School Dress Code – No Fat Chicks

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Brookhaven Elementary school in Mississippi prioritized students not seeing a 9 year old girl in a “too snug” t-shirt, over that girl’s education.  She was removed from her classroom and put into in school suspension her mother then brought another outfit which was also deemed inappropriate.  The school has verified that they are standing by their decision.

Let’s start with pictures of the “offensive” outfits:


According to the family, the school’s issue with both outfits was that the shirts were too tight and “Because of my nieces’ body, if she wears a larger shirt it comes past her knees, which is in violation of the dress code.”  According to The Daily Leader, the school’s dress code states that:

“…all tops must be size appropriate and should neither be overly baggy nor overly tight” and that “tights or legging/jeggings worn as outerwear, spandex, bike shorts, bathing/swimming wear, sleep wear (including pajamas). are not permitted.”

First of all, the idea that clothes are “size appropriate” is super messed up (as we discussed regarding prom fat shaming  here and here) and the fact that they wrote fat shaming right into their dress code should tell us a lot. This takes the issues in which dress codes are used to sexualize girls and prioritize boys having a “distraction free environment” over girls getting an education, and adds fat shaming to that mix. These dress codes also fail to take into account the difficulties of finding (and affording) clothes for fat kids that the kids like and that aren’t “too loose,” aren’t “too tight” etc.

But mostly what I want to say is that this kid is fricking nine years old and she deserves to be able to go to school to learn in pants and a t-shirt without having to worry about being dragged out of class in front of her peers and put into in school suspension because of a ridiculous fat shaming dress code and the sizeist teachers and administrators who choose how and when to enforce it.

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16 thoughts on “School Dress Code – No Fat Chicks

  1. Enraging but also heartbreaking… Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the Rogers network. From: Dances With FatSent: Monday, September 19, 2016 9:06 AMTo: szimmerman416@gmail.comReply To: Dances With FatSubject: [New post] School Dress Code – No Fat Chicks

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    danceswithfat posted: ”

    Brookhaven Elementary school in Mississippi prioritized students not seeing a 9 year old girl in a “too snug” t-shirt, over that girl’s education.  She was removed from her classroom and put into in school suspension her mother then brought another outf”

  2. I read a few other articles on this, and here’s some details I found:

    -The kind of outfit they wanted her to change into would have *also* violated their dress code. Let me repeat that: they wanted her to violate their dress code so she wouldn’t violate their dress code.

    -They didn’t follow protocol in dealing with her case. According to their handbook, students who violate the dress code are to be sent to the office. The girl was suspended instead. She was singled out and treated differently against the school’s own rules, and no, a teacher *saying* the faculty didn’t break the rules doesn’t rewrite reality and undo the rule breakage.

    -Outfits must be “size appropriate?” So they basically admit right in their dress code there are different rules for differently-sized children and what those rules are is based entirely on the “better judgment” (ie, biases and caprices) of the staff?

    The only logical conclusion: this isn’t Brookhaven, Mississippi, but Brookhaven, Silent Hill.

  3. I hope that mother contacts a lawyer! Ragen, do you have access to a list of lawyers who are body positive and supportive of civil rights for people who are being downtrodden due to fat bigotry?

    I’m sure the original concern about the clothing policy was to avoid having the gang style drooping pant on boys and the concerns of too tight leggings leaving nothing to the imagination and for tight shirts exposing breasts. I understand that many of you don’t even agree with that description of “why” to have a dress code. Please don’t attack or flame me for expressing this….I worked in those environments and I have experienced dealing with those kinds of policies. I did not write them.

    1. Sorry, I got distracted and didn’t realize I hadn’t finished my train of thought. What I was getting at is this: the school was likely more focused on issues like I stated above than picking on fat people and how they look in tight clothing.

    1. Yeah, mine too. I was a little fatter at 9… It’s weird, everything started in that year. They measured us (height, weight) and the scale almost broke because they didn’t think a fat girl would be there. After this, I went out to run for the first time thinking I have to lose weight. I was alone and 9 years old. Out in the streets, running. (My parents worked, and I was so ashamed, I never told them these.) I’m 24 now and that one experience is still so clear in my memories… and I just felt everything again, reading this story… I hope this little girl will be able to cope with this fatphobic shit. 😦

      1. Something similar happened to me, but I was a couple of years older, like 12 or so, and I told my mom that I was going out for a run. I found that I actually LIKED running when it wasn’t on a track, and was going to do it again. Then I got cat called by frat bros, and never went running again. It was too scary, and filled me with shame.

  4. DISGUSTING!!! This is where body shaming starts;right at school.Education should be a priority,NOT a student’s size!!

  5. As a fat girl growing up it was EXTREMELY hard to find age appropriate clothing that fit me properly. The VAST majority of my clothing was either tight or loose on me (two things that aren’t allowed by that school). We were also poor so whatever we could find at the local thrift stores that would cover my body that was age appropriate is what we’d get. And that often meant clothes that were snug or a bit baggy. I know a lot of people are in the same type of situations that I was in growing up – but do schools that pass rules like this even think about that …or care? Nope. This not only stinks of sizism but classism as well.

  6. Hmmmm. I wonder if the “size appropriate” language was written more to address the five sizes too big/saggy pants some kids like to wear. However, the context of how it is being applied here sure seems sizist to me. Those clothes don’t seem inappropriate. They’d be fine at my kids’ schools. And how they handled it? Suspending her????? Not appropriate at all.

  7. In addition to the shaming and humiliation that this girl faced, another tragic thing has occurred. The other children have now seen sanctioned bullying demonstrated by “responsible adults.” The school administrators and teachers have taught an entire school full of children that it is okay to discriminate based on how someone looks. That this type of bullying is for her own good. Awesome.

  8. Ugh, it seems obvious that no matter what she wears, her body isn’t going to fit the dress code the way they’re interpreting it. I’m also confused because it says leggings aren’t allowed and it looks like she’s wearing leggings with both shirts.

  9. This is so sad. At that age there are very few children that could be wearing “too tight” clothing that will make a child look “inappropriate” the way this dress code was supposed to address. And when it’s just a fat girl and it’s too tight on her belly that is an abuse of a dress code.

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