Marrero, LA.- At least twenty female students missed their prom at L. W. Higgins High School after being denied entrance on Friday evening for violating the school’s dress code. While students and parents remain upset, the school district believes the fault lies with the students, not the policy.
Judy Gardner, one of the advisors for senior activities, turned away twenty to twenty five girls from the prom for revealing dresses. Violations centered around alleged displays of excessive cleavage. Girls that were found to have revealing dresses were denied entry along with their dates.
Student objections seem to center on the unclear enforcement of the rules. One high school senior, Miranda Melerine was embarrassed when she was barred from the prom. During an interview, she stated that she believes she was denied entry because of her large chest. She cited the difficulty of finding a dress to fit a larger chest.
Furthermore, Melerine claims that Gardner had seen a picture of the dress previous to the night of the prom and had offered no objections. Gardner has not been reached for comment and told one local news organization that she could not talk to the press.
Earlis Fayette’s date was also turned away at the door due to her dress. He stated that the ruling unfairly focused on students with larger chests and felt that it was a case of discrimination.
Many parents are also upset by the way the situation was handled. Some parents that received phone calls about the situation went to the prom venue, but Gardner would not talk to them.
Despite the dismay of parents and students, Jefferson Parish school spokesman Jeff Nowakowski said that they agreed with Gardner’s decision to refuse admittance to some students.
He cited the student handbook which parents are required to sign that includes a section on dress code. Included in the dress code is the statement: “A student will not wear clothing that exposes the student’s back, chest or midriff.”
The dress code also prohibits fish nets and sheer clothing. The code applies district wide and has been in effect for a number of years. Nowakowski said that the code indicates the entire breast must be covered; a standard that was not met by some students seeking admittance to the prom.
According to Nowakowski, the students were told they could alter their dresses to adhere to the dress code and return to the prom. Other students reportedly altered their dresses and gained admittance.
Fox News: Retrieved April 15, 2007 from http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,266231,00.html
MSNBC: Retrieved April 15, 2007 from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18109058/