School is barely back in session and already the age-old debate over dress codes has begun.
The latest front in the wardrobe wars is in Brookhaven, Miss., where educators are being slammed for "body shaming" a 9-year-old girl they yanked from class for wearing clothes they consider to be too tight. Now, it's the school that is being shamed for "bullying" the girl after her uncle went public.
In a viral Facebook post, Robbie Nettles shared side-by-side photos of his niece in two outfits — wearing a tee-shirt and leggings in each one — and said she was immediately sent to in-school suspension because of her "formfitting" clothes.
"Does this punishment seem appropriate to you?" Nettles asked in his post, including the hashtag #9yearoldbodyshaming. "Apparently, it is acceptable to body shame a 9-year-old. My niece may not be the ideal weight, but she was not showing anything inappropriate. It sickens me to imagine my sweet niece going to a school that cares more about her weight than what's in her mind."
When the girl's mother brought her what she thought was a better option, Brookhaven Elementary school officials also deemed that unacceptable.
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The reaction on social media was fast and furious.
"It's so sad, there is nothing wrong with her outfits,"a commenter wrote on Nettles' Facebook post, which has been shared more than 46,000 times. "I wonder if they thought of what they may have done to her emotionally?"
"This is targeted bullying in my eyes and needs to be addressed," another commenter agreed.
The school is standing by the suspension — and the dress code that bans too-tight clothes. Brookhaven School District Superintendent Ray Carlock told The Daily Leader that school officials followed proper protocol.
Meanwhile, Facebook users continue to stand in support of Nettles and his family, calling the punishment "heartbreaking" and potentially damaging to the young girl's self-esteem.
"No 9-year-old should have to deal with this situation," he told The Daily Leader. "And be made to feel criticized about her body weight."