Picture day is the most important day of the school year for a budding fashionista — and possibly the worst day to wear the wrong thing. Which is why 11-year-old Vegas from Montana wore a new dress for the occasion. The heather gray dress with big pink flowers looked lovely on the middle school student. It had a high neck and no sleeves and rested right above her knees. She wore leggings under the dress, making it totally appropriate for school. Or so her family thought.
Unfortunately, leggings were not enough; picture day ended in disaster when Vegas was cited for violating the school dress coded for “showing her shoulders,” according to her grandmother Sandra Lynn Beeler Darling.
Vegas was devastated, as any little girl in what she thought was a picture perfect outfit would have been. And so was her grandmother, who posted a photo of Vegas on Facebook with a caption explaining what happened. In the photo, Vegas is crying.
My beautiful granddaughter Vegas got dress coded today, her sister bought her this dress and they told her to change it…
“My beautiful granddaughter Vegas got dress coded today, her sister bought her this dress and they told her to change it because it was distracting,” Sandra wrote in the post. “It was picture day and she wanted to look cute; she is 11.” She continued: “If you or your kids think it is distracting, don’t look at her.” Sandra pointed out that she’s seen children in much more provocative clothing.
The post has gone viral, with more than 1,300 reactions, 2,000 shares, and a lot of angry comments. “I don’t understand why this dress would be distracting. And it’s well below her finger tips. That’s ridiculous. I would argue this as a parent,” one follower wrote. Another commenter offered an explanation: “The board put in some ridiculous policy that their shoulders cannot show. It is stupid; if they are sexualizing a[n] 11 year old’s shoulders they should not be allowed around children!”
One commenter chimed in: “That’s messed up. People at our school wear clothes that are worse than this that never get dressed coded.” Another commenter wrote: “There’s nothing wrong with that dress. Have they lost there minds???” To which Sandra replied, “We think they have.”
When one person suggested she get a cardigan to avoid situations like this in the future, Sandra replied, “I am going to send her a few of them. Then I am making her a witch dress; that will give them something to think about.”
Sandra tells Yahoo Lifestyle the school actually said Vegas’ shoulders were distracting. “In my opinion, that is shaming her for showing her shoulders. She was right when she said they are just shoulders.”
Thankfully, the school did allow Vegas to take her class pictures in the dress, but her parents had to bring her different clothes to change into after. “Vegas was so hurt by this,” Sandra shares.
She explains that Vegas has never been cited for a dress code violation before, but she has bared her shoulders in school before and has never had a problem — until now. The same goes for her siblings, who go to the same school. “She has three other sisters and a brother,” Sandra says. “The older kids wore things like tank tops — never dress coded.”
What was so upsetting about the incident, according to Sandra, is that Vegas is a quiet and reserved child. “She does not think that boys even look at her!” she states. Besides, in Sandra’s opinion, “shoulders are just shoulders! What’s the big deal?”
And even if they were a big deal, “if boys are looking at the shoulders and saying sexy things to a little girl, they need the attention, not Vegas,” Sandra states. If someone from the school had just privately requested a change of clothing that would have been one thing, says Sandra, but accusing her granddaughter of “distracting” her fellow students with her shoulders is taking things too far.
“I had to talk to her — she was crying,” Sandra says. “I am mad at the school for body shaming her. Vegas said that she does not want to talk about it because it still upsets her.”
Sandra also says the school won’t talk to them about the incident as “the case is closed, she changed her clothes.”
Yahoo Lifestyle reached out to the school for comment, but have not received a response.
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
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