School says three-year-old’s dress is ‘inappropriate’
IT WAS a scorching hot day when three-year-old Lola Stonehouse's parents decided she would be best wearing a light, summery dress to brave the heat at preschool.
But Jamie and Sadie Stonehouse were left stunned when they were told that their daughter's dress was deemed "inappropriate" by school staff.
The toddler was being picked up by her daycare provider from the The Little Years Nursery School in Winnipeg, Canada when the parents were told - via a text from their daughter's carer - she would need to wear a T-shirt under the dress if she were to wear it again.
Her father, Jamie Stonehouse, told Canadian TV news network CTV that Lola needed to have two-inch wide straps on her dress in order for it to conform to the preschool's strict dress code.
"It's covering pretty much her whole shoulder and down a bit, so it's not even a summer dress at that point."
Shocked by what they were hearing, the parents said they didn't know how to break the news to Lola - as it is one of her favourite dresses.
"She's not going to understand. She's going to think that maybe she did something wrong, when she very much didn't," Sadie Stonehouse told CTV.
"So now she's going to be questioning her own body. And that's such a young age to even be thinking of something like that.
"Especially for toddlers. I don't think any girl should have to worry about how much shoulder she's exposing when she dresses to go to school or anywhere else. At any age."
"It's a child. Innocence is innocence and we're the only ones who can give it to them," added Mr Stonehouse.
In a statement to CTV, a spokesman for the Pembina Trails School Division - which decides the preschool's dress code - wrote:
"Pembina Trails' schools often share the same roof as day cares and nursery schools, as a convenience to our communities, but child care centres are run completely by separate organisations.
"In fact, schools in Manitoba are not permitted to operate day cares. Our division does not have a dress code policy. Instead, we believe in allowing our school leaders to use discretion and encourage best practices in a respectful way."