LANSING, Kansas – A girl's outfit is at the center of a controversy in Lansing, Kansas, after the student's mother posted on social media, according to WDAF-TV.
Her daughter, 11-year-old Bella, wore a tunic top and a pair of patterned leggings to Lansing Middle School Wednesday. School staff sent the sixth-grader to the office for a dress code violation, according to her mother, Kimberly Jones.
Community Relations Coordinator Ninevah Carvan said, "The nurse informed me that she measured all the way around the dress or the shirt and it wasn't the sides, in was in front and in the back where it was too short."
However, school dress code policy says if it's a "shirt" violation, a student will be given a T-shirt to wear. Instead, the nurse made Bella wear sweatpants, which are given out when there is a problem with "shorts or pants."
Jones said her daughter was told it was because she wore leggings, which weren't listed as forbidden clothing items in the school's dress code rules. The policy did say that "Clothing that is revealing or is suggestive may not be worn."
On Thursday, the school posted a new dress code policy specifically outlawing leggings.
Jones said the nurse told Bella, "You're not allowed to call your mom and you cannot change. She cannot bring you clothes. You need to go back to class and you have to wear these borrowed sweatpants.'"
"The sweatpants are just gray athletic sweatpants," Carvan said, adding that new pairs are bought each year for such situations.
"We don't allow students to call home because sometimes we can have students sitting in the office for an hour waiting for their parents to come up with a change of clothes," Carvan said.
Bella broke the rules and texted her mother, who came to the school. Jones said the principal, Kerry Brungardt, told her Bella must wear the borrowed sweatpants all day or go home. Brungardt didn't talk with FOX 4 on camera, but Carvan denied that the principal said that. The district claims Brungardt gave her the option to change and come back to class.
"If I could come up as a parent and bring her a change of clothes and the clothing was no longer an issue, why in the world would you want to humiliate her all day like that?" Jones said.
"It is not intended to be a punishment in any way, fashion, or form. They just want to make sure when students do have a dress code violation, that they can quickly return back to class," Carvan said.
Beyond the dress code, Jones says she is more upset that no one from the school called her.
"My number one issue with this whole situation is one that my minor, my 11-year-old, was told that she could not contact her mother when there was an issue," Jones said.
The district said a parent came to the school before the call was made, but also said in the future, staff will reach out sooner.
"Just moving forward we will make sure and confirm ... that parents are contacted and aware if there are any issues at school," Carvan said.
Jones took to social media Wednesday night. Her post has been shared hundreds of times and has garnered comments from people in different states and countries. At one point the district disabled the comment feature on Facebook but has since re-enabled comments.