Emily Stewart dressed her daughter, Harmony, in a sun dress, light sweater, and jeans – an outfit she had carefully chosen. She then sent her daughter off to school, thinking nothing of the outfit. When Harmony came back from school however, she was in a completely different outfit.
Fearing that her daughter may have been hurt, she checked for bruises and asked Harmony why she changed clothes.
Turns out, the school nurse thought that Harmony needed to “cover up,” and went on to make the 5-year-old change her outfit.
The Minnesota mother was shocked, but refrained from criticizing the school. However, she was willing to speak up about the message communicated to girls.
Her Facebook post read: "Now, I knew the weather would be nice today. I sent her to school with a light sweater over her dress and jeans underneath of it. It's a new dress that her grandma got her and she really wanted to wear it. As a mother, how am I supposed to teach my daughter to love and celebrate her body when she has people telling her she 'needs privacy.' Why was her dress looked at as an inappropriate outfit to begin with?"
Emily was particularly distressed when she saw how the incident had affected her daughter.
"I asked her when I picked her up 'why are you wearing a T-shirt?' She said, 'I was told I had to put something on because I need privacy.' I then asked 'how did that make you feel when they told you that?'"
"She started bawling.”
Emily continued, "She was excited to wear that dress to school and show her friends and play in it on the playground."
When she spoke with Harmony’s teacher, Emily was told that the dress was hanging a little low, and that was why they made Harmony wear something else.
Emily was glad she had spoken out about her concerns.
She later updated her post, stating that the school had updated their dress code. "I'm excited to see all the changes the school board will be and is currently making to the school dress policy," she wrote.