One Monday morning, Kate Wilson woke up late and put on some cozy clothes before attending Honesdale High School in Pennslyvania. The outfit was your standard, millennial teen look — a baggy long-sleeve shirt and leggings.
What Wilson did not see coming was how her everyday outfit caused grief for school teachers.
Wilson was sent to the Vice Principal’s office after her first period class after a male teacher said that when Wilson walked up the stairs, it was “distracting him.”
Wilson posted to Facebook addressing the issue while she was being held in the Nurse’s office, expressing her thoughts on adult, male teachers who had issues with the teen’s wardrobe choices.
Wilson posted the following:
“Enough is enough. I wrote this from the nurse’s office of my school. I was reprimanded for a so-called “violation of the dress code”, but I truly believe the only thing that has been violated is my right, as a student, to learn.
Today I wore leggings to school. It was cold, I woke up late, so I threw on a comfortable outfit to get me through my Monday- leggings and a baggy, long sleeve shirt. Not something I would call the epitome of promiscuity. Yet I was called down to the office and told to change my pants. But seeing as many of my female friends agree with me on this, I decided to defend myself and all other girls who have been in my position.
I was told that my pants were making teachers ‘uncomfortable’ as I walked through the halls. The VP made a point of how distracting it was when I walked up stairs. This makes me sick. I’ll admit, I was dumbfounded. How could a grown man so confidently say that I was the problem in that situation? The sixteen-year-old girl, the student, was making grown human beings uncomfortable by existing. If that is the kind of teaching staff you have here in this school district, it is unacceptable.
I will not allow another little girl to stand in that office, being told she needs to change to assure those grown men (who are constantly surrounded by young girls) won’t be turned on by her walking up the stairs.This is a common fault in our society, and it is disgusting. By telling the victim of a potential assault that she is the problem, you are perpetuating the notion that the female body is a thing for men to use, and therefore, you are perpetuating rape culture.
Today, I was told that the discomfort of a middle-aged man who seemingly can’t keep his eyes off of a sixteen-year-old’s rear end takes precedence over my education. I was called disrespectful for defending myself. The only disrespect that occurred in that office was the blatant disrespect of my rights over my body, my education, and my rights as a human being. Please, let me know if you believe this outfit makes you “uncomfortable” or you find it “distracting”.
Many comments were left under Wilson’s post, saying her anger was “out of context” and she should adhere to the rules of the school if she does not want to be called out. She added to her post saying she understood the rules and the consequences but did not like the way it was handled as well as the language used. She also expressed her appreciation for all the support she received and how she stands for all the girls who have been in this position before her and those who will be in her position, after her.
You go girl.
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