What started as a ranting Facebook post for one Beaufort High student, became a viral conversation, garnering attention nationally. High school senior and student body president Carey Burgess’ post has been ‘liked’, shared, and commented on hundreds of times. She posted a photo of an outfit she wore to school, saying a teacher sent her to in-school suspension for a seemingly modest skirt.
Lowcountry parents and students reacted over Facebook, some outraged that the student was disciplined. Then, some believe the skirt broke dress code and say school policy is school policy.
According to the district’s dress code, skirts cannot fall above the knee more than three inches. Consequences for violating this rule on the first offense include in-school suspension, or a trip home for a change of clothes.
“A skirt as it’s depicted in that photograph, would not have been an issue,” Beaufort County Schools spokesman Jim Foster says.
However, Foster says the way the skirt is worn in the photo is not the same as it was in school.
In Burgess’ post, she wrote, “… maybe I am in the wrong. Maybe our society isn’t yet advanced enough to handle three inches of my thigh,” after she named the teacher she says embarrassed her in front of her friends over the skirt. “This is a patriarchal society and I am a woman. I have to be kept in my place,” she wrote. She also called school administrators sexist.
The school district says the dress code is in place for a reason.
“The idea is that we try to reduce the distractions, so that kids can focus on learning,” Foster says.
Others weighed-in when commenting over social media, supporting her, saying ‘feminists everywhere are applauding’ and ‘… ridiculous abuse of power and control’. Some locals NEWS 3 spoke with believe the skirt violates the school’s three-inch rule.
“You know I think looking at the picture, that she was out of dress code. Reading through it, I do know as a female it can be hard to take criticism, especially with the way we’re dressed, because we face it every single day,” Amber Reynolds says. “It’s a hard thing every day to try to make choices like that as a teen, with all the girls making fun of each other, or you know judging each other you know, so it’s really to protect them, ultimately. I understand you want to be able to dress the way you want, and express yourself, but I think ultimately you have to follow the school’s rules.”
Burgess took to Facebook again on Wednesday night, posting an apology for calling-out any teachers in her original post.