I have a lot of issues with dress codes in general, but this case is definitely one that takes the whole damn cake. A North Carolina high school senior and honor roll student is left worrying about her future in college after a huge fallout with the school principal over a shirt that she wore to school.
According to KSDK, the student, identified only as Summer, wore a shirt to Hickory Ridge High School earlier this week that rested just off the top of her shoulders, exposing her collarbone. The school, however, takes its dress code—which prohibits off-the-shoulder tops—very seriously. And the principal approached Summer in the cafeteria to enforce the rule.
A report notes that the principal, who is female, told Summer to cover up. Summer responded, “I think my shirt is fine.” When the principal then told Summer that her lower back was exposed and she was not in compliance with the dress code, the teen repeated again, “My shirt is fine.”
Summer, who has a 4.4 GPA, says that she did not have a jacket, but her friend offered to lend her one, and so she pulled up her shirt sleeves, put on the jacket and zipped it up. But apparently the principal was not satisfied and demanded that she go to the control room to change.
“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 the news station.
According to Summer, this is not the first time that she and the principal clashed. The tension between the two had gotten so bad that her mother reportedly told school administrators to call her before resorting to any sort of disciplinary action against Summer.
So when the principal ordered Summer to change, the teen apologized but refused.
“They can’t take me anywhere unless my mother is called,” she said. “So I said, ‘I apologize; I can’t go anywhere with you unless my mom is called.’”
From then on, the situation got even more out of control when neither she nor the principal could reach her mother. The principal reportedly brought in a school resource officer, who Summer said had his hand on his weapon.
“[The SRO] was within 5 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,” Summer recalled. “I stayed in my seat just like a lot of role models that I have looked up to stayed in their seats. I mean, you have to stand up for what you believe in.”
The principal ordered the SRO to arrest Summer, but before he could put her in handcuffs, her mother called back.
Summer eventually went into the control room with school administrators but was given a 10-day suspension and was banned from senior activities, including her graduation. The principal is reportedly still considering expelling her, which could put her scholarships and other accolades in jeopardy.
“It’s just sad because I worked so hard for four years to walk across that stage,” she added. “We have drug dealers walking across that stage, we have sex offenders walking across that stage, and then the 4.4 student who showed her shoulders can’t.”
Instead of the dress code violation, the official cause of her suspension was “insubordination.”
“This is my life; I’m on a premed track,” Summer told the news station. “A full ride means so much, and that is on the line right now.”
Read more at KDSK.