A Kansas mother says her 11-year-old daughter was forced to change into sweatpants at school because her leggings were considered a dress code violation.
Bella Jones, 11, wore a pink sweater and flower-patterned leggings to Lansing Middle School, WDAF reported. The sixth-grader was sent to the principal’s office for a dress code violation.
"The nurse informed me that she measured all the way around the dress or the shirt and it wasn't the sides, in was in front and in the back where it was too short," Community Relations Coordinator Ninevah Carvan told WDAF.
Bella’s mother, Kimberly Jones, said her daughter was told she was being reprimanded because of her leggings. Jones said the nurse made Bella change into sweatpants, and did not let her call her mom.
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"She told Bella, 'You're not allowed to call your Mom and you cannot change. She cannot bring you clothes. You need to go back to class and you have to wear these borrowed sweatpants,'" Kimberly told the news station.
Carvan said students aren’t allowed to call their parents so that they can return to class as quickly as possible.
"That's why we don't allow students to call home because sometimes we can have students sitting in the office for an hour waiting for their parents to come up with a change of clothes," Carvan explained.
Bella texted her mother anyway. Kimberly came to the school and said the principal, Kerry Brungardt, told her Bella had two options: to wear the sweatpants all day or to go home.
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Carvan denied that the principal said that. The school district claims they gave Bella the option of changing and coming back to class.
Kimberly said the sweatpants rule was a form of embarrassment.
"If I could come up as a parent and bring her a change of clothes and the clothing was no longer an issue, why in the world would you want to humiliate her all day like that?" Kimberly said.
"It is not intended to be a punishment in any way, fashion, or form,” said Carvan. “They just want to make sure when students do have a dress code violation, that they can quickly return back to class.”
Kimberly took to Facebook to slam the school’s dress code policy:
B got a dress code violation for this today. She texted me all upset sobbing that they told her not to call me and that she had to wear borrowed sweatpants all day. Their policy is that they are not allowed to change. She was begging to move because they embarrassed and harassed her. Why? Because apparently 13 year old boys (she's 11 in 6th grade) can't control themselves around this. The code was because her shirt was too short. In what world is it acceptable to call out and embarrass a child over THIS outfit? Her butt is even covered! I don't have enough characters to go into all that is wrong with Lansing Middle school, the Principal and this idiotic dress code. As I sat there waiting for the principal I saw a teacher walk by with pants so tight I could see her underwear...but this is unacceptable? Are we living in the 1900s? And am I being punked because I just cannot believe this crap is real.
Kimberly also said she was upset that no one from the school made her aware of the situation.
"My number one issue with this whole situation is one that my minor, my eleven-year-old, was told that she could not contact her mother when there was an issue," she said.
The district said that Kimberly came to the school before the call was made. They added that they will contact parents sooner in the future.
"Just moving forward we will make sure and confirm and make sure that parents are contacted and aware if there are any issues at school," Carvan said.
The day after the incident, a revision was made in the dress code policy. "Leggings" were included as prohibited articles of clothing, KCTV reported. They were not listed prior to the incident.