Back in my day, school dress code violations were meant to keep us from wearing jeans that were either big enough to swallow us whole or so tight that you spent 10 minutes taking them off. Today, they’re apparently meant to keep students from attending their own graduation. NBC Charlotte reports that a senior at Hickory Ridge High School, only identified as Summer, won’t be able to attend her own graduation because of a dress code violation that’s been mishandled from the start.
While eating lunch in the cafeteria, the school principal asked Summer to put on a jacket because her green shirt was exposing parts of her back and shoulders. Summer responded by saying, “I think my shirt is fine”. The two went back and forth for a while before Summer put on someone else’s jacket.
The drama didn’t end there, however, as Summer was then instructed to go to to the control room and change clothes. Given the history between Summer and the school principal, she refused to go anywhere until her mother was called.
“[The SRO] was within five feet of me, he had his hand on his gun,” she told NBC. “[The principal] said ‘I’m gonna give you an ultimatum. We have tried to call your mother. You either come with me to the control room to change your shirt or we will arrest you.”
“I stayed in my seat just like a lot of role models that I have looked up to stayed in their seats,”she continued. “I mean, you have to stand up for what you believe in.”
Now, Summer’s been suspended and banned from all year-end activities. Including walking in her own graduation. At least until school officials buckles to the public pressure and admit they overreacted.
Note: If you didn’t notice, this story didn’t mention Summer’s status as an honor roll student with multiple scholarships until now. That was intentional. Multiple media outlets who have run this story have chosen to highlight the fact that she’s an honor roll student as if that makes her mistreatment somewhat worse than it would be if she weren’t. That’s a faulty way of thinking and an extension of how many people fall through the cracks.
Like Jordan Edwards, Summer’s academic success should absolutely be applauded. But it shouldn’t play a role in her mistreatment at the hands of school officials being viewed as unacceptable. It happening is unacceptable. You should have just as much of a problem if a student is practically a dropout and only goes comes in one day out of the year but is mistreated on that one day. If we’re not willing to treat both situations with the same amount of concern, we’re only contributing to a system that constantly tries to ignore the situations it doesn’t want to bother with.