A South Carolina mom says her 12-year-old daughter was "humiliated" by a teacher who told her that her skirt was too short and more appropriate for "clubbing" than school.
The incident at Moultrie Middle School in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, is the latest dress code controversy to go viral online, sparking outrage from parents and students across the country. Mom Suzie Webster told TODAY she doesn't have a problem with dress codes, but she does take issue with how they're sometimes enforced. Her daughter Reese was called out in front of a group of friends on Sept. 21, when a teacher told her the skirt was too short and she looked like she should "be clubbing," she said.
"It's perpetrating this whole problem of body-shaming and body image for young girls who already have to deal with so much," Webster said.
Reese went to the principal's office, where she called her mom and asked her to bring a change of clothes. When Webster arrived at the school, they measured her skirt in front of the principal, and discovered that it was exactly 5 inches above her knee, and thus in line with the school's rules.
"He did tell Reese that she could continue to wear the skirt, however at this point she was so embarrassed that she asked to change into her pants," Webster wrote in a Facebook post. A photo she posted of the outfit her daughter wore that day has since gone viral, with many people commenting that the skirt looks perfectly acceptable for school.
Webster added that she and her daughter had been diligent about finding skirts that were appropriate.
"She's in the sixth grade — I take her shopping," she said. "I bought that skirt. It's hot here in South Carolina. They don't want to wear jeans when it's 98 degrees outside. I worked really hard to find skirts that were long enough."
Webster, who has two other daughters, said the skirt in question is Reese's favorite, and that she had worn it to school several times before.
A spokesperson for the Charleston County School District said the school's principal, Ryan Cumback, has "addressed and corrected" the teacher who made the comment about "clubbing."
"In no way do we want any student to feel it's their fault in how someone views them when it comes to what they wear," the school district said in a statement sent to TODAY. "However, in this situation, we do not feel Principal Cumback intentionally set out to embarrass the student. He never told her, nor her parent, she could not wear the skirt. He did ask the student to be cognizant of the skirt going above the five-inch line when walking and sitting."
The statement continued: "Mr. Cumback explained to the parent that dress code violations are distracting to both male and female students and everyone is treated equally."