A senior honor student banned from graduation after a situation stemming from her off-the-shoulder shirt
A senior honor student from Hickory Ridge High School in Harrisburg, North Carolina was suspended, and fears a possible expulsion, following a confrontation stemming from the shirt she was wearing.
Summer – a 4.4 GPA honor student – was wearing a green, off-the-shoulder shirt at school last week, when the principal approached her at lunch and told her to put on a jacket because the shirt fell off her shoulders, which was a violation of the school’s dress code. According to KENS-5 Eyewitness News, Summer didn’t have a jacket but a friend offered her one.
She pulled up the shoulders of her shirt, put the jacket on and zipped it up, but apparently that wasn’t enough, but the principal then told her that her lower back was exposed – which was also a dress code violation – and told her to go to the control room to change her 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 KENS-5.
Summer and the principal have had several confrontations over the past four years. In fact, the situation was so bad that Summer’s mom got involved and asked the school to contact her before any disciplinary action was taken. Summer said she told the principal, “I apologize, but I can’t go anywhere with you unless my mom is on the phone.”
The school was unable to reach Summer’s mom, and that’s when things went from bad to worse. The lunch period ended, and the principal told everyone to leave except for Summer. The principal was accompanied the school resource officer, or SRO. An SRO is a law enforcement officer who provides security services in a school, and Summer said the SRO was within five feet of her, with his hand on his gun.
The principal gave her an ultimatum – either come with her to the control room to change her shirt or get arrested. Summer remained seated and continued trying to get in touch her mom.
“I stayed in my seat just like a lot of role models that I have looked up to stayed in their seats,” she says. “I mean, you have to stand up for what you believe in.”
Summer said the principal told the SRO to arrest her, but her mom called back before she was handcuffed. Summer did eventually go to the control room, where she was handed a 10-day suspension and banned from all senior activities, including attending her own graduation.
“It’s just sad because I worked so hard for four years to walk across that stage,” she says.
Not only is Summer an honor student with an impressive 4.4 GPA, but she also has a full scholarship to a major university — a scholarship she fears could be in jeopardy due to the dress code incident.
The office cause for suspension was “insubordination,” but school has not commented on the situation, The school’s dress code is quite lengthy and detailed, and prohibits students from wearing off-the-shoulder shirts. Earlier in the school year, 45 students at the school were sent to the principal’s office for wearing leggings with shirts considered to be too short.
Summer’s mom reportedly plans to appeal the suspension, and Summer said she’s concerned about her future because of the fallout from this situation.
“This is my life, I’m on a pre-med track,” she says. “A full ride means so much and that is on the line right now.”