School lifts ban to hide scars

A Grade 9 student at Penticton Secondary School who was forced to wear sleeves to hide self-harm scars said the school lifted that ban on Monday.

The student signed a letter of assurance on Jan. 11 which included a requirement to "ensure that long-sleeved shirts are worn while at school" to cover her scars, in order to avoid an "unwelcome environment" for other students.

She said school officials pulled her aside on Monday to clear the air.

"They were like... 'we don't want to make you to feel like this, it was a misunderstanding,'" she said.  "I guess they realized they took the wrong approach and they lifted the rule, so now anyone can wear short sleeves.

"I never held a grudge against it, I just wanted to talk to them and rearrange the whole thing. I was scared to talk to them on my own, which is what helped when I got my friends involved."

The student spoke out to friends on Friday that she was forced to wear long sleeves, almost a month after signing the letter.

That led to a group of students creating a dress code petition, which about 300 people signed in less than 24 hours.

The student added the overwhelming support for the petition has continued into this week, and said she is amazed by the response she has received. 

"I'd rather me go through this than anyone else have to, because I can handle it and some people can't. So for me to be able to stand up for anyone who is going through the same thing, I honestly feel proud."

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