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Rosie DiManno: Toronto school board’s new dress code goes ‘onesie’ step too far

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Back in the primeval era — prime-evil, more like — girls weren’t allowed to wear trousers in high school.

Not at my downtown high school anyway. Not where I wanted to be either.

But, coming out of middle school, after having skipped a few years, the principal unilaterally decided I would not be permitted to attend the high school of my choice — Central Tech, for the design and drafting program. Too young, me, insisted the old fart principle. Too many boys at Central Tech.

He imparted this declaration after calling me to the office, no parent present. The alternative, he said, was that I be held back to repeat Grade 8, despite off the scale marks. “My father will kill me!” I remember yowling.

So off I went, to Central Commerce — all girl-class, pointed towards secretarial careers — where my compulsory courses included bookkeeping, typing and penmanship. Not that those skills have been useless in my life. Typing 90 words per minute is a deadline asset for a reporter. And I still boast nice cursive writing, which isn’t even taught in many schools, considered obsolete in a tap-tap digital world. (In Ontario, no longer part of the mandatory curriculum.)

Anyway, about the pants. They were acceptable in elementary school. But verboten once girls proceeded up the schooling ladder. Unfeminine, I guess. We were being force-molded into proper young ladies, groomed to enter the ranks of the pink collar labour force.

We had a math teacher who would scrunch up pieces of paper and drop them around the classroom before we got there, then lean down to pick them up and look up our skirts. The slier girls would seductively open their legs. Lots of tittering.

Fortunately my family moved to North York, which, while then a cultural wasteland, had looser dress rules under a then-borough school board. I recall the thrill, the wild abandon, of........

© Toronto Star