“First impressions, you know… They’re really important,” 15-year-old Miranda Larkin told reporters, after her new school humiliated her with what she wryly calls a “shame suit.”
USA Today reports Larkin’s teacher at Oakleaf High School, in Jacksonville, Florida, sent her to the school nurse because her skirt was “too short.” The nurse then proceeded to slut-shame her by having her remove the offending outfit, and put on the most hideous fashion ensemble ever: A day-glow yellow T-shirt and bright red track pants with the words “DRESS CODE VIOLATION” stenciled across them in huge letters.
At this point, a teenage girl either bursts into tears, starts a new band called “Dress Code Violation,” or finds a way to totally rock that shame suit. Larkin chose the latter option, as shown in her courageous selfie shown below.
As you can see, the “shame suit” constitutes a peculiarly vicious form of cruel and unusual punishment: Fluorescent yellow makes most skin tones look ghastly.
According to USA Today students the school offers three options for dress code violations, but Larkin claims she was only given the option of wearing the shame suit.
A Clay County School District representative says students who violate the dress code are given the option to stay in their clothes and go to in-school suspension, wear the sweats and T-shirt as punishment and go to class, or arrange for someone to bring them other clothes. Larkin says she was only given one option.
In the end, Larkin’s appalled mother picked her up, and angrily told reporters that the “shame suit” was utterly humiliating:
“She put on the outfit in the bathroom and looked at herself in the mirror and just broke down. She started sobbing and broke out in hives.”
Not only that, but Dianna Larkin also believes the “shame suit” violates students’ privacy rights:
“I feel that by putting a kid in an outfit that says what they did wrong across their chest and down their leg is taking their private records and making them public and that’s a clear violation of their privacy rights.”
Because Oakleaf High School sought to make Larkin’s discipline public, her mother is filing a complaint as per the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
The school’s idiot school board attorney claims there’s nothing wrong with the policy, because students with dress code violations aren’t supposed to actually wear the outfit. The outfit is meant to encourage students to change their clothes and get back to school as soon as possible.
“(The outfit) is not displaying a discipline record to the public. If we took off the words the other students would still know that the prison orange T-shirts were for dress code violations. I think that the practice is OK.”
But there’s a major problem with that train of logic: What if no adults are around to bring the student a dress-code compliant outfit?
There’s also another major problem: As an overprotective mom with a daughter in middle school, this writer cannot see anything wrong with Larkin’s outfit. Her top is fitted but modest with ample coverage, and the skirt is well below “fingertip length” — a common school dress code guideline that requires the hems of dresses, skirts, and shorts to fall just below the students’ fingertips when they’re standing up straight with their arms resting at their sides. For most of us, that’s mid-thigh.
The hems of boys’ and men’s shorts also often fall at fingertip length, which makes this writer wonder whether a 15-year-old boy also would have been cited with a dress code violation if he came to school wearing shorts.