Fredericton High School students hold dress code protest

Fredericton High School students hold dress code protest

A group of high school students in Fredericton say the dress code at their school unfairly targets female students and protested outside the school Friday.

Led by members of the group Fredericton Youth Feminists, the students protested the dress code in the Anglophone School West District. The students say the code has led to female students being kicked out of class.

They also say the rules place the blame for sexual assault and harassment onto the victim.

“They refuse to come out and listen to us in the first place, so we have decided to bring the discussion to them,” said Fredericton High School student Sorcha Beirne.

The students walked out of class to protest, but the walkout became a lockout when the students were locked out of the school.

When the students tried to enter the school via another door, they were met by the school’s police officer.

Student Tia Hanson alleges the police officer behaved inappropriately.

“Then he starts like hitting people’s hands off the door and trying to pry them off. Nobody's really giving up, then he turns to me, pushes me right there (placing her palm on her chest), into a crowd of people,” said Hanson, who captured video of the incident.

Fredericton police say they are reviewing the incident and won’t comment until it has reviewed all the facts.

Hanson says the officer’s behaviour was especially inappropriate given the circumstances.

“It is completely unacceptable, in my opinion, for a protest on sexual harassment, for a middle-aged grown cop, to put his hands on a 16-year-old girl,” she said.

Earlier this week, the superintendent said he would meet with students to hear their concerns.

CBC News requested an interview with Fredericton High School’s principal after the protest, but he declined the request.

“No chance am I giving an interview to CBC. Not a chance. Not a chance,” he said.