PLEASANT VIEW, Utah (ABC 4 News) – A high school student says she felt humiliated to get turned away from a school dance — after being told by her principal that her dress violated the dress code.
Micaela Duran is a senior at Weber High School, and she was looking forward to her final high school dance.
“It was a peach dress — it had a low cut top,” said Duran.
“I felt beautiful in the dress, I felt great in the dress and I saw it as, like, a moment to really embrace myself in it,” added Duran.
It was a dress she had worn to a school assembly even before the dance.
“I wore it to school, everybody had already seen the dress,” said Duran.
But on Saturday night, when she arrived at the dance, her principal told her that she needed to cover up — or she couldn’t go in the dance.
“In that moment I felt very vulnerable, and I felt as if they were shaming me for my body,” said Duran.
In a statement, the Weber School District called the dress “…a low-cut dress that was determined to be immodest and in violation of the dress code.”
“If a student refused to comply, they could be asked to leave, but this was not the case in this situation.”
Duran left the dance.
“I was really upset at that point, so I walked outside, crying, with one of my friends,” said Duran.
She says she left in protest, even though she could have covered up and still gone in.
“I didn’t want to go all the way home, 40 minutes, to find something to cover up my dress,” said Duran.
Duran calls the experience humiliating. Still, she says, by taking her story to social media she found out she’s not alone.
“I’ve had several girls reach out to me because they’ve experienced a dress code violation that left them feeling humiliated and vulnerable, too, and it’s nice knowing I’m not the only one,” said Duran.
FULL STATEMENT FROM SCHOOL DISTRICT:
The Weber School District has specific student dress codes in place at each of our schools.
These dress codes also apply to extra-curricular activities like dances; however, the school’s administration has the ultimate discretion in enforcing the code.
Recently, a student at Weber High School came to a dance wearing a low-cut dress that was determined to be immodest and in violation of the dress code. The principal of the school talked with the student about her attire. She was told it was in violation and that she needed to cover up with something like a sweater or a jacket. The student and her friends took exception to this request and voluntarily left the dance in protest of the principal’s request.
It’s not uncommon for school officials to deal with dress code violations at school activities. In fact, there were several other students in violation at this particular dance. One male student had taken off his shirt and was dancing with just his vest on. Three other male students had unbuttoned their shirts exposing their chests. School officials contacted each one of these students, pointed out the dress code violation, and asked them to fix the problem. All of them complied.
It’s rare that a student would be asked to leave an activity. School officials even go as far as providing safety pins, t-shirts and other attire to students to help correct the problem. If a student refused to comply, they could be asked to leave, but this was not the case in this situation.
The Weber School District asks students to please respect the dress code and to conduct themselves with dignity at school and at all school-related activities. Students do not have the right to wear whatever they want or to act however they want, and school officials reserve the right to address any violations.