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Students Are Fighting Back Against School Dress Codes With #CropTopDay

A Canadian high schooler is using the hashtag to take a stance "against the sexualization of women’s bodies."

Warmer weather is here, which means so are horror stories about schools sending teen girls home for daring to reveal a bra strap, bare midriff, or shoulders. But some Ontario teens are fighting back.

Today is #CropTopDay, a movement started by a Toronto high school student named Alexi Halket.

In an event page on Facebook, Halket wrote that a male teacher at Etobicoke School of the Arts complained that a shirt she was wearing one day looked "too much like a sports bra."

"I went in to the office and refused to change or cover up, and I was sent to the principal where we talked for over an hour and came to no conclusion except a threat that if I wore something like this again I would be called in to the office," she wrote.

In response, Halket declared Tuesday — her birthday — crop top day.

Courtesy of Kyrstyn Kumor

"So PLEASE wear a crop top, sports bra, bralette, bandeau, or anything similar and stand in solidarity against the sexualization of women's bodies on my birthday," she wrote on Facebook.

And her fellow students responded. Both girls and guys showed up to school proudly wearing crop tops, some with messages of solidarity written on their skin.

Courtesy of Alison Denham
Courtesy of Bella Karadjian
Courtesy of Holly Mclachlan

happy #croptopday me and my best friend (@ellllalol) #StandInSolidarity

#CropTopDay #StandInSolidarity

@IXELAmusic here ya go babe super proud of you for starting this ❤ #StandInSolidarity #croptopday

Courtesy of Krystyna Poremba

Ootd and #croptopday #StandInSolidarity because it's my body wasn't made to please anyone but me

This is the school's dress code, which doesn't mention any clothing items by name but says clothing "shouldn't be too revealing."

via Alexa Bowie

Alexa Bowie, student council president at Etobicoke School of the Arts, told BuzzFeed Canada she was there when her friend Alexi was taken to the principal's office.

"I am so disappointed in my school for the way they handled the situation and I am so proud of the students and Alexi for coming together and making a change!" she said.

Bowie said the school's principal told students the dress code was not about the sexualization of women's bodies and invited students to speak with him about it.

But #CropTopDay has now taken on a life of its own, spreading to other schools and gaining support on Twitter from people outside of Toronto.

I got uniform but I'm still supporting #croptopday (sorry if my shoulders are too distracting) #Standinsolidarity

@Currently1D #croptopday bc as a woman I should be able to feel comfortable and confident without being called out

Crop tops aren't the only clothing item that's been targeted by schools — girls have gotten in trouble for wearing halter tops, leggings, spaghetti straps or just a hint of a bandeau.

@IXELAmusic (sunflower shorts) asked to cover up @tdsb Etobicoke Arts School & started #croptopday #StandInSolidarity

While some schools cite professionalism as the reason for the restrictions, girls are often told their bare shoulders or exposed bras are a distraction to their male classmates.

A student was recently given detention in New Brunswick for wearing a halter dress her high school deemed a "sexual distraction."