No Leggings?

Heather Choi, Staff Writer

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Recently, a public high school in South Carolina began prohibiting girls from wearing leggings to school. Why? Because the principal of Stratford High School said so. During the 10th grade assembly on Wednesday, August 23,2017, there was a recording of her stating, “(Leggings are) meant to wear underneath a long shirt that covers your heinie, or a long sweater of some type, or a dress. It is not meant to be your actual pants, and if you have a shirt that comes to here, then you are showing everything. Yes, everything, ….The sad thing is with that, ladies — if someone has not told you this before, I’m going to tell you this now — unless you are a size zero or a two, and you wear something like that, even though you are not fat, you look fat.”

Many parents and students felt that the principal herself was, in a way, body shaming the girls, unable to respect their choice of clothing with respect to their own bodies. Afterwards, one female student felt that she had been a target due to her size and her choice to wear leggings. “It was really hurtful, cause I felt like my size made me look disgusting towards someone in the clothes that I wear, ” she said. “I wear leggings outside of school and I wear leggings when I go and hang out with my friends, and to think that someone would think that I look like a stuffed sausage — that was kind of hurtful.”  On top of this, many students and parents took their thoughts to Facebook.

Some of the posts indicate their disgusted and shocked reaction:

“I hope your comment about the kids weight didn’t push them over to committing unthinkable actions.  You are responsible for all of the kids that go to your school. Due to your poor choice of words you may have instilled a lot of horrible things in the student community.”  

“You’re meant to be a public figure that young women can look up to, yet you make comments body shaming teen females? I’m disappointed but not surprised.  [I] hope you actually own up to your words and realise (sic) just how badly you might’ve hurt these young girls.”

“This is absolutely appalling. Shame on you for body shaming.  Ms. Taylor you owe the entire student body an apology. You are suppose to set a good example for all the students. You failed.”

While these parents, along with many, were angry about the principal’s statement, others supported her:

“I am sorry this is happening to you Miss Taylor.  It is very unfortunate and quite immature, and I am afraid I am younger than most of them. This is but a trial, and you will get through this no matter what happens. You were always fair and level headed when I went to school.”

“This is actually ridiculous. A bunch of Facebook moms with nothing better to do than to flame probably Stratford’s best principal yet. As a former student, Ms. Taylor always treated me with respect and fairness. I have no doubt she has the students’ best interest in mind and whatever she said was probably an off-hand comment to support the dress-code, that she didn’t make by the way. If you want to actually change something, go to the school board. This is just petty.”

Some students from the Senior classes even posted a video on what they thought about the assembly:

“On behalf of some students at Stratford High, we would like to extend our support and appreciation to your administration and Berkeley County for the past 24 years. We understand that you, like us, are human and make mistakes,” a student said in the video. “We completely realize that your intentions were not to harm us or the students at the assembly.”

The following day, Principal Taylor apologized to her students and stated that it wasn’t her intention in the first place to make the comment. Her final statement was: “Yesterday and this morning, I met with each class of the Stratford High School student body. I addressed a comment made during a 10th grade assembly and shared from my heart that my intention was not to hurt or offend any of my students in any way. I assured them all that I am one of their biggest fans and invested in their success. After speaking with our students and receiving their support, I am confident that, together, we are ready to move forward and have a wonderful year. Stratford High is a very caring community, and I want to thank all of our parents and students who have offered their support to me and provided me with an opportunity to directly address their concern. I am very proud to be a Stratford Knight.”

Later on, she had created Facebook post for parents to reach out to her and to express their concerns about the matter itself.

* photo via Google Images under the Creative Commons license