriculums in the future, she said.