It’s prom season, which means that all of the facets of the prom experience are in full swing – expensive promposals, dress shopping that takes more time than choosing a wedding dress, and celebrity invites. All of that is fun and everything, but inevitably every year there is a controversy that arises due to the type of dancing taking place at the event or a risqué dress that does’t pass dress code muster.
This year a young student in Maryville, Tennessee fell into the latter category after she experienced a dress malfunction and was asked to cover up. According to the local news in East Tennessee,
…the girl cried in the bathroom because she was asked to wear the vice principal’s jacket over her dress because it was too revealing. The post said the teacher told her, “Us big girls gotta cover up.”
A picture posted on Facebook shows the dress as it looked before the malfunction, and she looks gorgeous.
In order to respect the girl’s privacy and put the issue to rest, her parents have said they will not post photos of what the dress looked like after the slip. Apparently, the black lace detailing around the neckline was an alteration designed to make the dress less low-cut and those pieces fell off before prom started. Many of the details are he said/she said, and as the parents aren’t filing a complaint with the school or the district it seems likely that they understand why the gesture with the jacket was made.
However, the simple offering of a jacket as a way to fix a dress malfunction doesn’t usually send a girl crying to the bathroom. The fact that there was a mention of “big girls” having to cover up means that her body size was factored into the decision to bar her entry if she didn’t hide her cleavage. What’s worse is that reportedly the school does not have any specific dress code in place that would apply to this situation. There is word from some people at the event that other students were not held out of the prom for similarly revealing garments, although whether this is an exaggeration or not is unclear.
Regardless, there are certainly better ways to suggest a dress is not appropriate, especially when dealing with the sensitive feelings of high school students. With any luck, some of the participants here learned a lesson on how to approach a similar problem in the future so the night doesn’t begin or end in tears.