OSHAWA, Ont. - Kilts will still be part of the dress code for girls at Catholic high schools in a district east of Toronto — at least for now.
A kilt controversy had been broiling at the Durham Region Catholic School Board as trustees considered taking steps to eliminate that part of the girls' uniforms.
Trustee Chris Leahy put forward a motion to discuss banning the kilts in response to complaints about rising hemlines on some students, but the board voted it down Monday night.
The chairman of the board of trustees says there is already a policy of appropriate dress in the schools and it is reviewable every three years.
Jim McCafferty says a trustee who wants to open the kilts issue for review could follow that process, which involves consultations with school councils, parents and students.
About 4,500 female students would be affected if the school district eliminated kilts in favour of pants.
But McCafferty said the students — teens in Grades 9 to 12 — know what the dress code is and the rules are made clear in their student handbooks.
"We realize that the girls do wear their kilts a little high, but they know what the proper length is and the principals and vice-principals in the high school police it," he said Tuesday.
"If they wear the kilt too high and the principal notices it, then the principal will point that out to the student and if it continues then the student will be sent home with a note to the parent and it goes from there."
"The parents and the students know what the proper length of the kilt is supposed to be, so if they hike it up then they suffer the consequences," he added.
Leahy said Tuesday he fully supports the board's decision.
"There is a possibility that we can look at adjusting this policy in the future at some time," added Leahy, who chairs the board's policy committee.
Leahy had said the kilts were getting shorter and shorter, as girls were rolling them down from the waist. School administrators were spending too much time enforcing the length of kilts when they could be focusing on education, he said.
McCafferty said any policy review process would take months, or even longer.
Other Catholic boards, including those in Toronto, Halton, Peterborough and Clarington, have taken measures to give schools the power to ban kilts.