For teenagers and even adults, the way you dress says a lot about who you are. Hair, makeup, and fashion trends are a way for self-expression. However, most schools don’t facilitate this type of self-exploration nor do they appreciate the efforts students put into their outfits. With that being said, schools are creating stricter dress codes that students aren’t too happy with.
California teenager Demetra Alarcon was called out of class and sent to the principal’s office. The young girl was utterly confused since she hadn’t done anything wrong, at least she wasn’t aware of what she had done. Next thing she knew they were calling her dad. When he arrived, he was told what she had done, then they both burst into tears.
When the school administrators told this dad why they singled out his daughter, his jaw dropped in disbelief. He listened to them as they berated his daughter, but enough was enough. This was not right. He pulled up his sleeves and got ready for a fight. There was no way he was going to let this injustice continue.
The Concerned Dad
Tony Alarcon was not the sort of man who would take things lying down. He is a real estate mogul and investment banker, so he was used to getting what he wanted. What this school had to say about his child was unacceptable. There was no way he was going to let it go when they made his little girl cry!
Demetra, his daughter, was embarrassed to have been singled out on that particular day. Even though this was not a unique situation, it was still embarrassing for the young woman. When she chose an outfit that morning, she did think there was something wrong with it. What was the problem here?
Even though schools differ in dress code policies, her school did not have a uniform. The only guideline they had was that students had to be modest. It was a sweltering morning in California, and Demetra dressed accordingly. She had no idea that her clothes would cause such a huge stink!
Her outfit became the talk of the town overnight. She soon found herself surrounded by public outcry and media attention. After all, she did not wear anything unusual whatsoever. Besides, how did they expect her to dress when it was so hot? The attention was not the only thing her outfit gave her.
A Hot Day
You will find Raymond J. Fisher Middle School in Los Gatos, California. It was a very hot day, so she put on a blue romper to be comfy as she went about the day. In the end, something about it would start this mess. Her teacher called her out in the first period. The principal then called her dad, which was a mistake!
The principal gave him two options. He could get Demetra right away, or he could drop by and give her a change of clothes. He could not believe what he just heard. He did not see anything unusual about what her daughter was wearing. He would now. After all, he drove her to school just that morning.
Change Of Clothes
Tony was seething, but he brought Demetra a change of clothes. He went through her drawers and took out something he believed was appropriate. He went with a pair of denim shorts and a tank top for her. He then went to the school and found his daughter at the gate waiting for him with a tear-streaked face!
Demetra changed out of her original outfit into the clothes her dad brought her. However, the principal said that it was still inappropriate. Tony was furious now. He asked them what exactly the problem was. He made his daughter bend over to exhibit that she was covered adequately. What was the real issue?
Stood Up For Her
Tony was not satisfied with what the administrator told him, so he forced them to give him the reason his daughter was singled out. He had a creeping suspicion, but he did not think it could possibly be true. While he was prepared for the answer, he could not help but get angry when they told him at last.
It All Started With A Blue Romper
It was a normal day when Demetra pulled out a simple blue romper from her closet. She could have never foreseen the chaos it would have caused. And even worse, that the new outfit her dad brought her was STILL seen as inappropriate.
The school administrator told him that her dress code violation was not an issue of modesty but one of length. She went on to say that the romper his daughter wore as well as the shorts he brought her failure to pass the “fingertip test.” Despite this, Tony could still tell that this was not the whole story.
He went on to say that there were other girls who had similar outfits on. He saw a number of them when he pulled his car into the parking lot. How come they did not get pulled from class like Demetra was? And what was this “fingertip test”? Tony was starting to get angrier as this meeting went on.
The school administrator told him that the “fingertip test” is the standard they follow in the school. Tony told his daughter to relax and just let her arms rest on her sides. However, the hem of the shorts fell below her fingertips! The administrator quickly came up with another reason since this was debunked.
The Real Problem
It seemed like the school administrator was insinuating something about his daughter. Tony could not believe what he just heard. This father asked her to repeat what she just said. Go figure. The reason that Demetra got pulled out of class not because of her outfit, but because of the boys in her class.
Not Her Fault
Clearly, the school administrator regretted her words as soon as she said it. Tony felt smug. He now knew the reason they had such a big problem with how his daughter looked. He was not going to take this lightly either, however. After all, they chose to punish her because the boys got distracted by her.
Change Or Get Out
The administrator then said that the only way his daughter could go to class if he got her leggings. Yes, they wanted her to cover up in this 90-degree heat. The father and daughter could not believe just how unfair they were being. Demetra felt bullied, and Tony agreed. What was going to happen now?
Their Double Standards
Demetra pointed out that the dress code never got enforced on the boys. The example she gave was the hats they were. Even though this was forbidden in class, the boys continued to wear them. Not once did they get singled out in front of the class and had their parents come in. Tony had something else to say.
Tony tried to put off his anger and pointed out just how many other students did not follow the rules. He saw this from the parking lot himself. According to him, it was not fair for them to keep a closer look at the girls and let the boys get off easily. Aside from this, he had one other point to make.
On such a hot day, why would they want the girls to put on leggings? He said that the dress code did not make it suitable for hot weather. He felt that they should be lenient since there was nothing they could do about the temperature. The girls only wanted to be comfortable when they went to school!
What They Said
Tony gathered his daughter’s friends to talk about what they thought. It was a good thing that they did not disappoint. Nearly everyone he asked said that the system was wrong, and the dress code was unfair. They were asked to cover up in the summer just because the boys could not control themselves.
Talking To The Media
This angry father talked to the media about what was going on. He appeared on Today and local news reports. He expressed his concerns, especially about the way they made Demetra feel. He also said that she just wanted to be comfortable and nothing else. It did not stop them from pulling her out of class.
When they asked him about a solution to this, Tony said that it should not be up to the teachers to choose what was and was not appropriate for the kids. He said that this is something that should lie with the parents of the students. His opinion was now gaining traction, so he chose to go public about it.
Her father was so angry with the situation that he went to the site NextDoor.com for advice. He was interested to see what other people in the community felt about the rules. He never expected the reaction that he received.
Loads of people from the community reached out to support this dad and his daughter. They all agreed the dress code was too strict and draws attention to body issues that many women deal with.
He felt that such a strict dress code could cause emotional issues and cause young girls to question their bodies and appearances. Today he is speaking out against the school’s enforcement and will do anything to protect his daughter as well as other young girls.
He had a number of proposed amendments to the dress code of the school. For him, it is reasonable if the rules include “underwear and midriffs could not be visible” and “no shirts with spaghetti straps.” What he did not know that this was barely the tip of the iceberg. This issue was not an isolated case.
Many expressed support for him and said that he uncovered the issue of female objectification and body image. There were also those who said that no restrictions could ruin the state of the educational system.
Not Letting this Go
At any rate, this dad put an important issue in the spotlight that nobody paid attention to before. Everyone was soon talking about it and was infuriated. The whole community was interested in helping this father.
The school would soon respond to his accusations. They said that their dress code was there for the sake of keeping “reasonable decorum” in place. He did not back down and said that the school overreacted to her clothes.
Principal Fraser finally understood this was becoming too big of a problem decided to call a meeting. He conceded that it was time to compromise. Only time will tell us if things change. However, Demetra was not the only one to experience this.
Taking A Stand
Demetra and her father Tony have set an example for schools everywhere. Unless a student is deliberately violating the dress code, then they should not be punished for simply dressing weather appropriate. Shorts and a tank top is no reason to send a young girl home!
Prom night is the end-all for teenagers. The last hoorah with your high school friends. Tickets are purchased, limos are ordered, and hours are spent on hair and makeup. This is an important experience in every teenager’s life, but it was cut short for these two.
Clare and her boyfriend James were excited to go to “Twilight in Paris”, their home school prom. These teenagers felt good and looked amazing! They were thrilled to get the chance to unwind with their pals. He even got the tickets in advance. Nothing would take this night away from them… or so they thought.
Clare worked hard to find the perfect dress. It was a glittery number that she found.She bought the “gorgeous, silver, and sparkly” cocktail dress. Of course, she could not wait to put it on at the prom. She had no idea that this dress would bring her a lot of headaches.
For her, this was the perfect dress. She saved up the tips she got at work for months. It was a good thing that she found one she liked that was within her budget. At the time, she had no idea that this was going to be the subject of controversy. It had to pass the fingertip test. Was it going to make the cut or not?
More Than Just Prom
It was so exciting for Clare to go to prom because it was the first real high school experience she was going to have. She was nervous that the dress wouldn’t make it through the doors, but in the end, it did pass the fingertips test.
She noted that the dress code was fairly simple. It only asked the female students to wear semi-formal dresses at a fingertip length. It was a rather close call, but it passed the test. Clare felt confident about this dress. However, she had no idea that it was going to give her a lot of trouble on prom day itself.
“I’m all dolled up, channeling my inner Marilyn Monroe with my blonde hair and bright red lipstick,” recalled Clare in the post she put up on her sister’s blog. Before she could wear the dress and show it off, there was one more test she had to pass. The results came up short, however.
She tried wearing her outfit with various heels before she went out. This time around, the hem of her dress dangled close to the tips of her fingers. When she made exaggerated dance moves, it hiked up! However, there should be no problem if she kept her movements graceful. Let us hope this works.
When she got to the Methodist church where the dance was held, the administrators approached her. Even though she checked her outfit again and again, an organizer called Ann Duncan told her, “Honey, that dress is too short.” Clare was confident and unafraid when she told Mrs. Duncan, “What is the rule?”
Duncan told her, “Fingertip length.” Clare told her that her dress only looked short because she is tall and curvy with long legs. However, the older woman would not budge and told her it was inappropriate. It looked like Clare had no choice but to fight her way inside if she wanted to enjoy the prom.
Clare was not going to give up here. After she showed Duncan that the dress passed the fingertip test, she was allowed to enter the ballroom but not without a threat: “Well, make sure it stays pulled down. It’s too short.” Sadly for Clare, this was only the beginning of the real battle. It was not yet over.
Clare later said, “When I got into the ballroom I laughed, because I was surrounded by girls in much shorter dresses then me, albeit they were shorter, and therefore stood out less in the crowd, but it was still frustrating.” At the very least, she was instead. She was ready to have a good night, of course.
James said that the dance was rather awkward since it was chaperoned, unlike the years before that. He said that there were a lot of folks standing around in the center of the dance floor. The fact that the dads and chaperones looked down on them from the balcony made things more than a little uncomfortable.
As you can imagine, she and her friends felt uncomfortable. “I felt violated by the sheer number of male parents that were assigned to do nothing for five hours other then watch girls in short dresses and heels dance to upbeat music,” she said in the blog post.
She also expresses that it makes her sick to think that they are assigned to watch above from a balcony. It is sick that they look down on the students and wait to single them out for their clothing or dance moves.
Duncan called her and escorted her out of the dance floor. Was something wrong? “She took me into a corner in the hallway, with another woman – who I’m assuming was a parent chaperone.
She told me that some of the dads who were chaperoning had complained that my dancing was too provocative and that I was going to cause the young men at the prom to think impure thoughts,” she narrated.
Not Backing Down
Saying that the outfit brings “impure thoughts” is not that different from the way people say “she asked for it” about assault victims. After all, should this 17-year-old girl really be held responsible for the way these men felt? According to the administrators, the answer was yes. It was time for Clare to fight back.
Not Their Business
She was all fired up as she defended herself. She said that she was not even dancing and showed Mrs. Duncan that the dress she was wearing passed the fingertip test. “I never signed any documentation agreeing to adhere to any sort of dress code.
“The dress code that was verbally communicated to me was followed to the letter,” she added. Her friend tried to come to her defense, but Duncan only told them that it “was none of their business.” After this happened, James decided that enough was enough.
He told the school administrators, “That’s fine, she wasn’t doing anything wrong but if you’re kicking her out then the group that she came with is leaving too and you’ll need to refund all of our tickets.” They all demanded to get a refund on the $25 tickets. For Clare, the money was not enough apology for this.
They Fought Back
Their heated but respectful negotiations did not go anywhere. James tried to get the manager of the prom involved. At this point, Clare claimed that Mrs. Duncan was so enraged and repeatedly told her, “I will not debate with you about this!” When James pressed her buttons some more, she finally snapped and called on a chaperone to wrap up this mess.
Duncan asked security to escort them out, and Clare felt heartbroken. She had been waiting for this for such a long time, only for it to be such a mess. She was very upset as tears rolled down her face. Clare and her friends got thrown out “because I stuck out,” she wrote.
In Her Defense
“I have long legs and I was wearing a sparkly dress, I didn’t look like most of the 13-15-year-old girls there, I looked like a woman. I am so tired of people who abuse their power to make women feel violated and ashamed.”
Why Is She To Blame
She went on to say, “I was told that the way I dressed and moved my body was causing men to think inappropriately about me, implying that it is my responsibility to control other people’s thoughts and drives.”
It’s Her Fault
Clare argues that the school clearly stands by the idea that the responsibility for a man’s thoughts and actions lies with Clare and every other woman who does not meet their standard of
“appropriate.” Now, what kind of message does this send?
Time For Revenge
Mrs. Duncan called security to escort Clare, Jason, and their friends out of the school. Clare felt humiliated that she was thrown out of her own prom. To be honest she stated that she felt even abused. She didn’t think it was right that she was blamed for not looking like most teenagers, and instead had a figure that resembled a more voluptuous woman.
As they were escorted out, Clare spoke to the security guard and asked for their opinion. “I asked the security guy if my dress was compliant with the dress code and if he had noticed any inappropriateness in my behavior and he said he didn’t think I did anything to get kicked out but it wasn’t his call,” she narrated. The group was promised a refund, but Clare was the only one they returned money to.
Clare explained, “We walked out of the prom, frustrated and angry and feeling very disrespected and violated.” However, this was not the end of the story just yet. She decided to talk about the injustice she suffered by going online and talking about it. The women in the world sympathized with her situation.
A lot of angry people went to the Richmond Homeschool Prom Facebook page to show their disgust at what happened. The page has since been deleted. “The whole situation made me feel violated, walked over, and ostracized,” Clare said in a blog post. “How is it that what I look like and how I dress constitutes the level of respect you give me?” Mrs. Duncan told her side when she spoke to CBS News.
According to her, the dress was the right length when the young girl got there, but the spandex fabric made it ride up. Mrs. Duncan told WTVR, “It was right below her butt cheeks by the time I saw her.” She did not see Clare dancing but said the comments about the dads staring at her was unlikely. “It was very crowded,” she said. “There were 500 kids there, so to be able to even say what they were looking at would be really difficult.” Clare stands behind her blog post, however, and released a video in response.
“I was informed by more than one friend who stayed at the prom throughout the course of the evening that there was some truly dirty dancing,” Clare said, “and that there were several couples making out and grinding on the dance floor, and yet out of a group of 500 people, only one person, (me) got thrown out for inappropriate dancing.”
A student called Callie Hobs said, “I think both parties could have acted a little bit differently, obviously, but the way that it went down it was fine because people need to follow the rules.” According to her, Clare had been “grinding.” At any rate, Clare continues to stand up for herself. She has written about the prom and recapped the events of that night on video as well.
“When the lady kicked me out, they said the dads had complained about my dancing and that meant that they had to have been watching me,” she shot back. This 17-year-old girl thought she was getting targeted since she had a mature body than the others. “This is a message to girls built like me, who can’t find jeans that fit!” she wrote in the blog. “The girls with long legs, who are forced to prove that their dresses fit the dress code, just because they have more leg showing then most girls.”
I Don’t Have A Problem, You Do
Clare spoke out in her video that she was fed up with slut-shaming. Her tight and sparkly dress in no way gave the older men the right to look at her and blame her for their gross and inappropriate thoughts. It wasn’t fair that she was forced to leave because of their immaturity.
Different Body Types
It’s inevitable that some girls will always have cleavage when they bend over, because of their body types. Clare says that if people think her dress is the problem then they are actually the problem instead.
Clare was overwhelmed and surprised by the amount of support she received. Her video and blog went viral and she was so proud of herself for standing up for what she believed in. She refused to let anyone make her feel bad for her body type.
Despite the responses Clare received all over the internet, the Richmond Homeschool Prom has still not contacted Clare or her friends. Her boyfriend Jason and their friends have also not received any refund for their ticket, even though Duncan promised this.
A Society Problem
No matter what happens, she stands by the posts she made. She hopes that this incident will help people reexamine the dress codes in their communities. This case concerns both parents and kids. It also asks a dangerous but very important question. It has definitely brought up a mirror to society and asks us all about this culture that sexualizes young girls. What can parents do to stop this from continuing?
For every dance, whether its middle school, junior high, or high school prom, girls can always find dresses that are not age-appropriate. Typically they do this to look older. However the question stands, is it up to the school or parents to stop this?
The Fine Line
The important thing to understand is where exactly is the line between appropriate and inappropriate? Sometimes a dress can look over-sexualized on one girl, but modest on another. How do we decide, and who gets to make this decision?
Since The Event
Clare’s disastrous dress code experience has inspired many students across the world to speak out about their dress code incidences in their schools. Most US schools don’t require a uniform but they do require a dress code. What they don’t realize is that sometimes these rules are biased towards women.