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Mother launches petition over new dress code at Montreal school

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A Montreal mother has started a petition against a new ban on skorts at her daughter's school.

The change to the dress code at LaurenHill Academy in the Saint Laurent borough was announced during the first week of classes.

"There was a general assembly advising all girl students, primarily, that the skirt will now become a seasonal attire," said mother Kristina Kovacevic.

The new rule for school uniforms forbids students from wearing skorts--skirts with shorts attached underneath--from October 31 to April 1.

The school's governing board, primarily made up of parents, approved the new dress code.

Kovacevic says the change was made "on the basis that they are fed up of controlling and monitoring and disciplining girls that are rolling up the skirts."

But a spokesperson for the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) has a different explanation.

"Especially in winter, where kids cannot wear skorts to school because it's too cold, they would show up with a change of clothing, there would be a lot of students coming in late to class, it was very disruptive," said Mike Cohen.

The EMSB says the new approach was a compromise, but not all students feel that way.

"Girls should be able to wear what they want when they want," one male student told CTV News.

Others say the change is a waste of money.

"It's already very expensive. $55 for one skirt is already a lot, and they're asking us now to buy additional pants," said a female student.

Kovacevic says the change sends the wrong message to young girls.

"If they want to be feminine and wear a skirt, I don't think a governing board or parents should have a say in it," she said.

It's a sentiment echoed by Kovacevic's 13-year-old daughter, who attends the school.

"The girls in the school want to express themselves, and they're confident in themselves, and that's amazing because, at this age, not everyone is confident in themselves," said Shelly Bensabath.

Kovacevic says she launched the petition against the change to show her support for young girls.

"If we're heading in this direction in order to please a governing board or frustrated parents, where do we draw the line? Where does it end? What happened to freedom of wearing what you want to wear, especially in a public school?"

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