Laurens Middle School was performing a dress-code inspection on Monday when a teacher took 11-year-old Ethan Orr to the principal’s office for what the school called an “emerging hole” in his jeans — meaning a frayed spot that would soon become an actual hole, according to WCNC in South Carolina.
There, his mother, Lisa Orr, was called and told that she needed to either bring her son a new pair of pants or bring him home. That’s when Orr became outraged. Money is tight, she told WCNC, and she can’t afford to buy Ethan new clothes at the moment, so he has to stick with his lightly worn wardrobe. A lot of his clothes have holes in them, she said, and it’s even a source of bullying for the child, so being punished by the school was an added stressor. “As a mother, that broke my heart,” she said.
“I was like, ‘Is this really a reason for him to have to be sent to the office?’ And she was like, ‘Well, we realize it’s not a hole. It’s what we call an emerging hole,’” Orr said in a Facebook video, noting that she was then forced to pick the boy up. “He missed an entire day of education for that,” she said while pointing to a worn spot on Ethan’s pant leg.
Orr told reporters that she doesn’t feel school officials “need to nitpick like they do” and should be more accommodating to low-income families. Fortunately, the powers that be at Laurens County School District 55 have listened. Yahoo Lifestyle spoke with Edward Murray, director of public relations, who said the district’s superintendent, Stephen G. Peters, has ordered the section of the dress code that prohibits emerging holes to be amended.
“The rule about emerging holes deals with the fashion industry and clothes that come with preexisting holes,” Murray said. “When it comes to normal wear and tear, we certainly want to work with parents.” He clarified to Yahoo Lifestyle that Ethan was not sent home from school, despite a widespread misunderstanding. “We do not send children home for dress-code violations ever,” he said, adding that Peters has been speaking with Ethan’s parents about the incident “since day one.” He said he regrets that the incident has “made it to social media, and it’s created such a furor.”
In an official statement from the school district, Peters added, “We consider parents to be our partners in the education of the whole child in Laurens County School District 55, and we are always happy to discuss any questions or concerns a parent may have.”
Orr confirmed to NBC4 that the school is working with her, and it has even provided new clothes for Ethan. But what she really wants is for the dress code to be “rewritten.” It looks like she’s gotten her wish.
Yahoo Lifestyle got in touch with Orr, who said she called district office to confirm the planned policy change for herself but got no answer. “But if this is the case,” she said, “then I am so thankful on behalf of my family and others that this will impact in a positive way!”
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