A Daughter Embarrassed
When Melissa McKinlay’s daughter was reprimanded for wearing ripped jeans, she thought it was a reasonable punishment for not following the dress code. However, when she found out about the lecture her daughter had to endure, and why her choice of clothing could tempt her fellow male classmates, she was left outraged.
This mother was out for revenge…and she was going to get it.
A Normal School Morning
It was a typical late September morning in 2018 when McKinlay’s daughter headed off to school as she normally did. There was nothing particularly special about the day. It was hot, which was normal for Palm Beach County, Florida and the last of the summer weather was finally coming to a close. However, little did McKinlay’s daughter know that her choice of outfit was about to set off a crazy chain of events.
An Unexpected Suspension
It was during her history class when McKinlay’s daughter was approached by one of the administrators of Forest Hill High School. They immediately pulled her out of class and handed her a suspension for the rest of the day. But why? Well, it seemed the jeans she was wearing were in direct violation of the school’s dress code due to a ripped knee.
A Knee-Jerk Reaction
Now, most people would think the administrators were overreacting. For starters, ripped jeans are totally the style now. Also, is it really worth a student losing out on an entire day of school? To say Melissa McKinlay was pissed off would be an understatement, and she immediately went on Facebook to share her anger with the school.
Don’t Mess with Mom
Writing an open letter to the Florida Palm Beach County school district, McKinlay decided to take the school to task on social media. “My daughter wore a pair of jeans today to school. They had a hole in the knee. In the middle of a quiz in her History class, a male administrator came into the classroom.”
However, it wasn’t the ripped jeans part that was the problem.
Social Media Rant
According to McKinlay, the administrator told her daughter that “she needed to consider the guys in her class and their hormones when choosing her wardrobe.” The administrator then pulled her daughter from classes for the rest of the day and made her sit in in-school suspension. “Not only did she miss an entire day of core classes,” McKinlay wrote. “But she couldn’t finish her quiz.”
McKinlay posted a picture of the jeans that were so offensive and claimed that the school administrator displayed a blatant case of male “sexism.” She believed that the school official deserved a suspension as well for “victim blaming” and shaming her daughter. McKinlay was irate…and she wasn’t just some PTA mom either.
A Mom with Power
McKinlay just so happened to be a key position of authority, one that went higher than the officials at the school. In fact, she held so much power that the school would soon regret their decision for suspending her daughter and claiming she was a trigger for male students and their “out-of-control” hormones.
Don’t Mess with the Mayor
You won’t believe it, but Melissa McKinlay was Palm Beach County’s Mayor. Oops. She had just been re-elected in July 2018 and she was also a member of the District Six council. To say she was a powerful woman would be an understatement. McKinlay was the last mom these school officials wanted to mess with.
A Woman with Goals
As mayor, McKinlay spearheaded many initiatives, including taking on the drug companies and holding them accountable for the opioid crisis. She wasn’t afraid of big corporations, and when it came to a high school, she had no qualms with calling them out. McKinlay believed the administrator needed to be held accountable for his sexist actions.
A Violation of the Rules
Her daughter wearing ripped jeans was not the issue. McKinlay completely understood it was against the school rules. The principal had been very clear that any torn clothing was against dress code. Even the location of the tear of the jeans didn’t matter. What mattered was the explanation for WHY she shouldn’t wear them.
No Place for Judgement
According to McKinlay, the school administrator’s job was not to be the “tear police.” Girls and boys had the same dress code in terms of ripped clothing. Therefore, saying her daughter was a temptation to the boys had absolutely no merit whatsoever.
What’s the Problem?
Many people chimed in on McKinlay’s post wondering what the problem really was. Her daughter’s clothing choice was against the school policy and rules were rules. Anyone else would have been punished for the same offense, her being the mayor’s daughter was of no consequence.
The Problem in the Discipline
For McKinlay, it all came down to respect and how the administration handled the issue. She was fine with her daughter being punished for breaking the dress code, but she was not fine with her daughter being the reason that the boys in the school couldn’t keep it in their pants. She was not responsible for male hormones.
Who Is Really Responsible?
In her Facebook rant, McKinlay wrote: “I’m sorry, but, EXCUSE ME? Perhaps my daughter should have worn a different pair of jeans. But why should she have to worry about dressing a certain way to curtail a boy’s potential behavior? So, like, it’s her fault if the boy touches her because of what she was wearing?”
Boy’s & Their Hormones
“A boy’s potential inability to control his hormones warrants my daughter’s inability to attend her classes today and miss valuable curriculum?” McKinlay stated. “Did seeing a knee affect your ability to concentrate? I’d like to think her intelligence and quick wit, beautiful smile and wicked sense of humor might. But her knee?”
We have to admit, she has a point. The school official’s views seem pretty antiquated to say the least.
A Deeper Look into the Situation
After her rant and going to the principal, McKinlay was alerted that they would be investigating further into the situation. The principal wanted to know exactly what was said to her daughter and go from there. However, McKinlay still believed her daughter’s punishment was extreme.
The School Rules
According to the school handbook, clothes should be intact and have no holes, rips or frays. The school’s principal revealed the punishment for dress code violations varied. Initial offenses could result in detention at lunch and further problems could lead to more severe punishments.
The Wrong Approach
No one knows if this was McKinlay’s daughter’s first dress code violation or one of many, but regardless of the way the school official handled the situation was wrong. No girl should be told she is a temptation to her male classmates. It sends the wrong message that if a boy touches you, it is somehow your fault.
McKinlay hopes that by bringing this situation to the public’s attention it can result in better sensitivity training for both the staff and the students. “The message that somehow a woman’s wardrobe is responsible for a man’s behavior is wrong. In any form. I am hopeful this will be used as an opportunity to provide further sensitivity training to staff and students.”
We have a feeling her daughter will be making sure all of her jeans are intact from now on.