11-year-old 'harassed' by school for wearing leggings

The school's policy notes: "Clothing that is revealing or is suggestive may not be worn." Apparently this includes leggings. Photo / Getty
The school's policy notes: "Clothing that is revealing or is suggestive may not be worn." Apparently this includes leggings. Photo / Getty

A young girl's outfit is at the centre of a controversy in Kansas, after the student's mother posted an outraged message on social media.

According to WDAF-TV, 11-year-old Bella wore a tunic top and a pair of patterned leggings to Lansing Middle School on Wednesday. School staff sent the 6th grader to the office for a dress code violation, according to her mother, Kimberly Jones.

Community Relations Coordinator Ninevah Carvan said, "The nurse informed me that she measured all the way around the dress or the shirt and it wasn't the sides, in was in front and in the back where it was too short."

However, school dress code policy says if it's a "shirt" violation, a student will be given a T-shirt to wear. Instead, the nurse made Bella wear tracksuit pants, which are given out when there is a problem with "shorts or pants."

The offending outfit was shared on Facebook. Photo / Facebook, Kimberley Jones
The offending outfit was shared on Facebook. Photo / Facebook, Kimberley Jones

Jones said her daughter was told it was because she wore leggings, which weren't listed as forbidden clothing items in the school's dress code rules. The policy did say that "Clothing that is revealing or is suggestive may not be worn."

On Thursday, the school posted a new dress code policy specifically outlawing leggings.
Jones said the nurse told Bella, "You're not allowed to call your mum and you cannot change. She cannot bring you clothes. You need to go back to class and you have to wear these borrowed pants.'"

"We don't allow students to call home because sometimes we can have students sitting in the office for an hour waiting for their parents to come up with a change of clothes," Carvan said.

Bella broke the rules and texted her mother, who came to the school.

"I left work and I ran right over there and asked them to pull her," Jones said. "She was sobbing. We're a military family and we just moved here. One of the big heartbreakers for me was that literally all day and the day before she was so excited about school. And then to hear your daughter say, 'Can I please move?' It was hard."

The district claims teachers gave her the option to change and come back to class.
"If I could come up as a parent and bring her a change of clothes and the clothing was no longer an issue, why in the world would you want to humiliate her all day like that?" Jones said.

"It is not intended to be a punishment in any way, fashion, or form. They just want to make sure when students do have a dress code violation, that they can quickly return back to class," Carvan said.

Beyond the dress code, Jones says she is more upset that no one from the school called her.

"My number one issue with this whole situation is one that my minor, my 11-year-old, was told that she could not contact her mother when there was an issue," Jones said.
The district said a parent came to the school before the call was made, but also said in the future, staff will reach out sooner.

"Just moving forward we will make sure and confirm ... that parents are contacted and aware if there are any issues at school," Carvan said.

Jones took to Facebook on Wednesday night to express her outrage. Her post was shared hundreds of times before it was removed.

"People are outraged that schools are sexualising our children," Jones said.

"I was told that the reason behind this is that 13-year-old boys can't control themselves around this type of dress - two different [school] staff members told me that!"

Even Bella is getting involved - she and a friend created a petition at school to get the dress code changed to allow leggings, her mother said.

"People are saying that I wasn't telling the truth and that I knew this was a rule - well, it was also once a rule in this country that women couldn't vote!" Bella said. "That doesn't mean we give up on a good fight."

- news.com.au

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