School has barely started, and dress code violations are already out of control. And by out of control, I’m referring to how schools are mishandling dress code infractions — by publicly embarrassing students and even humiliating teen girls with something called a “shame suit.”
I don’t have a teenage daughter, but I remember being a teenage daughter quite well, not too long ago. I am now the mother of two sons, and still I find these dress code violation antics targeted at females to be ridiculous.
I can also tell you that if either of my sons was ever forced to wear a shame suit at school, I would be livid — like this Florida mother is. This mother’s teenage daughter was flagged for an unintentional dress code violation on the third day of high school in Orange Park, Florida.
A teen dress code violation is nothing new. In cases like these, school policy provided three options for the breach. The student can stay in their clothes and go to in-school suspension, they can wait for a parent to bring them new clothes or they can wear sweats and a T-shirt provided by the school as punishment and head back to class.
Fifteen-year-old Miranda Larkin claims that she was only given option number three, aka the shame suit. Sweats and a T-shirt seem innocent enough to replace a short skirt, but the branding of this shame suit is problematic. Miranda was told by the school nurse to wear a neon yellow T-shirt that said “DRESS CODE VIOLATION” with red sweatpants.
Miranda’s mother did not like her treatment one bit, and neither do I. According to her mother, “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.”
Part of the issue stems from the fact that Miranda was allegedly given no other options for her violation. The other part of the issue is that this teen was basically required to wear a scarlet letter around campus advertising her “sins.”
Miranda’s mother plans to file a complaint with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act for unnecessary public discipline. The school needs to re-examine their dress code violation policy. Humiliation is never an effective form of punishment.