East AL parents claim teens removed from dance for 'inappropriate' dress

Opelika parents angry after students turned away from homecoming dance
Published: Sep. 10, 2016 at 1:46 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 2, 2017 at 2:10 PM EST
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OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) - A few parents and their Opelika High School students are not happy after allegedly being turned away from what was deemed "inappropriate" dress.

They say several female students were asked to leave their Homecoming dance Friday night because their dresses were too short. A parent sent pictures of some of the dresses as the students gathered in the parking lot. Many parents were also upset.

Destiney Laro wrote on Facebook:

Opelika High School, get it together! This is my beautiful baby sister and her date going to a casual homecoming dance. A teacher sent her out of the dance and told her that her dress is "too short and inappropriate" to be wearing there. This is a church dress. There's absolutely NOTHING wrong with what she's wearing, not to mention how petite she is. She looks classy and nothing is revealing. I feel sorry for all the kids who are in high school now, they're so strict that they can't even enjoy some of the things I loved most about high school. Sorry, rant over.

In a request for comment to Opelika City Schools, OHS Principal Farrell Seymore said: "Dresses must be at the knee per school dress code."

Mark Neighbors, the Opelika City Schools Superintendent released a statement saying:

We are always trying to balance a good environment for our students while maintaining a positive culture and school environment.  We realize that there is a conflict between the dress code guidelines in the Opelika City Schools Code of Student Conduct and the Opelika High School Student Handbook. It appears that some of the girls that were turned away from the homecoming dance last night did have dresses that were appropriate and some of them were not.  We apologize for the confusion and disappointment and will refund the cost of the dance ticket to those individuals who were turned away.  We will correct the discrepancy in the code of conduct and student handbook to reflect the board policy.  Once again, we apologize to our students and to our parents.

The Opelika City Schools dress code can be found here; The OHS dress code can be found here, states:

Skirts, shorts, and dresses must be mid-thigh or longer in front and back. No slits or leg openings may be above mid-thigh. Whether the student is standing or sitting, the length of skirts and dresses must be appropriate.

Spandex pants, leggings, leotards, etc., may be worn only when the article of clothing worn with them meets the mid-thigh requirement. (Long T-shirts are not allowed.) These items will have variances that are appropriate to students in this age range for grades K-5.

Opelika City Schools confirmed that the homecoming dance-specific dress code was sent out to parents and students on Sept. 7.

School officials said a second, free dance will be held with specific school board dress code be the standard district-wide. The costs of tickets will be refunded to students who were asked to leave the dance.

The date and time of the second dance have not been scheduled.

Elizabeth White WTVM

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