Although we're in the 21st century, female students are still being shamed over their choice of clothes.
It's typical to hear stories of teenagers being sent home from school or even punished by the administration based on their attire alone.
While there's been a constant back and forth between parents and staff on what's appropriate, one mother from Palm Beach County has caused waves after she accused a high school of sexism over her daughter's ripped jeans.
"Sexism. Victim blaming. Girl shaming."
Melissa McKinlay, who's also the mayor of Palm Beach County, blasted Forest Hill High School for allowing a male administrator to yank her daughter out of class and placing her on an in-school suspension simply over a pair of torn jeans.
On September 13, McKinlay took to Facebook accusing the unidentified administrator of sexism as what a girl wears should have no impact on their ability to concentrate in school.
Dear Palm Beach County School District:
My daughter wore a pair of jeans today to school. They had a hole in the knee.
In the middle of a quiz in her IB History class, a male administrator came to classroom, told her she needed to consider the guys in her class and their hormones when choosing her wardrobe, yanked her out of class and threw her into In School Suspension for the remainder of the day. So she missed an entire day of core classes and couldn’t finish her quiz.
I’m sorry but EXCUSE ME? Perhaps she should have worn a different pair of jeans. But why should she have to worry about dressing a certain way to curtail a boy’s potential behavior? So, like, it’s her fault if the boy touches her because of what she was wearing?
A boy’s potential inability to control his hormones warrants my daughter’s inability to attend her classes today and miss valuable curriculum?"
McKinlay continued on her rant, and called for the the school official's own suspension, adding that while she's acknowledged her daughter may have broken the dress code, her punishment did not fit the crime.
"A male administrator yanked her out of a classroom because of a damn KNEE? Did he pull the boys out who were wearing shorts? They have TWO knees showing?
Sexism. Victim blaming. Girl shaming.
This Administrator should be suspended.
Here’s what the jeans look like. Did seeing this affect your ability to concentrate?
I’d like to think her intelligence & quick wit, beautiful smile and wicked sense of humor might. Her knee?
PS If she needs a lunch detention for being slightly out of dress code, so be it. But this? No. Not an appropriate response. EVER."
"We don’t need to be the tatter police."
After the mother-of-three's post went viral, Forest Hill High School Principal Mary Stratos told My Palm Beach Post that while she was unfamiliar with the incident, she would investigate ’s alleged comments towards McKinlay’s daughter.
Stratos explained that while it's clearly expressed that torn clothing isn't acceptable in the dress code, a first offense only leads to a lunch detention and the student is asked to call their parents to bring over a change of clothes.
While the veteran principle added that subsequent offenses call for a heftier punishment, the dress code was designed to be gender-neutral and followed equally by both sexes.
"We don’t need to be the tatter police," Stratos said.
Social Media Reacts
Although McKinlay received criticism for "failing to teach her daughter a valuable lesson," she revealed she wasn't upset that her daughter was being punished for breaking the dress code, but "that a male authority figure at the school explained to her that she needed to think about the way her clothes made boys feel."
She posted three pictures of the conversation between her and her daughter that morning for reference.
However, the majority of Facebook users applauded McKinlay for speaking out against the administrator's actions.
"I always admire you but this is so important. Thank you for bringing this to light. It’s time to stop shaming girls out of an education on the premise of boys lacking self control," one woman wrote.
"Perhaps instead of making girls feel like their bodies are sex objects to be gazed upon by boys, we should be teaching boys not to treat women's bodies as sex objects," someone else chimed in. "Sounds like the Staff member needs some training in that Dept."
Another added, "If a guy is truly going to get that excited over seeing a girl's knee, he has bigger problems 🙄 This upsets me on a way deep level. I'm pretty much dumbfounded that a girl's education is less important than pandering to the "raging hormones" of teenage boys. I can't."
"[I] am quite confident they are addressing the situation."
On September 14, McKinley followed up on her original post, and shared that she's "quite confident" the issue will be resolved.
"I have spoken to the wonderful principal at my daughter's school and members of the School Board and am quite confident they are addressing the situation," McKinley wrote.
"I have had nothing but positive experiences at all of the district schools my kids have attended and am a strong supporter of our public schools, so this incident caught me by surprise."
"As a strong advocate for women, and particularly survivors of sexual assault, the message that somehow a woman's wardrobe is responsible for a man's behavior is wrong. In any form. And I am hopeful this will be used as an opportunity to provide further sensitivity training to staff and students," McKinlay wrote.
"My daughter indeed violated her school's dress code and she will bear the consequences of that."
"But such a violation never warrants the experience she had yesterday. Many thanks to the principal and school board for being so responsive."
"Palm Beach County is lucky to have such good leaders in our schools."
[H/T: My Palm Beach Post]