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Dozens of Girls Turned Away From School Dance Thanks to Too Vague Dress Code

Bethany Clarke, Getty Images

For a high school girl, there’s probably nothing more humiliating than getting turned away from your school dance because your dress is too inappropriate.

Dozens of girls at a Utah high school were barred from their homecoming dance, including the homecoming queen. The reason? The girls’ dresses were in violation of a way too vague dress code.

Many of the girls who were turned away for inappropriate attire were wearing dresses that fell a couple of inches above the knee. The student handbook reads that hemlines “should be at or near knee length.”

On Monday, after parents and students angrily complained about the school’s prudish move, the principal, Kendall Topham, held four special assemblies. “I did give an apology. I feel like the error occurred because, with our dress standard for our formal dresses, there is some ambiguity, there is some things in question,” Topham told Fox News. “Specifically, there is something in there about the length of skirt that says at knee or at or near the knee … I also apologized that we had students and parents who had gone out and prepared for this dance and felt like, as they reviewed the policy, that they were in compliance. And then to come and be turned away, that was disheartening.”

Both parents and kids alike expressed frustration that the rules were unclear. Michael Johnson, whose daughter wasn’t allowed to attend the dance, told the Salt Lake City Tribune, “This isn’t like these girls were dressing immodestly. You’ve got a vague policy, but then you’ve got to use some common sense and judgment.” Some students complained that the rules seemed arbitrary because while knees were taboo, strapless dresses that revealed the shoulders and cleavage were allowed.

The principal has since apologized and now a “make-up” dance will be held.

Personally, I have no problem with a dress that goes above the knees. And the school can implement whatever kind of dress code they want for their dance, and I’m fine with that. The real problem here is this: if you’re going to have a dress code, at least have the sense to be specific in your guidelines.

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