Utah Girls Barred from Dance, Principal Apologizes

All but one of these girls barred from dance.
All but one of these girls barred from dance.

Schools around the country have instituted dress codes for daily wear and proms, but a high school principal from Tooele, Utah back tracked on Monday by apologizing to students for barring dozens of girls-including the homecoming queen-from entering Saturday night's homecoming dance because their skirts too short. Mom Donna Hesleph, whose daughter Amber called to get a ride home because she had been rejected at the door, told the Tooele Transcript Bulletin, "When I got there I saw a long line of girls who had been turned away and they were all crying."

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Many of the girls who were turned away for inappropriate attire were wearing dresses that fell a couple of inches above the knee. The student handbook reads that hemlines "should be at or near knee length."

On Monday, after parents and students angrily complained about the school's prudish move, the principal, Kendall Topham, held four special assemblies. "I did give an apology. I feel like the error occurred because, with our dress standard for our formal dresses, there is some ambiguity, there is some things in question about," Topham told Fox News. "Specifically, there is something in there about the length of skirt that says at knee or at or near the knee…I also apologized that we had students and parents who had gone out and prepared for this dance and felt like, as they reviewed the policy, that they were in compliance. And then to come and be turned away, that was disheartening."

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Both parents and kids alike expressed frustration that the rules were unclear. Michael Johnson, whose daughter wasn't allowed to attend the dance told the Salt Lake City Tribune, "This isn't like these girls were dressing immodestly. You've got a vague policy, but then you've got to use some common sense and judgment." Some students complained that the rules seemed arbitrary because while knees were taboo, strapless dresses that revealed the shoulders and cleavage were allowed.

Over the weekend, many families and students created a Facebook page, "Stansbury High Homecoming Spirit Massacre" to protest the dance debacle. The page posts pictures of some of the girls who were barred and notes that, "Many parents, including those in community and church leadership positions, were left aghast." The page has so far received over 3,500 likes. One mother, Michelle Barnot McKay, posted: "Makes me sad that these young men and women weren't allowed to the dance when each and every one of the dresses were nice and not really revealing. We do not live in a time where it is inappropriate to show our ankles or knees. Whoever made these rules obviously thinks we still are. So, so sad!" A number of seniors echoed the feelings of one student, Jara Eshete, "This is my first year going to homecoming and my last cause I'm a senior. I hope the administration knows that this was a one time opportunity ruined."

The good news for students is that the school has now pledged to hold a second dance, free of charge.

Do you think the girl's dresses were appropriate according to the dress code? Let us know in the comments below.