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High School Student Asked to Kneel Before Principal to Have Her Dress Measured

In what is perhaps the most stunning case of irony (plus complete and utter grossness), a principal at Edmonson County High School in Kentucky forced a teenager to kneel in front of him in order to ascertain if she was in breach of school dress code. Yeah, go ahead and read that again. Parse it slowly. Because it’s something that actually happened.

Here’s the story, as BuzzFeed tells it: high school senior Amanda Durbin staged a “mature protest,” wherein the girls of the school wore clothing that was against the school dress code. Durbin wore a sweater dress that she measured at 5 inches above the knee–well within the rule of the “six inches above the knee” guideline the school has. She also wore leggings, which the school didn’t allow.

Halfway through the day, she was asked to go to the principal’s office. She did so, and principal Tommy Hodges told her to kneel so he could measure the length of her dress. Even after finding out that she was not out of code with regards to the dress, Hodges remained dissatisfied. He told her to walk across the room with her hands up and then kneel again for another measurement.

First off: what the actual hell? You already measured once and things were fine, what could you possibly be trying to do, asking a young girl to walk across the room with her arms up–oh, wait. I know what he was trying to do: be a gross skeeze.

Think about it: she’s sent in there because a teacher thought her skirt was too short. Let’s set aside the idea of how messed up that is just for now. So after measuring and finding out that her skirt was fine, you try to get her to raise her arms (which isn’t how people walk) to… see if anything peeks out? What was the point of that?!

To make things worse, Durbin initially refused to kneel in front of the principal. She felt uncomfortable, so she requested her parents be present. They granted her request, but it took her parents about two hours to get there–two hours of missed class, all over a perceived infraction of a rule that is totally bull in the first place. Great.

Despite all that, it turns out her dress did indeed ride up and she was sent home when the hem of her dress was measured at eight inches above the knee.

The school’s actions have garnered much attention, though there has been no official response yet.

Bottom line: policing girls’ bodies and the clothes they wear because of some misplaced sense of modesty or on the basis of “distraction” is essentially a prioritization of the experiences of male students over female students. It’s sexist and gross and what this principal did in making her kneel and walk across the room in an unnatural fashion is just gross, greasy icing on a disgusting, moldy, dried out cake.

(via Mic)

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Jessica Lachenal is a writer who doesn’t talk about herself a lot, so she isn’t quite sure how biographical info panels should work. But here we go anyway. She's the Weekend Editor for The Mary Sue, a Contributing Writer for The Bold Italic (thebolditalic.com), and a Staff Writer for Spinning Platters (spinningplatters.com). She's also been featured in Model View Culture and Frontiers LA magazine, and on Autostraddle. She hopes this has been as awkward for you as it has been for her.