A student in San Antonio, Texas, was punished during school on Friday for violating the dress code. The vice principal at Tom C. Clark High School in the Northside Independent School District, Melissa Grijalva, allegedly approached junior Sophia Abuabara after lunch and informed her that her striped jersey shirtdress was too short.
The 17-year-old called her mother, Rosey Abuabara, shortly after and asked that she bring her a change of clothes, as Grijalva had requested. The student’s mother shares with Yahoo Style that her daughter was crying and “incredibly upset” on the phone because she was embarrassed about the situation.
When she visited the school later in the day, Rosey did not bring the clothes, because she felt Sophia, an honors student, should focus on preparing for her three upcoming tests that day.
After Sophia was allowed to return to class, Mrs. Abuabara claims that the school’s principal, Dr. Jerry Woods, interrupted her daughter’s Latin test later in the day to address the clothing issue. However, her daughter’s teacher directed him to leave during the exam. A school official asserted that this was standard protocol.
“This issue was addressed by campus administrators in a manner consistent with other dress code violations on campus and no disciplinary action was taken,” Barry Perez, executive director of communications for Northside Independent School District, said in a statement to Yahoo Style. “The student was not taken out of class during a test, rather she was sent to visit with campus administration after her test was completed.”
Sophia’s mother said that the high school junior and the principal spoke amicably later in the day, but her own conversation with Dr. Woods did not go over as well. During their meeting, Rosey claimed that the principal asked her not to record their conversation, which she eventually complied with. However, campus police ended up getting involved when Rosey asked if she could be escorted off campus.
“I told him, you know what, you might as well escort me off campus. I’m not ready to leave, and you’re telling me to leave — so just escort me off,” she says.
Rosey later posted posted a photo of her daughter wearing the dress supposedly against the dress code, which the mother and daughter pair measured out to be 4 inches above the knee — in line with the school’s rules. Next to it, she put a photo of a male student wearing shorts at the school.
She captioned the image, “Wow. My daughter got #dresscoded for this dress. They said it was too short. Yet, boys can dress like this?? She had 3 exams that afternoon, including Physics AP, Latin 3, and APUSH. But her skirt length….” She also labeled the dress code ‘a sexist practice’ in the post.
In the comments section, the male allegedly pictured wrote, “Hello! I’m the guy in that picture. (idk how I feel about people taking pictures of me but thanks for blurring my face at least) I think it’s important to note the context of my clothing, I didn’t wear that around school all day, those were my workout clothes and I changed before going to the weight room after school.”
Rosey, though, defended her point of view in her response. “Yeah, we blurred your face. We are not picking on you specifically, but really wanted to point out that there are boys that dress this way at school,” she wrote. “Lots of guys use ‘chubbies,’ which are shorter than my daughter’s skirt. I’m sure you’re seen them around. (Again, not you personally) boys can wear shorts to school in 100 degree weather, and the girls cannot. That’s just sexist.”
The male student responded that he feels the problem lies more with the school’s dress code.
“Well, I think the problem is not so much with the boys who wear them as it is with the administration and an uneven application of the rules (which I do acknowledge exists, and do not support),” he wrote. “As a generation we’re moving in a more liberal direction with our bodies and often see fit to wear shorter clothing, both boys and girls. And, like you said, it’s hot. The problem is more with the rule itself being outdated and so it’s not executed equally due to varying beliefs with those who enforce the rules. If these are legitimate concerns, it’s something worth gathering others of a like mind and voicing those concerns in a public forum that is likely to be heard by administrators, like a PTA meeting.”
Along with her Instagram post on the matter, Rosey also posted a Facebook live video after her tiff with the school’s principal — in which she recounted her daughter’s contributions to the school, what happened to her daughter, and details of her own tense interaction with the principal.
“The principal laughed because he thought that it wasn’t anything for her to be crying out,” she said, referring to her daughter’s initial reaction upon being reprimanded for her dress. “I told him that that was a very sexist thing to do because if she felt like she got shamed, who are you to say that she wasn’t shamed? He got offended because I called him sexist. He also asked me if I needed to call my husband to take care of this matter, and then I was offended. I said, ‘No sir, I do not need my husband here to take care of this. I am a grown woman, and I can take care of this myself.'”
As far as next steps, Rosey plans to raise awareness for the issue. “I’m going to call the ACLU to see if they can give me some idea of how to proceed with this. This has never happened to us before. I’m considering going to the school board,” she tells Yahoo Style. She adds that she has support from other parents in her beliefs. “Some other mothers reached out to me that this sort of thing has happened to their daughters, and they don’t think it’s right, and they want to be there.”
Rosey hopes her daughter will be allowed to retake the tests, because she feels her performance was negatively impacted by the ordeal, especially when the principal interrupted her Latin test. Perez tells Yahoo Style in a statement that school officials are available to discuss any concerns.
“Campus administrators met with the student’s parent to discuss their concerns and will remain available to meet and discuss their concerns further,” he said.
Read more from Yahoo Style + Beauty:
- Students Win Dress Code Fight for Shorter Hemlines
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- High School Students Protest Dress Code That Bans ‘Exposed Underarms’