Tony Alarcon was caught off guard when he looked at his phone to see that his daughter’s school was calling him. When he found how why he was really being called in to pick his daughter up from school, he thought there had to have been a misunderstanding. He was too upset to let it go; he had to do something about this situation.
A Normal Day
It was a hot morning just like any other when Tony Alarcon dropped off his daughter, Demetra, for school. In the morning it was already hitting close to 90 degrees outside, so naturally, Demetra wore an outfit that would allow her to be comfortable in this intense heat.
No School Uniform
Demetra was a middle schooler at Raymond J. Fisher. Her school did not have a strict attire, so kids were free to wear just what they wanted during class. Even so, there had been a dress code in order to ensure that students came to school dressed appropriately each and every day.
Tony Alarcon is a real estate agent and a well-known investment banker, so he knows how to talk with people and how to fight for his clients. He is not one to back down from something that he believes in so strongly, and is especially protective over his teenaged daughter, Demetra.
On this day at school, Demetra was called out by her teacher in front of the entire class. She wasn’t the first girl to experience something like this before, but that didn’t make it less embarrassing. She just wanted to sink into her seat and put her head down. She couldn’t believe this was happening to her.
Demetra did not see anything wrong with the outfit she was wearing. It was light, comfortable, and breathable in the horrible heat they were experiencing. She did not think her blue romper was inappropriate, and her dad dropped her off at school, so he obviously didn’t think anything of it either.
A Huge Clash
Demetra was not trying to wear something inappropriate; she simply wanted to wear something that would keep her from sweating and overheating during a heatwave in California. She definitely did not realize that her outfit choice of the day would result in such a feud between her dad and the school.
Such A Fuss
Soon enough, everyone around school heard about what happened to Demetra. Not only this, but local news outlets also found out and started releasing articles and news clips about what this school had done. One question stuck out in everyone’s minds: what was Demetra wearing that was so different or so much worse than what other girls at school were wearing?
She didn’t think anything would really come from her wearing a romper to school on a sweltering hot day in Los Gatos, California, but she could not have been more wrong. What happened to her at school because of her outfit was something she never expected.
This super hot day did not start off how Demetra had thought it was going to. It was in her first class of the day where her teacher called her out and humiliated her in front of the whole class. He was the one who said that her outfit was not school appropriate attire.
Principal Gets Involved
After humiliating her in front of her classmates, he sent her to the principal’s office for further investigation. Once seeing what Demetra was wearing at school, the principal called up Tony, Demetra’s dad, and said there was a situation and he needed to come in. He didn’t realize he’d regret that call later.
A Choice To Be Made
The school principal informed Tony that Demetra’s outfit was not acceptable to be worn in school and that he had two choices: he could either bring her some different clothes to change into or he could come to pick her up from school right now. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing!
Tony took a deep breath and said that he would be bringing his daughter a change of clothes to school. He started sifting through all of the clothes in her closet and decided to bring her an outfit that he deemed to be appropriate for school. He put a pair of denim shorts and a tank top in his car and drove them to her school.
The Battle Is On
Demetra took the clothes that her dad gave her and went into a private room to change into her new outfit. Her dad and principal were waiting for her in the office, but when she came back out, the principal said that the outfit was still unacceptable. Demetra’s body was covered, what was the problem? Now Tony was starting to get mad.
Tony was surprised that you couldn’t see the steam coming out of his ears, he was so angry. He told the principal that he needed to explain what was wrong with Demetra’s outfit. Everything that needed to be covered, was covered, and there was nothing wrong. As her parent, he would know if something didn’t look acceptable. He needed an answer now.
Protecting His Daughter
There had to have been something else to this story that Tony didn’t know, and he needed to find out what it was. He wouldn’t back down from getting an answer until he got one that he knew was the truth. He had a suspicion about why his daughter was being singled out, but he was hoping the school was better than this.
He Wasn’t Satisfied
The school principal told Tony that it was not necessarily about the actual modesty that his daughter was showing, but the fact that her outfit was just too short. It didn’t pass what he called ‘the fingertip test’ and that is why she couldn’t wear it. Tony did not believe him for a minute that this was really what was happening.
After hearing about this reason, Tony was getting even more frustrated. He knew that they were lying to him and just making up an excuse! He saw girls wearing similar outfits that were just as short on that very morning when he dropped Demetra off for class. He knew there was something else. Why was his daughter being singled out?
The Fingertip Test
If you have never heard of the ‘fingertip test,’ it is a way for the school to see if an outfit is an acceptable length; they check this by having students place their hands by their sides and stand straight up. If the student’s arms extend longer than the length of the pants, they are not allowed to be worn in school. Demetra’s hands went past her pants. Tony was livid; he would not stand for this.
After a few minutes of arguing back and forth, the school principal admitted that the real reason Demetra was being singled out instead of everyone being treated equally, was because of some of the boys in her class. Tony thought that he misheard for a second, so he asked him to repeat. He couldn’t believe what the principal just said!
Right when the principal saw Tony’s reaction, he knew he took a wrong turn and said something he shouldn’t have. Tony was not going to let this go, and the principal regretted saying this at all. The reason that Demetra couldn’t wear what she wanted to and what she felt comfortable in was because she was a distraction to the boys in class.
While he was sitting across from the principal, face to face from him, he absolutely could not believe what he was hearing right now. It is not his daughter’s problem if boys get distracted, and she shouldn’t be punished for wearing clothes that she is comfortable in. The principal and the teacher both singled her out, and Tony was ready to fight back.
Especially after seeing the look on Demetra’s face and seeing her trying to fight back tears, Tony knew he couldn’t let this situation go. The things that the principal was saying about Demetra were crossing many red lines, and Tony was not going to let this go without fighting for what was right.
The principal, once again, was giving Tony two options to choose from. He said that either Demetra could put on sweatpants to cover her legs or she would not be allowed to go back into class. Especially after understanding that the reasoning behind this was because boys were getting distracted, Tony knew this was a completely unfair ultimatum. He was deciding how he wanted to fight this battle.
Demetra then started speaking for the first time in this situation. She pointed out the fact that the dress code was only so strictly enforced on the girls in school. There was a no hat policy for boys, but everyone wore hats all the time anyway and did not get reprimanded for it. The girls were the only ones to get in trouble, which is extremely discriminatory.
Tony was trying to keep his cool, but the more he thought about the situation, the more difficult for him it was to do so. He explained that he saw plenty of girls wearing outfits like this one in the parking lot this morning, so he couldn’t figure out why it was that his daughter was the only one getting called out.
It was not realistic in the slightest for the school to expect girls to wear long pants on a day when it is so hot outside, just because boys get distracted looking at them. Wearing lighter or shorter clothing keeps them feeling comfortable in class and not overheating when they’re going outside. If boys get distracted, that isn’t the girls’ fault.
Tony decided that he should ask some of Demetra’s friends what they thought about this dress code policy at their school. Every single one of her friends agreed that the dress code policies were unfair and that girls shouldn’t have to sit in class uncomfortable in the heat just because boys can’t focus in class. This situation was absurd.
Involving The Media
The next step that Tony decided to take was contacting media outlets. He was angry for many reasons, and he wanted to know that this school’s horrible dress code made his daughter cry and made her and her friends miserable. Tony decided to go speak on Today and other local news channels.
When the media started approaching Tony to get his opinion on what the school’s dress code should be, he had a very clear and straight forward answer to give them, which any parent can likely resonate with. He said that it should not be up to the school what children wear to school; if the parents feel comfortable sending their kids to school in something, then it should be acceptable. It should not be the administration’s discretion. We think that’s fair!
Tony came back to the school with a big proposal; he wanted changes to be made to the school’s dress code. Some of the changes included that underwear couldn’t be visible, no midriffs showing, and no shirts with spaghetti straps. However, this was just the beginning of the issue for him.
Most parents at school were fully supportive of Tony, but not everyone felt this way. The fact that girls were being objectified at school by what they were choosing to wear was no longer a hidden secret, but people were worried that if teens were given full reigns over what they could wear to school, that chaos would ensue.
When Tony brought his ideas to the school, they said that the dress code was meant to establish guidelines for students, and that their end goal was to have ‘reasonable decorum’ at school between the students. It seems like they have dealt with this issue before; while this may not be the first case, we hope it will be the last.
Demetra isn’t the only teenaged girl who had a problem with her school’s dress code rules. Clare, a 17-year-old girl, was going to her school’s prom when she got singled out in a huge group of people for what she was wearing and how the school thought the outfit was portrayed.
The Perfect Dress
Clare and her boyfriend had been looking forward to prom night for a long time now; they were so excited for it that they even made sure to buy their tickets far in advance. After a long search, Clare found the perfect prom dress. It was silver and sparkly, just as she imagined, and she thought that nothing would be able to ruin their night.
The Dreaded Fingertip Test
When she saw a dress that caught her eye and realized it was in her price range, she knew she had to buy it. Unfortunately, the dress still had to pass the infamous fingertip test. She tried it on and put her arms down to her sides and wished for the best.
Prom Dress Code
It was very clearly written on the prom invitation that the dress code for dresses to be fingertip-length or longer. Clare’s dress was just long enough to pass the test, and she loved it so much. She would not have bought it if she had any idea what sort of problems it would cause her, though.
It Was Time
Finally, it was prom night for Clare. She could hardly contain her excitement, and she put her dress on as the finishing touch to getting ready. This time, she had a problem; her dress was too short and failed the fingertip test. She was fully dressed and ready to go to prom, but she wasn’t sure what to do about her outfit.
Before she left the house, she put on her heels to see how the outfit would look all together. The dress ended right at her fingertips, and she was worried that when she would start to dance the dress would come too high and would then be too short to wear.
When Clare arrived at the Methodist church where prom was taking place, someone came up to her immediately and made a comment to her about her unacceptable dress. Even though she checked her dress many times before getting into the door, someone still pulled her aside. So she asked simply for someone to repeat to her what the rule is.
Looks Can Be Deceiving
The organizer who talked with Clare, Ann Duncan, told her that she needed to follow the rules set forth and comply with the fingertip rule. Clare tried to tell her that the dress actually does comply with the rule, but that her legs are long, therefore the dress looks much shorter than it would on someone else.
Even so, Ann kept insisting that Clare’s dress was simply too short to wear inside, but after Clare showed her that it actually is acceptable, Ann had no choice but to allow her to go into the dance. This wasn’t the end of Clare’s interactions that night, though.
While Clare was making her way into the room where the dance was taking place, she noticed that many other girls were wearing dresses just as short, if not shorter than hers! She couldn’t help but to laugh the situation off and just think about how ridiculous it is. She wanted to celebrate her prom, but then she noticed something happening above her.
Clare and her friends couldn’t help but notice that there were many more chaperones in the room than there had been the last few years. On top of this, many of the chaperones were dads of some students, and they were all staring down from the balcony at all of the girls walking into the room. The girls all started to feel uncomfortable with what was going on.
It’s pretty understandable that these girls all felt a bit uncomfortable with so many parents in the room to stare at them for the whole night. They knew why they were there, too. They were all there to try and enforce the dress code; they were all in the room to monitor girls’ dresses to make sure they weren’t too short.
Getting Called Again
Shortly after Clare entered the dance, Ann was once again making her way toward her. She took Clare’s arm and took her off of the dance floor, where she told her that she is dancing far too provocatively for the dads’ likings. They were worried that her dancing would cause their sons to think unpure thoughts.
Telling a girl that her outfit and dance moves were causing boys to have unpure thoughts is the same thing as telling someone that they asked for something bad to happen to them. Clare felt enraged and uncomfortable; after all, her actions cannot possibly be held as the reason for these dads and their sons to be thinking these things.
Enough Is Enough
Clare started to fight back against Ms. Duncan in saying that she wasn’t even dancing, and all of Clare’s friends backed her up on this fact. She then went on to show Ann, once again, that her dress did in fact meet dress code requirements. Still, Ann wasn’t having it. This is when Clare’s boyfriend stepped in to help.
A United Front
Clare’s boyfriend was not going to put up with what Ann was saying to them, so he said that if she intended to kick Clare out of the prom, that everyone in her friend group was also going to leave, and that they would demand their tickets to be refunded.
Clare was far too upset and embarrassed to think that simply getting her ticket cost refunded to her would make up for this horrible night; she did nothing wrong, after all. James, Clare’s boyfriend, asked to speak to the person managing prom. Ms. Duncan got angry by this request and decided to call in another chaperone for backup.
Clare was looking forward to prom night for as long as she could remember, and all of her dreams of how amazing the night would be were shattered in just a few minutes. She and all of her friends got escorted out of the dance as if they had done something illegal. Clare had been kicked out of the dance simply because she stood out and was wearing something that she felt comfortable and confident in.
In Her Defense
“I have long legs and I was wearing a sparkly dress, I didn’t look like most of the 13-15-year-old girls there, I looked like a woman. I am so tired of people who abuse their power to make women feel violated and ashamed.”
Why Is She To Blame
She continued and said, “I was told that the way I dressed and moved my body was causing men to think inappropriately about me, implying that it is my responsibility to control other people’s thoughts and drives.”
It’s Her Fault
Clare claims that the school obviously believes that Clare and just about every other female who just doesn’t reach their specification of “appropriate” bear responsibility for a man’s thoughts and actions. So, what message is being sent here?
Time For Revenge
Clare, Jason, as well as their friends were escorted out of the school by Mrs. Duncan, who had called security. Clare was embarrassed by her expulsion from her own prom. To be truthful, she admitted to feeling mistreated. She didn’t think it was fair that she was chastised for not looking like most teenagers and having a figure more akin to that of a more voluptuous female.
Clare decided to ask the security officer for his opinion as they were being escorted out. “I asked the security guy if my dress was compliant with the dress code and if he had noticed any inappropriateness in my behavior and he said he didn’t think I did anything to get kicked out but it wasn’t his call,” she narrated. The group was offered a refund, but the money was only returned to Clare.
Clare explained, “We walked out of the prom, frustrated and angry and feeling very disrespected and violated.” This, that being said, was far from the end of the story. She made the decision to go online and talk about the unfairness she had experienced. Women all over the world expressed sympathy for her circumstance.
Many frustrated people took to the Richmond Homeschool Prom Facebook page to express their displeasure with what had occurred. The page has already been removed from the internet. “The whole situation made me feel violated, walked over, and ostracized,” Clare said in a blog post. “How is it that what I look like and how I dress constitutes the level of respect you give me?” Mrs. Duncan told her side when she spoke to CBS News.
When the young girl arrived, the dress was really at the correct length, but the spandex fabric caused it to climb up. Mrs. Duncan told WTVR, “It was right below her butt cheeks by the time I saw her.” She didn’t see Clare dancing, but she dismissed the claims that her fathers were looking directly at her. “It was very crowded,” she said. “There were 500 kids there, so to be able to even say what they were looking at would be really difficult.” Clare stands behind her blog post, however, and released a video in response.
“I was informed by more than one friend who stayed at the prom throughout the course of the evening that there was some truly dirty dancing,” Clare mentioned, “and that there were several couples making out and grinding on the dance floor, and yet out of a group of 500 people, only one person, (me) got thrown out for inappropriate dancing.”
A student whose name is Callie Hobs said, “I think both parties could have acted a little bit differently, obviously, but the way that it went down it was fine because people need to follow the rules.” According to her, Clare had been “grinding.” Clare, on the other hand, continues to speak up for herself. She’s written about the school dance and filmed a video recap of the night’s events.
“When the lady kicked me out, they said the dads had complained about my dancing and that meant that they had to have been watching me,” she shot back. This 17-year-old girl believed she was being singled out because she was taller and had a more mature body than most others.
“This is a message to girls built like me, who can’t find jeans that fit!” she wrote in the blog. “The girls with long legs, who are forced to prove that their dresses fit the dress code, just because they have more leg showing than most girls.”
I Don’t Have A Problem, You Do
Clare expressed her displeasure with slut-shaming in her video. The older men had no right to look at her and start blaming her for their obscene and inappropriate thoughts because of her tight and sparkly dress. It wasn’t right that she had to leave because of their immaturity.
Different Body Types
Most young women will always be well-endowed, regardless of body shape. When people think that her dress is the problem, they have created it.
was not expecting the reaction she earned Her video as well as blog got a lot of attention, and she was completely satisfied with herself. No one was allowed to pity her.
Even after Clare’s numerous responses on the internet, the Richmond Homeschool Prom has yet to contact her or her friends. Despite Duncan’s promises, her boyfriend Jason and their friends have not received a refund for their tickets.
A Society Problem
Whatever happens, she will stand by the statements she made. She sincerely hope that this incident will prompt people to reconsider their community’s dress codes. This is a case that affects both parents and children. It also poses a perilous but crucial question. It has unquestionably held up a mirror to society, asking us all to consider the culture that sexualizes teenage ladies. What can parents do to prevent this from happening again?
Girls can always find dresses that aren’t age-appropriate for any dance, whether it’s a middle school, junior high, or high school prom. They usually do this to make themselves appear older. Is it, however, up to the school or the parents to put a stop to this?
The Fine Line
What’s important to know is where the line between acceptable and unacceptable is drawn. On one girl, a dress may appear overly sexualized, while on another, it may appear modest. How do we make a decision, and who gets to make it?
Since The Event
Many students around the world have been inspired by Clare’s disastrous dress code experience to speak out about their own dress code incidents in their schools. Most schools in the United States do not require a uniform, but they do have a dress code. What they don’t realize is that these rules are sometimes biased against women.