After Reese Franyo left for school in a t-shirt and denim skirt, her mom was called to school over her daughter's "inappropriate" outfit.
The sixth-grader from South Carolina was stopped by a teacher on her way to class and sent to the principal's office because a teacher thought that she looked like she should be "clubbing" in her outfit. After her mom, Suzie Webster, arrived at school, she and Moultrie Middle School's principal measured the skirt in question. Although it turns out that her daughter's skirt did not break the dress code, she still had an upsetting conversation with the school's principal, Ryan Cumback.
Suzie explained that her frustration wasn't as much with the dress code, but with how the principal and teacher handled the situation. "[Mr. Cumback] proceeded to go on and said he has a great concern for the girls because you know how boys are at this age, and when girls dress a certain way, boys can have inappropriate thoughts and responses to the way they're dressed," Suzie told the Huffington Post. "And at that point I said, 'Please stop talking, please don't say anything else.'"
Suzie shared a photo of her daughter's outfit as well as their troubling experience on Facebook. "I understand there has to be a line, but shouldn't the emphasis be on teaching our sons to be gentlemen and focus on their school work, not how much skin our daughters are showing?" Suzie wrote. "It really is hard enough to raise girls to have positive self-esteem and a good body image without worrying that they are being shamed by their teachers and administrators."
While Reese's mom says that she normally likes to let her kids fight their own battles, Suzie saw four major issues with this scenario:
1. I found out that Reese was called out in the hallway surrounded by other kids and told to go to the office because her skirt was too short and needed to be replaced. Also, the teacher told her she looked like she should "be clubbing." What? I don't know too many women who wear a boxy t-shirt and an A-line preppy denim skirt to go clubbing. Perhaps it was her scandalous ankle boots. I told the principal during my rant that I felt that it was madly inappropriate for my daughter to be humiliated in front of other students, and if there was concern about her meeting the dress code, there was a more tactful way versus a public shaming.
2. He had Reese brought into his office with me there, and he pulled out a ruler to have me measure to see if it met the dress code rule of 5 inches above the knee. It did, albeit it was exactly 5 inches from her knee. He did tell Reese she could continue to wear the skirt, however, at this point she was so embarrassed that she asked to change into her pants and told him she would not wear the skirt again.
3. Reese apologized numerous times and was clearly feeling like she did a bad thing wearing the skirt I bought for her, which just killed me. We spent weeks looking for shorts and skirts long enough to be appropriate, and this skirt is the exact same length as the "uniform" skorts I bought at Old Navy. Yet suddenly she was made to feel trashy because, according to her teacher and authority figure, she looked like she belonged in a club!
4. Now here's the one that really killed me, and maybe I should have led with this. While Reese was changing, her Principal, Mr. Cumback started to explain to me that it was necessary to closely monitor the girls' attire because boys at this age get very distracted by the girls and their appearance. So in order to control this, they needed to make sure the skirts were long enough. WTH?! This is the exact problem with society today. So my daughter was embarrassed, humiliated in front of her peers, and made to feel like a bad girl because boys can't control their dirty thoughts!