A Maryland seventh grader wore a pair of ripped jeans to school recently and was disciplined in a way that some find startling: She had to put duct tape on her bare legs to cover up what was showing through the holes in the denim.
According to the girl’s mother, Nicole Williams, who spoke with local news affiliate Fox 5, she first heard about the incident from her daughter, who sent her a text, several weeks ago now, telling her about the dress code incident and complaining about the tape on her skin. Williams said she understood the violation but was not happy about the way it was handled.
The dress code that’s outlined in the Benjamin Stoddert Middle School’s Code of Conduct states that shorts must hit a student’s leg mid-thigh, which is clearly defined as, “shoulders relaxed and arms straight down alongside the body where fingertips touch the thigh.” And although nothing is explicitly said about ripped pants, a statement provided to the news affiliate by the school notes that there are standards for jeans, as well.
“The expectation at Benjamin Stoddert Middle School is that students do not come to school in pants with holes above the knee,” the statement from interim principal Marvin Jones reads. “If a student does not meet that expectation, we first ask students if they have a way to cover the holes, and if they do, they go back to class. If they do not, we call the parent and provide the student duct tape to self-apply to the holes above the knee.”
Williams says the explained protocol is not what was followed the day her daughter was disciplined.
“The idea that they came up with — to believe it was a good idea to put, actually, duct tape on a child when they can clearly see bare skin? I believe they should have called me first, and given her a chance to be able to change her clothes,” she told the Fox affiliate.
Instead, the young girl says she was immediately instructed to get tape, which her teacher proceeded to put on her legs. She says that soon after, the tape started itching and burning her skin.
“The teacher tried to put it on, and then she said [to] make it tighter because she didn’t want it falling off or anything,” the teen said.
Jones did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Yahoo Lifestyle. But he acknowledged the violation of protocol and expressed his apologies to Williams, according to the Fox report.
“Our practice is to communicate with the parent before a student covers the holes with tape; however, that protocol was not followed today, and I apologize for that,” Jones’s statement reads. “The amount of tape applied by the student was excessive, and unfortunately, she had a reaction to it.”
After the incident, Williams reportedly had a meeting with an administrator to discuss the issue. Meanwhile, Jones’s written statement noted that he’s continuing to review dress code protocols with teachers to prevent a similar incident from happening in the future.
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