Gatineau students protest ban on ripped jeans, leggings

Students at a Gatineau school are protesting over the right to wear ripped jeans and leggings.

Earlier this week, some girls were told to change after they showed up with jeans that had holes in them.

It isn't the first time we've heard this kind of story, when fashion runs contrary to what schools believe is appropriate.

But the girls, backed by some of the boys, say the policy seems sexist.

They were considered haute couture for Meghan Markle at last year's Invictus Games.

Ripped jeans that became a fashion sensation.

But at l’École secondaire Mont-Bleu in Gatineau, according to some of the students attending, they are a faux pas.

“They (school administration) actually said you have to go home,” says 17-year-old Melie Boisvert, “because you're not allowed to wear this at school and that shocked us a lot.”

And it's not just ripped jeans but leggings, too, the students say, that seem to run afoul of the school's policy.

“The direction says leggings are too tight and it's going to be a distraction for the boys,” says 13-year-old Maeven Climie, “but we don't think so.”

“The boys are not savage,” adds 14-year-old Odelie Boudreault, “they can control themselves.”

No one from La Commission Scolaire des Portages-de-l’Outaouais was available to talk to us. The school principal confirmed off camera there is a dress code in place and that earlier this week several girls were asked to change.

Now some students are sporting yellow squares in protest and promising to wear ripped jeans and leggings every Tuesday. And they're being backed by boys like 16-year-old Cédrik Coyle, “

“I really think sexism should stop,” says Coyle who says when he showed up this past Tuesday with ripped jeans, school administration didn’t say anything but asked his female friends to change.

Across the river, the Ottawa Carleton District School Board says its focus is on respectful dress that's accepting for everyone.

“Fashions change and what people consider acceptable in a place of learning or a workplace,” says OCDSB Associate Director Brett Reynolds, “and we don't want our policies to be so binding they don't change with times.”

At an Ottawa shopping centre, it’s evident times do change, as many shoppers, young and old, sport ripped jeans and leggings.

“I think everybody should be allowed to wear ripped jeans. It’s a swag we have,” says one young man.

“They should be allowed to express themselves,” says another, “That's why I believe.”

And that's what the Gatineau students believe and plan to fight for.  They've started a petition, collecting student and parent names that they will present to the principal.