In the last few hours of her senior year at Lexington, North Carolina’s Central Davidson High School, Violet Burkhart was sent home to change after the dress she was wearing was deemed too short. Burkhart told WGHP Fox 8, “I thought my last day was going to be great and exciting, but they just pretty much ruined it for me.” The high school senior told the station that teachers took her aside in a hallway and measured her dress. The teachers found the dress to be a half-inch too short, called Violet’s mother, Amy Redwine, and told Burkhart she must change.
“I literally looked back at the clock and I’m thinking, it’s one o’clock, it is one o’clock in the afternoon on her last day of her senior year,” Redwine said. “My daughter, it’s supposed to be one of her best days and she’s there crying.” Redwine is not challenging the dress code, though it seems that she might have a case that Violet wasn’t in violation of the policy. The Central Davidson High School student handbook (pdf) indicates that inappropriate dress length is anything, “shorter than mid-thigh.” It also very ambiguously says, “Mid-thigh is a difficult measure,” going on to indicate a specific measurement for only shorts. Ms. Redwine said “If I thought this dress was inappropriate, I would have never allowed her to wear the dress.” In fact, Redwine told iVillage Canada that Violet wore the exact same dress to school five times that year without incident. That isn’t the only questionable call made by the school. On the WGHP Facebook page, a mother posted a photo of a rather conservative outfit her daughter wore to Central Davidson, which got her sent home because “it enhanced her figure too much.”
Though they seem to have a case that Violet was in the right, what upsets the mother and daughter more is the manner in which the school dealt with the situation. Burkhart commented on the station’s Facebook page, “When a teacher comes to you and says grab your crotch and makes you stand there while they measure it in front of everyone that’s what’s wrong about this.” Redwine said to iVillage, “Violet felt humiliated and let down by the very people she had looked up to because she loved school and although she doesn't always mind me, she was a big time rule-follower and wanted nothing more than to please her teachers.”
In support of her daughter and as a silent protest to how the school handled the situation, Ms. Redwine plans to wear the ‘inappropriate’ dress to her daughter’s graduation on Saturday. The mother, who says she never wears dresses asserted, “If her dress is too short, my dress is too short and I’m going to wear it in front of everybody and be proud just like she should have been able to on her last day.” Violet added, “I think it’s going to make me proud. I really do.”
- Central Davidson High School