Student, 15, Humiliated Over Dress Code Violation: Viral Tweets & Details

Already self-conscious about her body, 15-year-old high school student Courtney Robertson feels worse than ever after she was sent home for wearing a pair of short overalls that school authorities said violated their dress code. On April 22, 2019, Robertson walked into the Lawrence County High School of Kentucky finally feeling confident enough to expose her arms and legs in a tee-shirt and white denim short overalls.


No More Positive Body Image

Courtney Robertson

Twitter/dailymail.co.uk/Courtney Robertson

Robertson’s positive body image was stopped in its path when a female teacher posed the rhetorical question, “do you know we have a dress code?” Robertson responded that she had followed the dress code, to which her teacher callously responded, “I don’t care,” then promptly sent her to the office where she spent the rest of the morning weeping as she waited to go home. While in the office, the school’s Vice Principal stopped by to reiterate the teacher’s comments, stating that Robertson’s overalls were too short for school, leaving Robertson stunned.


The Rulebook

The school’s Principal Christy Moore shared the school’s official dress code with Yahoo Lifestyle, which includes a rule that shorts and skirts cannot be more than three inches above the knee. However specific this rule is, no school authority measured how many inches above the knee Robertson’s overalls lay, making the specificity of the rule moot and subject to personal bias.


Robertson Takes To Twitter

Robertson took to Twitter to voice her dismay, speaking up about the incident and its negative impact on her already fragile self-esteem. Robertson states that her teacher’s tone and hostility made her feel as though her body was disgusting.

Tweet from Courtney Robertson

Twitter/dailymail.co.uk/Courtney Robertson

Robertson also took to Twitter to criticize the school’s inconsistency when it comes to disciplining students who violate the dress code.

Tweet from Courtney Robertson

Twitter/dailymail.co.uk/Courtney Robertson

The inconsistency Robertson marks her awareness of contributes to her feelings of personal humiliation at the incident. Observing other students escape reprimand for similar or worse violations of the school’s dress code has left Robertson feeling personally targeted for a body she is continually being taught to hide and revile.


The Internet Reacts

While some of the Internet has rallied around Robertson and defended her outfit as more than appropriate for a school environment, others have taken to insulting both the 15-year-old’s body and reaction to the situation.

https://twitter.com/DavidMi81249210/status/1120733861925642241

One Twitter user even accused Robertson of looking for Internet fame, detracting from the vulnerability Robertson exposed herself to for the sake of drawing attention to the existence of a system that humiliates women’s bodies.

https://twitter.com/doesnt_your/status/1120702851418869763

The larger issue unearthed by this incident is the shame that is systematically enforced to surround women’s relationships with their bodies. One Twitter user responded to the negative comment left by David Miller, maligning his attitude toward women’s bodies and pinpointing it as a cause for women’s body image issues.

https://twitter.com/SirKuno/status/1120749888625623040


Shamed Out Of High School, Shamed Off Of Twitter

Online bullying from Twitter users like David Miller has led Robertson to deactivate her Twitter account. What is needed to remedy situations like this in the future is not a more lenient dress code or more consistency but an environment that fosters security and confidence in one’s self rather than uncertainty over who will be punished and shame for those who are. If centers of education and their educators begin to enforce self-love among their students, perhaps adults and adolescents alike will begin to embody the ideals of body positivity.

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