- Kate Wilson, a 16-year-old girl from Honesdale, Pennsylvania, said she was reprimanded for dressing in an “inappropriate” way at school.
- She was wearing leggings and a T-shirt.
- Wilson said her school’s vice principal insinuated that her outfit was making teachers uncomfortable.
- The high school student shared her experience in a now-viral post on Facebook, where it resonated with others.
On Monday, Kate Wilson was running late for school. It was chilly out, so the 16-year-old student at Honesdale High School in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, “threw on a comfortable outfit to get me through my Monday- leggings and a baggy, long sleeve shirt,” she wrote in a now-viral Facebook post.
Wilson didn’t expect getting called out of class after first period, she told INSIDER. The student found herself in a meeting with the vice principal in which she was told that her outfit was “inappropriate.”
“I was told that my pants were making the teachers uncomfortable and my vice principal made a point of how distracting it was to see me walk up stairs,” Wilson said.
The student said she tried to defend herself and her outfit – which she said had worn to school before without issue.
“I immediately countered with the fact that if I was making them uncomfortable, they shouldn’t be teaching, which was met with the old, ‘I’m not going to argue with a teenager, you don’t understand, etc.,’ argument,” she said.
According to the Honesdale High School’s student handbook, the dress code requires that “Female students will not be permitted to wear skin tight clothing, objectionable form fitting blouses, or short tops to expose a bare midriff,” but does not specifically address leggings.
After being called out by the principal, Wilson went to the school nurse’s office to call her mum and ask her to bring a new pair of pants. But, ultimately, Wilson decided to go home, as she “was crying and felt ill at the comments that were made.”
When she got home, the 16-year-old took to Facebook, where she shared the post she’d begun to draft when she was still at school.
“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,” she wrote. “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.”
Wilson wasn’t sure what the response would be like when she first shared her post, but she was motivated to share it in case anyone could relate.
“I want girls to feel safe in school. I don’t want another girl to stand in that office and feel the disgust, rage, and violation that I did,” she told INSIDER. “I don’t want another girl to grow up hearing that she must take action to suppress the urges of grown men.”
In the comments section of her Facebook post, people said they understood Wilson’s perspective and applauded her for standing up for herself.
“If this is the outfit you were wearing the teachers have the problem, not you,” one person wrote. “Good for you! You are not wrong! Very well spoken and very mature,” someone else said. “The only disrespect I heard was from the school. Never give up standing for what you believe is right!” “That’s a shame. Honestly. I would keep fighting,” a third person wrote.
Wilson said she wants the school to be a place for learning – not somewhere associated with body-shaming.
“While this may have started in my school with a pair of leggings, it’s become larger than that,” Wilson said. ” The world needs to understand that I might be young and I might be a girl, but I have thousands of other young girls behind me, and if there is one thing you will never be able to do, it is silence us.”
A representative for Honesdale High School didn’t immediately return INSIDER’s request for comment.
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