The mother of an 18-year-old girl is speaking out this week after her daughter was kicked out of her high school prom on Friday for supposedly violating the school dress code.
Connie Briceno went prom dress shopping with her daughter, Mireya, and did so with the Muskegon High School dress code in mind, she says. “The guidelines specifically said backless dresses are acceptable,” the Michigan mom tells Yahoo Parenting. “The rules stated the dress needed to adhere to the ‘fingertip rule’ – meaning the dress had to hit below your fingertip when standing with her arms by your side. They also said no midriff showing, which to me means stomach. And they said the words ‘backless dresses are acceptable.’”
The dress code for the Muskegon High School Prom specifically stated that backless dresses were acceptable. (Photo: Connie Briceno)
So when Mireya chose a long, backless, short-sleeved blue dress with white polka dots for her senior prom, Connie thought it was perfect. “We looked at the rules, and we picked the dress together,” she says. “I thought she looked beautiful.”
When Mireya first arrived at prom, she had no problem getting in, Connie says. “She took a picture with her cheer coach, she took pictures with her friends, and she hung out, got punch, it was no big deal,” Connie says. “But after an hour, the vice principal approached her and asked her to stand up. After she stood up, she was asked to turn around, and when she did the vice principal just said, ‘You have to leave, you’re in dress code violation.’”
Mireya Briceno poses with a friend wearing a similarly revealing prom dress. (Photo: Connie Briceno)
Connie says Mireya’s boyfriend and date, who goes to another school, asked the teacher if she could wear his jacket, but she was told she could only put on her own coat, or go home and change into a different dress. “Other girls were wearing similar style dresses, like dresses with cutouts, and dresses with sheer lining on the midriff,” Connie says. “Why were they allowed to stay and my daughter wasn’t?”
Muskegon High School Principal Brad Perkins told Yahoo Parenting he wasn’t at liberty to discuss issues related to students over the phone and declined to comment on the dress code violation.
In a poll about the dress on MLive Muskegon Chronicle, 81.6 percent of the 11,285 votes (at the time of this writing) said the dress was appropriate and Mireya should have been allowed to stay at the prom. Another 10.94 percent through it was too revealing, while 7.45 percent though it too hard to judge from photos.
Mireya Briceno and her boyfriend, before she was asked to leave her prom. (Photo: Connie Briceno)
Connie says her daughter left the prom immediately, without inquiring about the unfair treatment. “I’ve taught her to be respectful, and that if you are told something by a teacher, you listen,” she says. “She’s not one of those people to ask why and question authority.”
Still, once she got to the parking lot, Mireya called home crying and asked what she should do, Connie says. “She asked what she can do, and I said ‘there’s nothing you can do.’ I told her to go to dinner with her boyfriend, and try to enjoy her evening,” she says. “She was really upset. She has her boyfriend’s prom in two weeks, but still, this was her prom. She missed out on a memorable time with her friends.”
Connie says all she wants is an explanation. Her calls to the school have gone unreturned, and Perkins told MLive Muskegon Chronicle that he didn’t know why Mireya was asked to leave, since the decision was made by another staff member, but that he’d “only received positive feedback about the decision.”
“I just want to know why they singled her out,” Connie says. “Why was the girl in the red dress allowed to stay and my daughter wasn’t? Why were others allowed to enjoy their night?”
(Top photo: Connie Briceno)
Yahoo Parenting has chosen this story, originally published on April 29, as an example of one of our best of 2015.