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'I was mortified': Teen responds after teacher says she's too 'busty' for outfit

by Jessie Kalin Mash /

One mother in Joplin, MO is fuming after her 17-year-old daughter received a dress code violation after reportedly being told by her teacher that she was too “busty” and “plus-sized."

On Sept. 8, Melissa Barber took to Facebook to share her daughter Kelsey Anderson’s experience at Joplin High School. The post included a photo of her daughter in the clothes she was wearing — a maroon, long-sleeved blouse tucked into ripped jeans — when she was cited for the dress code violation.

“When my daughter asked why she was being sent to the office, this teacher told her ‘bustier women need to wear clothing that covers their cleavage,’” Barber wrote on Facebook. “Then followed it up by saying ‘plus size women need to dress accordingly.’ My daughter has just been called "Busty" and "Plus Size" in front of the entire class.”

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The post which has now been shared more than 50,000 times, has received more than 21,000 comments from people mostly offering their support.

“This is so ridiculous. I have a very similar body to her and I’ve had the same issues and it’s not even revealing,” wrote one Facebook member. “She looks amazing and I would wear that outfit any day.”

Anderson, who reportedly requested to be removed from the teacher’s class and was denied, told TODAY Style that she’s very hurt by what occurred.

“I was mortified that she would say that to me, especially in front of my class. It was very hurtful,” Anderson said of the experience. “I think I was targeted because of my breast size and body type. This isn’t the first time that she’s said something to me about being a large-breasted woman and that makes me feel uncomfortable.”

Elizabeth L. Turner, Anderson’s attorney, wrote in a press release sent to TODAY Style that they are currently analyzing their legal options and will “definitely be taking action."

“It is sad that in this day and age, when we teach children and young adults about the dangers of bullying and body-shaming with laws to protect against bullying, that we have to worry about the adults in our children’s lives being the ones to hurt them. Bullying and body-shaming isn’t something to take lightly,” the press release stated. “Ms. Anderson is a beautiful young lady with nothing to be ashamed of, and any adult that treats her the way she was treated should be the one ashamed.”

The Joplin School District released the following statement and told TODAY Style they had no additional comments:

“While we understand the public’s interest in this matter, the district is unfortunately unable to comment on specific incidents regarding students and school personnel. The district does not consider comments by staff members about students’ bodies appropriate. Our staff conduct policy requires all staff members to maintain courteous and professional relationships with students. This incident is being investigated by the administration to determine if this policy has been violated.”

Barber, who is frustrated that her daughter’s education was interrupted because of the experience, told TODAY Style via her attorney that she just hopes some good comes out of the situation.

“I hope that no other young girls have to go through what my daughter went through, and that the school corrects the situation so that it doesn’t happen again.”

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