There are a few issues that are as controversial as school dress codes have been over the last few years, and it doesn't seem like that will be changing anytime soon.
This week in Maryland, the weather isn't the only thing that's heating up as we head into summer, the dress code debate is as well.
A student at Benjamin Stoddert Middle School recently wore a pair of ripped jeans to school, and a teacher made her aware that she was violating the dress code.
There are rules about the length of shorts and skirts in the school's Code of Conduct, but nowhere does it mention anything about ripped pants, so it's not uncommon to see students dressed in distressed denim.
In this seventh grader's case, instead of applying a standard disciplinary action that's outlined in the rule book, such as issuing a warning letter or detention, the teacher decided to teach her a lesson in the most unconventional way.
She made the girl put duct tape on her legs to cover up the skin that is visible through the large holes in her jeans.
While the girl remains unidentified, her mother, Nicole Williams, spoke with local news affiliate Fox 5 to bring attention to her daughter's experience.
She explained that her daughter texted her about the incident as soon as it happened a few weeks ago, complaining about the effects of the duct tape on her skin. The teen said her skin started to burn and itch.
“They told me that my jeans were inappropriate for school and then one of the teachers told me that I had to go get tape,” the young girl said. “So I went to go get the tape and the teacher tried to put it on, and then she said make it tighter because she didn’t want it falling off or anything.”
While Williams has no problem with the school implementing a dress code, she is angry about the way her daughter's situation was handled.
“The idea that they came up with — to believe it was a good idea to put, actually, duct tape on a child when they can clearly see bare skin? I believe they should have called me first, and given her a chance to be able to change her clothes,” she told the news station.
Benjamin Stoddert Middle School officials released a statement to Fox 5, explaining their expectations and standing their ground.
“The expectation at Benjamin Stoddert Middle School is that students do not come to school in pants with holes above the knee,” interim principal Marvin Jones wrote in the statement. "If a student does not meet that expectation, we first ask students if they have a way to cover the holes, and if they do, they go back to class. If they do not, we call the parent and provide the student duct tape to self-apply to the holes above the knee."
Williams said the school never called her before giving her daughter the tape to cover her skin, and that's unacceptable.
According to Fox, Jones admitted that the school did break protocol and issued an apology to Williams.
“Our practice is to communicate with the parent before a student covers the holes with tape; however, that protocol was not followed today, and I apologize for that,” Jones said. “The amount of tape applied by the student was excessive, and unfortunately, she had a reaction to it."
So what happens now that the incident is making headlines across the country?
Jones revealed in his statement that the school is currently reviewing their dress code violation policy with the staff so that another student won't go through what this girl did.
"My first concern is for the child and I want to make sure that she is okay. I will review with staff proper procedures for handling dress code violations moving forward."
Do you think the school should've forced the girl to use duct tape to cover her skin?
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