• Banned from Prom for offensive dress & no date

    Date: 04.27.12 | by Judge Tom.

    Texanna Edwards is a senior at Gibson County High School in Tennessee. In April, 2012, she showed up at her prom wearing a custom-made dress that resembled the Confederate flag. School officials considered the dress “offensive and inappropriate” and turned her away.  She was told that if she  changed clothes she could return and attend. She refused to change and missed her prom.

    Texanna & date

    Texanna stated that “It was done just for the sole fact that I just wanted a rebel flag dress because I thought it was cool.” The school had experienced race-related incidents in the past. The director of the county school system said “You have to try to do what’s best for every child. Because of past incidents, the principal felt that by admitting that dress it could cause a problem that night . . .” Texanna was surprised she was turned away, commenting that other students regularly wear Confederate flag jewelry and clothes to school.

    In another situation, a teenager was denied permission to attend her junior prom because she didn’t have a date. Seventeen year-old Amanda Dougherty goes to Archbishop John Carroll High School in Pennsylvania. She bought her ticket to the dance ($95.00) and spent approximately $1,000 on her dress and accessories. Then her date backed out leaving her without a partner. The school explained that they “view the prom as a special social event where a date is required.” Amanda plans to fight for her right to attend. She expressed her frustration and feelings by commenting ”For them to say we’re not good enough to go without a guy next to us, that’s kind of sickening.”

    We’ll keep you posted on the outcome. We hope the school relaxes the rule and allows Amanda to participate in the once-in-a-lifetime event. Update: At last report, Amanda was asked out by another boy and will now get to attend her prom. We’re happy for Amanda, but that doesn’t solve the underlying issue. We talk a lot about the rights and responsibilities of kids and teenagers. But what about the duty of a school to respect a student’s welfare and overall best interests. Maybe some of these adults have forgotten how important certain school events are to a teenager.

    Doritos dress

    On the lighter side, consider Maura Pozek, a 17-year-old at Reed Springs High School in Missouri. She has made all of her prom dresses since her freshman year. Her choice of materials has caught the eye of her friends and now the media.  

     

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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    2 Comments subscribe to these comments.

    • nataliejacobs
      Fri, 27 Apr 2012 at 03:28

      Wow! That’s crazy.

    • Guest
      Wed, 02 May 2012 at 06:51

      What about her free speech rights?
      Free speech is not an absolute freedom under the First Amendment. There are limits to what you can say or express through your actions. If the speech is offensive and potentially dangerous to others, such as wearing the Confederate flag to school or an event where there’s a history of racial tension, the school can restrict your rights in the interest of maintaining a safe, hostile-free environment.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

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