OTTAWA — Students at St. Joseph Catholic High School in a suburban Ottawa neighbourhood are being told to keep their yoga pants at home unless they’re sufficiently covered up.
The rule isn’t new: The Ottawa Catholic School Board says the school is simply enforcing its existing dress code. Yoga pants are fine, the board says, as long as long shirts or sweaters cover up the revealing bottoms.
One disappointed parent, Kathie Cloutier, sent a letter to the school board and then posted her complaint on Facebook.
“Why is the emphasis not more on my daughter’s actual education rather than what pants she’s wearing?” Cloutier wrote. “Does our school system really have nothing better to do than come up with more reasons to make students rebel? It seems to me that schools seem to concentrate more on ‘appearances’ rather than what they are actually there for — to teach our children.
“Enough is enough already — please just worry about teaching my child rather than turning them off of attending school by imposing ridiculous bans such as this one. … As far as I’m concerned, if the schools keep pushing these ridiculous rules — all you will succeed in doing is pushing our children’s’ interest in school right out the door!”
School board spokeswoman Mardi de Kemp said the board will not respond to the complaint of one parent.
She said the Tuesday morning dress code reminder — broadcast during St. Joseph’s morning announcements — was intended as a reminder only, and isn’t indicative of any new, special strategy.
She said enforcement starts with asking the student if they have anything in their locker to cover up with, and could end with being sent home if they can’t find anything.
Ms. De Kemp said she had heard that a student petition might be circulated on Wednesday, but because she hadn’t seen it, she couldn’t confirm that early Wednesday afternoon.
Maia Crockett, 18, has been working at the American Apparel store at the Rideau Centre for the last three months, where winter leggings, shiny nylon tights and other options are big sellers.
“They’re really popular, especially because oversized tops are really in this season,” Ms. Crockett explains. “What a lot of people do is they pair any type of legging … with an oversized chiffon top and it just makes a really nice outfit.”
Yoga pants — or Lulus as they’re often called because of the popularity of the Lululemon Athletica brand — are especially popular with high school students, Ms. Crockett says. They’re form-fitting, so they fit well under winter clothes, and they’re quite comfortable.
But Ms. Crockett speculates that it’s also just the trend among young people right now.
“It’s just the fashion,” she says. “I don’t necessarily think it’s because they’re revealing. … I remember when I bought them, I generally just liked how they looked and how they were so comfortable.”