TOOELE, Utah (ABC 4 News) – Stansbury High School principal Kendall Topham is apologizing for his school's actions during the Sept., 29 homecoming dance.
School leaders turned away two-thirds of the girls because their dresses were too short even though they came to just below the knee, according to several students who talked with ABC 4.
School principal Topham says the problem stems from an unclear dress code policy.
“I apologize for the lack of specificity and ambiguity about that,”Topham said.
“My date and I looked at each other. I thought (my dress) was appropriate,” said Callie Orcutt who was turned away from the dance.
Most of the students who were turned away found other things to do. A small group held a dance in a nearby parking lot by circling their cars and blasting radios.
Others drove to malls to shop.
“I’m angry kind of pissed off because my homecoming was destroyed. It’s my first date, my first dance and it was destroyed,” said Trenton Griffin who was turned away from the dance with his date.
Stansbury High School’s official dress code policy for formal dances reads, “Dresses should be at or near knee length.” The ambiguity of this policy left school leaders to interpret what length is at or near the knee.
Some girls complained that they were turned away while others shorter dresses were allowed in.
“To leave something vague like, 'near the knee' that was just not specified and we just need to do a better job of specifying that,” said Topham.
Topham says he will take a few weeks to clarify what is and is not appropriate attire at formal dances.
ABC 4 also asked parents and students if they accept the apology.
“I do and I’m looking forward to this makeup dance,” said Griffin.
“I think it’s a good effort and I think it’s a good faith measure that the school is taking,” said Shelly Wolf who was turned away from the dance.
“I think a makeup dance is nice. The only thing is I hope the girls wouldn’t have to go and buy all new dresses,” said parents, Tiffany Ekins.
Ocrutt says she accepts the apology but, “I’m still upset that I didn’t get to go to the original home coming dance.”