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Student at centre of London, Ont., dress code protest cheered as dozens protest

Kate Dubinski, Postmedia Network

LONDON, Ont. — More than 100 teenagers sported tank tops and muscle shirts to protest a dress code at a London, Ont., high school they say sexualizes girls.

Laura Anderson, 17, the Grade 12 student who inspired the Wednesday morning protest, arrived to cheers at A.B. Lucas Secondary School.

She was sent home Monday after a vice principal deemed her tank top inappropriate.

"Our shoulders aren't something to be ashamed of," said Taylor Scott, 17.

"The dress code shouldn't lower our self esteem and make us ashamed of our bodies," added her friend Indira Nyamvumba, also 17.

Anderson said she was pleased with the show of support and that teenagers were standing in solidarity for a cause they believed in.

Boys, too, got in on the action.

Zac Paavola, 17, wore a muscle shirt.

"When I first saw the tank top (Anderson wore on Monday), I thought, 'how is that inappropriate?' It's a way of expressing ourselves."

Paavola said suggesting boys are distracted by tank tops or bra straps is disrespectful to men.

"We are not savages or brutes who see a girl and have to look down her shirt," he said. "We can handle ourselves."

Students said they were prepared to be sent home to change but didn't believe they would be.

A school board superintendent came to Lucas to make sure the day got off to a smooth start.

Supt. Sheila Powell said the principal was setting up student forums to discuss the dress code for next year.


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