You’d think that the influx of stories in recent years about unfair dress codes policing students would perhaps tip off administrators to the fact that puritanical clothing policies are encountering more and more pushback from parents and students. As it is, it seems as though every week there is a new instance of a sexist dress code policy which is meant to shame female students.
Summer, a senior at Hickory Ridge High School in Charlotte, North Carolina, wore a green, slightly off-the-shoulder top to school on Wednesday.
Summer was immediately confronted by the high school principal, who alerted her that the shirt was in violation of the school’s dress code policy.
To appease her principal, Summer borrowed a jacket from one of her friends, assuming that wearing the jacket over the top would be enough to keep her out of trouble. However, the principal insisted that wearing a jacket wasn’t enough, and that Summer would have to change clothes.
“I completely understand why a dress code is put into place but I feel like after I put on that jacket it should have been subdued,” Summer told WHAS 11.
According to WHAS 11:
Summer says she and the principal have had a number of issues during her four years at the school. The tension has gotten so bad that her mother says she recently instructed the school administrators to call her before taking any sort disciplinary action against Summer.
As a result of this agreement, summer refused to comply with the principal’s request to go change shirts in the control room. “They can’t take me anywhere unless my mother is called,” she says. “So I said ‘I apologize, I can’t go anywhere with you unless my mom is called.’”
At that point, the situation escalated dramatically. Summer could not reach her mother on the phone, and when the period ended, she accompanied several of her friends to the auditorium. At that point, the principal entered with a police officer and demanded that everyone leave except for Summer. It was then that Summer claims the principal threatened her with arrest.
“(The SRO) was within five feet of me, he had his hand on his gun. (The principal) said ‘I’m gonna give you an ultimatum. We have tried to call your mother. You either come with me to the control room to change your shirt or we will arrest you.”
Fortunately, Summer’s mother called back before her daughter was in handcuffs, and managed to mediate the situation. Despite her mother’s support, however, Summer was still sentenced to a 10 day suspension, and prohibited from participating in senior activities — which includes walking at graduation.
Though Summer and her mother plan to appeal the decision, the principal is apparently still considering expulsion.
“It’s just sad because I worked so hard for four years to walk across that stage,” she says. “We have drug dealers walking across that stage, we have sex offenders walking across that stage and then the 4.4 (GPA) student who showed her shoulders can’t.”
The whole situation is infuriating and baffling. How unhinged do you have to be to arrest a student for showing their shoulders? Also, how is covering up with a jacket not complying to dress code?
This story seems to drive home the point made by many similar news stories in recent memory: girls are still taught to be ashamed of their bodies, and to bear the responsibility for deflecting the gazes of their male peers.
I guess in some educational institutions, it’s more important to blend in than it is to achieve academically.