Schoolgirl thrown out of class for wearing leggings

Bella Jones was wearing patterned leggings and a pink jumper dress

Charlotte England
Thursday 01 September 2016 09:56
Bella Jones' outfit
Bella Jones' outfit

An 11-year-old girl has been pulled out of class for wearing leggings.

Bella Jones wore patterned leggings and a pink jumper dress to Lansing Middle School in Kansas on Wednesday 24 August. She was sent to the school office for a 'dress code violation', her mother, Kimberly Jones, said.

The school's community relations coordinator Ninevah Carvan said the school nurse measured the dress and decided it was too short.

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

The nurse made Bella wear borrowed tracksuit trousers and forbade her from contacting her mother.

Bella defied the nurse and texted Ms Jones, who came to the school to collect her daughter and later posted an angry message on Facebook about the incident.

Ms Jones said leggings weren’t listed as forbidden in the school’s dress code. The policy only said: “Clothing that is revealing or is suggestive may not be worn.”

“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!” Ms Jones said.

“People are outraged that schools are sexualising our children," she added.

Her post was shared hundreds of times before being removed.

On Thursday, the school posted a new dress code policy specifically banning leggings.

School dress code violations have caused controversy in the last few years, with many people pointing out the sexist way in which dress code policies are applied almost exclusively to girls. Schools have been accused of spreading a dangerous message by placing the onus on girls to change their behaviour to avoid harassment from boys, rather than adequately punishing boys who harass girls.

"This sends an incredibly powerful message. It teaches our children that girls' bodies are dangerous, powerful and sexualised, and that boys are biologically programmed to objectify and harass them," Everyday Feminism founder Laura Bates said in an article.

"It prepares them for college life, where as many as one in five women is sexually assaulted by society will blame and question and silence them, while perpetrators are rarely disciplined."

Ms Jones said she was especially angry her young daughter was isolated and shamed by school staff.

"If I could come up and bring her a change of clothes, why in the world would you want to humiliate her all day like that?" Ms Jones said.

Ms Carvan said the school doesn't allow students to call home because that can leave them sitting in the office for an hour waiting for their parents, instead of returning immediately to class.

"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.

Ms Jones said the incident left Bella extremely upset.

"I left work and I ran right over there and asked them to pull her," Ms 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."

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