JACKSONVILLE, Florida (WJXT)-
A mother says her daughter’s school made her wear a “shame suit” for allegedly violating the dress code, and the punishment amounts to bullying.
Miranda Larkin is 15 years old, and was wearing a black skirt on her third day of school.
Larkin says when she got to school, she was “coded”. According to her high school’s standards, a skirt is supposed to be knee length or longer. She says a teacher sent her to the nurse’s office and she was made to change into the “shame suit” – oversized red sweatpants and a neon yellow shirt, both stamped with the words “Dress Code Violation”.
“I couldn’t stand the thought of people staring at me because i was wearing some insane outfit,” Larkin said.
The teen broke out into hives, and called her mom from the bathroom crying.
“I actually had to get her medication for the hives. she was completely devastated. I don’t know a better word. She was completely humiliated and devastated, and for a mom, that’s awful,” Dianna Larkin, Miranda’s mom, said.
The school district says students who violate the dress code are given three options: an immediate in-school suspension, have parents drop off proper clothing to change in to, or wear the “dress code violation” clothes provided by the school.
Larkin says she was only told to put on the embarrassing clothes.
“I said ‘my grandma is going to come get me’ and she says well if you’re grandma comes and picks you up, we’re going to have to suspend you. We’re going to have to put you in two-day in-school suspension,” Larkin said.
An attorney for the school district released a statement, that reads, in part: “None of us see this a FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) violation as it is not a personally identifiable student record. Additionally it is not displaying a discipline record to the public. If we put the kid on work detail, all students would know that he/she is being disciplined.”
“I don’t have a problem with punishing kids. If you don’t like the rule, tough. You follow the rule. You have to get punished if you don’t. But punishment shouldn’t involve humiliation, it shouldn’t, ever. You wouldn’t do that to an adult, why would you do that to a kid?” Miranda’s mom said.
The school district spokesman says students and parents are reminded of the dress code in five different ways at the beginning of the school year. They said the purpose of the punishment is for students to miss as little class as possible and create a distraction-free learning environment. Larkin’s mom is seeking legal counsel and filing a complaint with the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act.