A Mississippi man's Facebook post accusing school officials of body shaming his niece has gone viral.
The incident occurred at Brookhaven Elementary School. Robbie Nettles claims his 9-year-old niece was given an in-school suspension for a dress code violation, WAPT reported. When the girl’s mother brought her a change of clothes, that outfit was also deemed inappropriate.
But Nettles said his niece was just wearing a gray top and leggings. He accused school officials of body-shaming his niece.
In a now viral Facebook post, Nettles wrote:
Does my niece's round belly OFFEND you? Obviously, her attire was too form fitting. It was offensive enough to get her sent to in-school suspension at Brookhaven Elementary School. Apparently, it is acceptable to body shame a nine year old. My niece may not be the ideal weight, but she was not showing anything inappropriate. It sickens me to imagine my sweet niece going to a school that cares more about her weight than what's in her mind. They could have made her wait for a new outfit in the office. Instead, she was sent directly to ISS. Unfortunately, another girl with the same body type in her class received the same treatment. The second outfit was also not satisfactory. If the school is so concerned with their student's appearance, they should implement school uniforms. Dress codes are open for interpretation and abuse. This abuse was demonstrated by the faculty at Brookhaven Elementary School. Does this punishment seem appropriate to you? #9yearoldbodyshaming.
The post was shared nearly 50,000 times since it was uploaded Aug. 25.
“It is body shaming. It’s a little girl,” local resident Zaria Ratcliff told WAPT News. “Just because her stomach is showing doesn’t mean she’s distracting anybody from their work or anything. She’s just going to school.”
“The bottom line is there is a dress code,” said Lea Stewart, another resident. “At the same time, I do feel bad for the little girl about [being] exploited by social media.”
According to the school’s handbook, “tights or leggings are not permitted as outerwear and all tops must be size-appropriate.”
The school’s superintendent said he could not comment on the situation, but said the school followed the protocol outlined in its handbook regarding dress code violations.