A Minnesota mom is upset that her 5-year-old kindergartner was forced to change her outfit at school due to “privacy.” Emily Stewart wrote a post and shared it on “Love What Matters,” detailing her daughter’s experience.
Since the weather warmed up a week after a snowstorm, she decided to let the girl wear a sundress over some jeans and sent her to school wearing a sweater. Stewart’s daughter was excited because it was a dress her grandmother bought for her.
When she was picked up from school that afternoon however, she was wearing a t-shirt. Stewart learned that the teacher sent her to the nurse, who then explained the child needed to cover up for privacy.
In the post, the mom stated that she didn’t want to “bash the school,” but start a discussion about how to balance a child’s sense of body confidence with adult standards. Stewart feels like her daughter (and other kids) was being shamed and sexualized about the bare parts of her body – like shoulders, and questioned if it is really productive.
She asked why should a girl be asked to cover her shoulders “for privacy,” why the outfit was inappropriate, and if the school should be making a fuss over this versus focusing on education. Additionally, she did not like how the encounter made her daughter feel.
“She said, ‘I was told I had to put something on because I need privacy.’
I then asked, ‘How did that make you feel when they told you that?’ She started bawling.
She was excited to wear that dress to school and show her friends and play in it on the playground.
She said to me, ‘I don’t know why they told me I couldn’t wear my dress. It was super embarrassing.’”
Parents who send their children to school are usually aware if they have to wear uniforms or if there is a dress code, but there are times when such rules are vague, unenforced, or challenged. It was not mentioned in the post if the school has a dress code policy, but many commenters were wondering.
Some suggested that the nurse or teacher could have used different language to let the little girl know her dress was lovely but she could not wear it to school – either at all or without a sweater. Considering she is 5, they would have liked to see her feelings taken into consideration and not made her cry.
Some people said that a simple reminder note sent home to the parent would have sufficed. Telling a little girl she needs to cover up seemed a bit harsh. Still, many think that spaghetti straps should be okay for a 5-year-old. Your thoughts?
Quiet battles are being had over school dress code policies that seem to unfairly target girls, and there are also disagreements over what should be allowable based on wild style trends, the weather, body types, and gender.
This mom wants to know how she is supposed to encourage her daughter to celebrate her body as it is when other adults may be sending a conflicting message. Everyone has an opinion or position.
How would you have handled this situation? Do you think the dress is okay for school?