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Student dress code debate rages after teen told to cover up at Etobicoke high school

Last Updated May 26, 2015 at 7:27 pm EST

The issue of student dress codes has sparked a furious online debate after a teenage girl was told to cover up after wearing a skirt and lacy crop top to her Etobicoke high school on Monday — the eve of her 18th birthday.

Alexi Halket, a student at the Etobicoke School for the Arts, refused to comply after being called into the vice principal’s office and ordered to put more clothing on. She was summoned to the office after a teacher complained that her top looked too much like a bra.

On Tuesday, hundreds of her fellow students showed their support by wearing crop tops and short shorts to class.

“It’s insane, when I came into school, everyone, boys, girls, transgender…all showed their support,” she said.

“The message is that everyone has the right to present themselves the way they want to.”

The school does have a dress code. Its website states:

“The school should be a great learning and working environment for all. So that we can all feel comfortable in our school/work environment, clothing must be respectful – it shouldn’t be too revealing or display inappropriate language. Students may be asked to change or cover up if their clothing is deemed inappropriate by the school administration.”

Alexi’s father, Craig, defended her defiance.

“I am protective father,” he said. “But Alexi is somebody who I’ve always had faith in to make the right decision.”

No students were disciplined on Tuesday. Instead the school held a lunch time assembly to discuss the dress code.

But Alexi said the school missed the point.

“Our whole point is there shouldn’t be a dress code and we should be able to wear whatever makes us feel comfortable,” she said.

The school’s principal said for now, the dress code will remain intact.

Below is some social media reaction to the story.