A student can bring harassment on herself by what she wears. Canaan School Board chair

Concerned with a perceived inability to address school dress code violations, the Canaan School Board chair said Monday that a student can bring harassment on herself by what she wears. “It is her fault because she broke the dress code,” said Dan Wade during the meeting. Wade’s comments came during a board meeting attended in-person and via online video conference. A segment of video shows a brief exchange between Wade and Canaan Principal Chuck Patterson and Chris Damato, Career and Technical Education Director, in which Patterson and Damato take issue with Wade’s assertion. “When someone’s harassed it is not their fault,” said Damato. “That is a very problematic thing to say Dan,” Patterson said. “To say that it is a girl’s fault that she is harassed at any time.”  Wade, a school board member for nine years, said, if given the opportunity I would have framed that differently,” he explained. “If it came across insensitively then I apologize for that.” “I would never say that it is OK for somebody to harass somebody else,” he said. The topic of student dress code came about through a discussion of student handbook changes. During the meeting, it was mentioned that during a sporting event female students were seen wearing shirts that left their midriffs exposed. In the Canaan School handbook it states, “Males and females will not expose their bellies or behinds. If you have to keep tugging at your shirt or pulling up your pants to keep from exposing your midriff or behind, don’t wear those articles of clothing!”

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