6th grade girl reprimanded for dress code violation, told not to “distract” boys with her attire
The mom of a middle school girl is speaking out after a particularly disturbing incident of dress code “violation”. It sounds like a typical account of the type we read about all too often, but this story has an extra touch of creepy and infuriating to it.
Just try not exploding by the end. We dare you.
Earlier this week, Suzie Webster’s daughter Reese, a 6th grade student at Moultrie Middle School in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, wore her school’s uniform shirt and a denim skirt. The skirt was one she’d already worn several times throughout the six weeks school has been in session. But this time, a teacher took issue with her apparel. The result was Reese, 12, being humiliated and her mother defending her to a principal with some pretty archaic views.
We’re all squinting our eyes trying to figure out exactly is wrong with Reese’s outfit. And that’s probably because the answer is, absolutely nothing. Nevertheless, Webster got a call to bring Reese a pair of jeans after her skirt was deemed inappropriate by a teacher and the school’s principal, Mr. Cumback. She writes in her Facebook post, “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”.”
Clubbing? Clubbing? They can’t be serious. Except apparently, they are. Webster wrote, “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.”
The real issue according to Webster isn’t that the school wanted to enforce a dress code, but how they handled it. “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 vs. a public shaming.”
To add insult to injury, Webster explains that Principal Cumback had her measure the distance from Reese’s skirt to her knee to see if it passed the weirdly arbitrary 5-inch rule the school has in place. It did, but by then, it hardly mattered. “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.”
Websters says her daughter apologized numerous times, as though she’d done anything wrong, and notes that she and Reese spent weeks searching for shorts and skirts that met the school’s standards only to be humiliated like this.
This is all horrible, but the worst part of this exchange was what was said while Reese was changing into her jeans. Principal Cumback explained to Webster that it was “necessary to closely monitor the girls attire because boys at this age get very distracted by the girls and their appearance.” He says that in order to “control” the boys, the skirts needed to be long enough and obviously, this is something girls need to be aware of.
And that’s where Webster lost her shit, rightly so. “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!”
Blaming a young girl for the thoughts of boys is repulsive, and only gives rise to rape culture where boys and men think they’re blameless if a woman is dressed a certain way. After all, they can’t help it, as they’ve been told since elementary school. Disgusting.
Even after that, Cumback still felt the need to remind Reese how boys are, and Reese says she understood because they were like that at her elementary school too. Webster says that throughout it all, she was proud of her daughter for being “classy and respectful.”
Scary Mommy had a chance to speak with Webster who tells us that the school has yet to reach out since her story went public but that some moms have expressed displeasure with her speaking out against their school. “I guess they are OK with our daughters being shamed publicly,” Webster retorts.
However, most friends have been supportive and as far as how Reese is handling it, she’s a total champ. “I was very upset yesterday and worried for Reese, but she told me to take it as far as it will go. “I will be fine, Mom”.”
Bravo to both Reese and her mom for speaking out. Hopefully in doing so, their school might reconsider how they handle dress code issues in the future.