Graeme Decarie has shared a recent photo of himself. We also discuss the crop tops topic.

Graeme Decarie. Photo supplied by Graeme Decarie.

Graeme Decarie; photo supplied by Graeme Decarie.

I’m currently catching up on still photo and video projects, related to the MCHS 2015 Reunion. One of the projects concerns a recent photo of Graeme Decarie, and a photo from the MCHS 1962-63 yearbook that I had spoken about with Graeme some time ago. I will include the photo from the yearbook in a subsequent post.

Graeme Decarie comments regarding the recent photo:

“I’m not sure I know the story. I must have been the speaker at something because 1. I’m wearing a tag with my picture on it and 2. I’m wearing a suit. I wore a suit on only the most formal occasions when I really had to. The interior looks like a church. Now, I have often spoken in churches and synagogues (synagogues more often), and I did, when I was living in the country, sometimes conduct services in local churches. But none of that explains the tag with my picture on it. That usually means a very large audience. I my last year in Montreal, I was invited to speak to teacher’s convention as the social studies teacher of the year. That’s the only one I can think of that fits.

“High school teachers had to wear suits. But universities are much more casual – and you can do radio in the nude. (And I was once on TV with a man wearing no pants (sitting behind a desk.)) Anyway, I just got used to casual. I commonly taught in jeans and a sweater.”

[End of text]

Click on the photo to enlarge it. Click again to enlarge it further.

Crop tops topic: Dress code protests as political agency

Graeme’s story about what people wear reminds me of the recent political action by Canadian high school students objecting to objections by administrators to “crop tops,” as a May 26, 2015 Canadian Press article at the CBC website notes:

Etobicoke high school frets over student’s crop top: Students wear crop tops to school in dress code protest

A May 28, 2015 CBC article is entitled: “School dress code protests giving uniforms new life: #MyBodyMyBusiness, #CropTopDay, #StandingInSolidarity take dress code issue beyond school halls.”

Some days ago I noticed that many of the students walking to school at Richview Collegiate Institute in the morning were outfitted in crop tops. I didn’t think further about it until I got the inside scoop on how a “crop top” protest had been set up on Facebook.

I very much like the sense of political agency that is involved in this kind of protest. Demonstration of political agency is a worthy endeavour in a civil society, on the part of high school students or anybody else, in my personal opinion. I’ve discussed the concept of political agency at another post, on October 18, 2014, and with reference to another aspect of life in schools:

Aside from bullying, Marjorie H. Goodwin (2006) focuses on collaboration and political agency



1) Crop Top Day

A June 1, 2015 Globe and Mail article is entitled: “Taking on school dress codes: Teen rebels with a cause.”

The opening paragraphs read:

“We are currently in a moment of social action. Love it or hate it, young people – not just young women, but young men, too – are challenging their schools’ dress codes across the country. One recent example erupted at a Toronto high school, where Alexi Halket was sent to the office for wearing a crop top deemed ‘inappropriate.’ In response, Alexi organized ‘Crop Top Day: An Event Protesting the Sexualization of Women’s Bodies.’ The activist fire seems to be spreading from school to school. What does this mean for youthful politics in Canada? And what does this mean for feminism – long considered dead among younger generations, which are often labelled apathetic?

“The premise of the protests is that young women’s bodies and dress are being labelled ‘distracting’ to boys – a notion that contains underlying beliefs that are disturbing and dangerous. As ‘distractions,’ girls are held accountable for boys’ behaviour, an easy step away from blaming girls when boys sexually harass or even sexually assault them.

But is this fair to either girls or boys? Why should girls be held responsible for boys’ actions? And why should it be assumed that the boys are unable to control themselves? Young men should be angry about this negative characterization. And young women should be angry about being cast as both sexual temptresses and moral gatekeepers in the school.”

[End of excerpt]

2) Dress code ‘sexist,’ Montreal students say

A June 5, 2015 CBC article is entitled: “Montreal high school dress code forbidding crop tops ‘sexist,’ students say: High school students at FACE in Montreal say dress code unfairly target girls.”

The article notes:

“Arielle Orvieto, 15, another one of the protesters, said more effort should be made to teach boys to respect girls and their bodies.

” ‘I agree there are some limits and we understand that,’ Orvieto said.

” ‘We just hope that the rules themselves are for both sexes instead of just aiming on females.’

“The protests in Montreal are part of what appears to be a growing trend.

“Students at Ontario schools in London and Toronto, as well as Moncton, N.B., carried out similar protests earlier this year, reviving a decades-old debate about what qualifies as appropriate school attire.

“The Commission scolaire de Montréal has not responded to a request for comment.”

[End of excerpt]


4 replies
  1. graeme decarie
    graeme decarie says:

    Make ’em wear uniforms. It builds character.

    As soon as I can remember his name, I must apologize to a boy I strapped in, I think, grade 10. He had said [Note from the Editor, namely Jaan Pill: The student swore, the first word of the two-word expletive rhymes with ‘puck’ and the expletive ends with the word ‘you’] to me. But he was really a good kid, and I should have just said a quiet word to him. I often think of him. Oh. I remember. His first name was Bryn. And Bryn. if you’re reading this, I do apologize. I was wrong.

  2. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    I have left out the words. It’s just an editorial policy that I have in place as a blogger.

    I would add that I think there is tremendous value in reaching out to students, or other people we have worked with, even many years later, to set things right, and to apologize.

    I’m very much aware of the power of words and gestures, in terms of my own life. This morning I made a presentation, read a book, and engaged in an extended conversation with a Grade 3 class at a local school. I said that among the most powerful things that I remember is that, at a stage when I had some very particular struggles to deal with, in my own life from one day to the next, a few people stood out by saying a kind word, or indicating by a gesture, that they cared, about the particular issue that faced me at the time. Oh my gosh, these many years later, their support still matters so much to me. The students I spoke with today enjoyed my story. Much enjoyed it. Being in the classroom, even one day a year, is for me as a retired teacher a source of inspiration and enjoyment.


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