Monday, April 05, 2010

HS Senior Suspended for Prom Dress, and Refusing a Paddling

Sometimes there is a little news story that is interesting from a lot of different angles. This is one of those.

Not much to it at first sight, a high school girl in Alabama was suspended for three days for wearing a prom dress that violated the school dress code.

But wait. There's more.
Erica DeRamus ended up all dressed up with nowhere to go -- on her prom night.

The Oxford, Ala., high school student found her perfect prom dress online -- a seafoam green cocktail frock with a jeweled bodice and a tutu-style skirt. Unfortunately for DeRamus, the dress got her kicked out of her prom and suspended for three days for violating her school's dress code.

"I was so excited because it was my senior prom and I'd never been to a senior prom," DeRamus told Alabama's WBRC-TV.

But her excitement didn't last long.

Oxford High School officials said DeRamus's outfit was too low-cut and too short, breaking the rules of the school's dress code -- which stipulates that necklines must not plunge below students' breastbones and skirt hems must not be higher than six inches above the knee.

"It's there for the protection of kids... not for management of kids," Oxford High School Principal Trey Holloday told WBRC. Teen Suspended Over Revealing Prom Dress

The principal of the school seems very firm in the video, as far as he's concerned the girl made a "young people's mistake." He's in a tough position, I understand how hard it can be managing, er, protecting hundreds of teenagers day after day, you have to make a judgment call sometimes and sometimes it gets you on the news. But you know, there is a nonzero probability that he's wrong on this one.

The girl models her dress in the CNN video that accompanies this AOL News story. I don't know anything about fashion, but this isn't a sex-pot dress, it looks to me like a regular prom dress, there is some decoulettage and it comes a few inches above the knee. It's all petticoats and fluffy stuff. It's green.

There is more weird stuff in this little story.
Even so, DeRamus argued her dress was not that revealing.

"'What cleavage?' That's exactly what I said," DeRamus said. " I wasn't trying to be rude or anything, but that's what I feel."

Of the 352 Oxford High students who attended the prom, officials said 18 violated the dress code. All but DeRamus chose paddling as punishment, with DeRamus opting for a three-day suspension.

"I'm a little too old to get paddled...This is high school, we're seniors," DeRamus told WBRC. "If we're going to act up, give us another option besides being paddled because this isn't the 1940s. We don't take corporal punishment now."

But of course she's wrong, seventeen of the eighteen did take the corporal punishment.

Where AOL News gave this story the headline "Teen Suspended Over Revealing Prom Dress," you could just have easily titled it "Teen Suspended For Refusing Spanking." What kind of choice is that? We paddle you or you miss three days of school. I'm guessing that by "paddling" they mean, as it did when I was a kid, one solid swat with a wooden paddle. I would say a swat is a much lighter sentence than three days' suspension, plus you probably look like a chicken if you take the three days. But still -- spanking?!?!

In case you were wondering, in our county -- Montgomery County, Maryland -- policy JGAEA says: Notwithstanding any bylaw, rule, or regulation made or approved by the State Board, a principal, vice-principal, or other employee may not administer corporal punishment to discipline a student in a public school in the State. And JGARA defines it: Corporal punishment, which is prohibited, is an intentionally inflicted physical penalty administered by a person in authority. There are no paddlings here, it's been illegal since 1993.

The story says eighteen students were punished for violating the dress code at the prom. That was nearly five percent of the attendees. As a chronic high school dress-code violator myself, I am glad to see that the movement is still alive and well, but doesn't it seem kind of nasty to send kids home from the prom because their outfits don't make the grade? A lot of people spend a good amount of money on prom, and here they get to the door and some principal tells them they can't come in, and he wants to spank them Monday morning.

You also have to wonder, how many of those eighteen students were white? The principal is. Erica DeRamus is black. Variations of this story that I have seen have treated the racial aspect delicately.

This girl has a wet-cat-mad mom, too:
DeRamus's mother, Darrie DeRamus, supported her daughter's decision -- and her choice of dress.

"If I felt like there was too much cleavage on that dress, I wouldn't have purchased the dress," she said. "It would've stayed in the store and I wouldn't have gone on the Internet and paid for it."

This doesn't look like a woman who puts up with a lot of bad behavior from her teenager, and it does not look like a mom who would let her daughter go out looking disreputable. They ordered this dress special for the prom, Erica got all dressed up, and then the school said she couldn't come in.

The first thing that caught my attention about this story was the racial aspect, I would love to know how many of the kids being punished were black and white. Some Southern schools have separate proms for black and white students, was this one of those? But then as I kept reading I found it amazing to see the school spanking all those eighteen-year-olds. I just don't see the people of our county allowing that at all, the idea is unthinkable here, but down there in Alabama it's not only thinkable, it's expected. The reason this girl is on the Internet and in the news is because she didn't want the paddling that the other seventeen got. Then, looking at her dress, I had to wonder what the real issue was. What kind of grown-up would ruin a kid's prom night because they pushed the limits of the dress code?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought the same exact dress, except in royal for an 8th grade formal dance(it is very formal) and my teachers, friends and everyone loved it. i am a bit not as chested as her, but i am 5'9 and it was way above my knee. this girl is 18, and she had a cover over her shoulders, i really did not see any problem with the dress and i think it's ridiculous. and paddling? here in pennsylvania we call that teacher-student abuse.

April 05, 2010 5:15 PM  
Anonymous Sick of crybabies said...

That dress was atrocious & looked horrible on her. The color was wretched & all those layers of organza made her look like a seafoam green marshmallow puff. "What cleavage?" she asked - is she freakin' kidding?!?! I know her boobs are sagging already (how sad considering she's just 18) & it's not like they were all propped up or anything but she was definitely showing cleavage. There was a dress code in place,w which she knew about & she chose to violate it. There were 2 choices of punishment & she refused the paddling so she was suspended. Case closed!!!

April 05, 2010 9:21 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Now all the local CRW supporters who don't like the *optional* MCPS sex ed program know where to move to find community standards they can embrace -- those that deny parental rights to determine even what clothes their high school seniors may wear to their one and only senior prom for "the protection of kids."

April 06, 2010 8:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

didn't know you favored parental rights, inane

you're probably glad the new health bill provides money for ab-only sex ed and you're probably a strong supporter of school choice

who knew?

April 06, 2010 9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


"Judge not lest ye be judged."

I imagine that you really hate kids, too.

Perhaps you would have a wider audience if you posted on a fashion-critique blog site.


April 06, 2010 11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought I saw you in Church this past Sunday, "Sick of crybabies".
I must say that your outfit was indeed outrageous and unbecomming to your fast-approaching old-age. And - talk about boobs - you have apparently forgotten to give any attention to your drooping udders. Even the outlandish coursage you wore to draw attention to them was ludicrous. What an affront to the religious families who were in attendance with you!

April 06, 2010 12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't have a problem with the dress. I actually think its cute and "princessy". She had a wrap which she could have put over her cleavage if they were that offended. But rules are rules, I guess and if they said no, then I would have to support the fact that her mom should have reviewed the dress code prior to getting worked up. Out of compliance is out of compliance. Sorry. But as for paddling - really?!? Spanking an 18 year old. Does no one see the inappropriateness of this. It's just shy of sexual harassment.

April 06, 2010 1:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So these teens have the choice of being suspended or being hit. They can get smacked on the behind for dressing too sexy.

This means there are adults in the school who will willingly smack the behinds of underage girls as punishment for dressing too sexy.

Does anyone else see the sick irony in this?

April 06, 2010 5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always knew that sado-masochism was a special interest of the wacko heterosexual "family values" folks!

April 10, 2010 10:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That dress is fucking ugly... and her cleavage was extremely noticeable... especially sitting down with her shoulders hunched... if you're gonna wear a dress, sit like a lady! The dress wasn't too short in my opinion, but it did show too much of her boobs...

April 12, 2010 8:00 PM  
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