A T-shirt slogan that read, “Why be racist, sexist, homophobic, or transphobic when you can just be quiet?” got a 13-year-old girl in trouble at school.
Renee Williams of Indiana posted on Facebook that her daughter got in-house suspension on Wednesday at Highland Hills Middle School for wearing the $20 item. “I am beyond upset by the events that happened today,” she wrote, describing how the girl was called out twice for her outfit. “...We are disappointed in the way she was singled out and treated.”
Video: Dress Code Controversy At West Campus High
Williams tells Yahoo Lifestyle that on Friday, her daughter was flagged down after gym class and brought into the principal’s office, after a teacher noticed her shirt. According to her daughter, the principal felt the words “Sex” and “Homo” were too eye-catching.
“She said my shirt was inappropriate and could be seen as disrespectful,” read a handwritten account by the student, posted to Williams’ Facebook page.
The girl says she was told to turn her shirt inside out, put on a jacket, or wear her sweaty top from gym class. She agreed to wear a hooded sweatshirt, but during lunch period, she says, a teacher expressed that her shirt didn’t break the dress code.
According to the Highland Hills Middle School dress code, the only banned shirts are those “suggestive, obscene or promote alcohol or drug products or use” and sheer.
Williams’ daughter decided to remove her hoodie as she left the lunch room, but she bumped into the principal who sent her to in-house suspension. The parents drove to the school for a meeting with the principal they said was unproductive, then drove their daughter home.
On Thursday, says the girl, 88 students in the 7th and 8th grades protested silently in a campus common area, in support of her shirt.
According to Williams, her daughter was embarrassed and dumbfounded by the administration’s reaction. “I was told her shirt could be distracting to the education process,” she says.
Representatives of the school and New Albany Floyd County Schools did not return Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment. Superintendent Bill Briscoe told station WKYC, “As a school district, we do all we can to maintain the integrity of a focused age-appropriate learning environment. This includes minimizing potential distractions as they arise.”
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