Kids in the U.S. are allowed to wear casual clothes to school unlike the majority of South African schools which have uniforms. This doesn’t mean that they don’t have dress codes though, but this story about a dress code violation in a school in Florida just seems a little ridiculous. 

This student, who will not be named, was suspended from school because she was wearing ripped jeans that exposed her knee.

According to an article in the Palm Beach Post, Palm Beach County Mayor Melissa McKinlay claimed that her daughter was removed from class at Forest Hill High School and told that “she needed to consider the guys in her class and their hormones” when dressing for school.

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Melissa posted about the incident on Facebook saying that her daughter was in the middle of a quiz at the time and as a result of the suspension, missed all her classes for the day. 

"Perhaps she should have worn a different pair of jeans," she said in the post. "But why should she have to worry about dressing a certain way to curtail a boy’s potential behaviour? So, like, it’s her fault if the boy touches her because of what she was wearing? A boy’s potential inability to control his hormones warrants my daughter’s inability to attend her classes today and miss valuable curriculum?

“A male administrator yanked her out of a classroom because of a damn KNEE? Did he pull the boys out who were wearing shorts? They have TWO knees showing?”

Melissa also pointed out that the fact that her daughter was made to miss classes and not able to finish her quiz was an example of “sexism. Victim blaming. Girl shaming."

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Forest Hill High School Principal Mary Stratos told the Long Beach Post that ripped jeans and torn clothing of any kind constituted a dress code violation, but the first offense usually results in a lunch detention. She promised to investigate the administrator’s comments, but defended the school’s dress code as “gender-neutral.”

In a follow-up Facebook post, Melissa wrote that she spoke to members of the school board and was “confident that they are addressing the situation.” She acknowledged that her daughter had indeed violated the dress code by wearing ripped jeans, but argued that the punishment had been too severe.

"My daughter indeed violated her school's dress code and she will bear the consequences of that," she wrote. "But such a violation never warrants the experience she had yesterday."

Luckily, this incident seems to be being handled well, but the fact that Melissa’s daughter was made to miss class because of the fact that her knee was showing seems extreme. Yes, she was violating the dress code by wearing something ripped, but the reason for her being taken out of class clearly wasn’t due to that fact, but rather playing to the fact that men are considered first when it comes to female bodies.

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