Communities

A Sixth-Grader Intentionally Broke Her School’s Dress Code To Make A Point … And It Worked

by Penn Collins

April 18, 2017

The first time Molly Neuner broke King Middle School’s dress code by wearing a racerback tank top, it wasn’t to make a statement. She was wearing what she wanted to. But, according to reports, she was publicly called out by school officials for wearing an article of clothing that was meant to incite or attract attention. 

The sixth-grader quickly learned the harsh nature of dress codes and how they can often vilify girls more than boys and bring shame to students for the most innocuous of reasons. 

So when she dressed in another tank top to wear to school later that week, she was prepared for repercussions. In fact, she invited them. She scrawled on her arm in marker, “#IAMNOTADISTRACTION,” a hashtag that went viral several years ago in the wake of seemingly arbitrary and sexist implementation of dress codes in schools nationwide. 

As bold as Molly’s ploy was, it worked. Soon after Molly’s intentional display, her parents met with the school principal, Caitlin LeClair, who assured them the school would review the dress code at year’s end. Until then, the policy will stay on the books. 

Molly is cautiously optimistic about her school’s promise. She said to the Portland Press Herald, "I'm happy they're going to look at it, but I want to make sure they really do it."

The policy’s fate may be tabled until the end of the school year, but Molly’s mother, Christina Neuner, has taken to Facebook to remark on how proud she is of her daughter for taking action in the face of a perceived injustice. 

It's not every day that a sixth-grader's act of rebellion makes her a poster girl for the American Civil Liberties Union. Given Molly’s statement, it’s unlikely she’s going to let up until she effects change, but she’s off to a roaring start. 

The day following her intentional violation, 20 other girls joined her in breaking the dress code in a show of support. 

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A Sixth-Grader Intentionally Broke Her School’s Dress Code To Make A Point … And It Worked