School officials cite handbook following Shelton prom dress cont - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

School officials cite handbook following Shelton prom dress controversy

Shelton High School. (WFSB file photo) Shelton High School. (WFSB file photo)

Controversy has brewed in Shelton over what's considered "appropriate" dress for the high school's junior/senior prom.

Superintendent Freeman Burr said in a statement on Monday that students were made aware of the rules in the student handbook. However, they can appeal their dress to school officials on Monday.

"At this point, we are aware of six or seven dresses that have been deemed inappropriate," Burr said. "However, there will still be an opportunity for those students who want to appeal that, to do so on Monday."

Parents said they are wondering why they are just hearing about the dress code now, with less than one week until the big dance.

Burr said recently, some students shared photos of their dresses to school staff members, a handful of which were considered inappropriate, too revealing and over exposed.

Finding the perfect prom dress is no easy feat, and for Shelton High School junior Alexis Geric, in March, she said she knew she found the right one.

"Loved the dress, tried it on ... I was like this is the dress ... I'm getting it," Geric said.

However, just eight days before her prom, administrators told her that her dress was inappropriate because of the open back. Her mother said she couldn't believe it.

"It doesn't make any sense. If anyone sees the picture of her dress you can see there is nothing compromising about it whatsoever because if there was I wouldn't be letting her wear it," said Tonni Montalvo.

In a press conference on Monday afternoon, Burr said the dress code is outlined in the student handbook which is given out every school year, and is also stated in the prom contract that students sign when they buy a ticket.

"As a school system we have the right and I think we have the responsibility to set a standard for appropriate attire," Burr said.

However, a YouTube video from the annual Mr. Student Body competition held at the high school, some boys were seen wearing leotards, and others were shirtless.

Parents said it is a double standard.

"It's what we're teaching these girls, you have to cover up yourselves instead of teaching boys to mind their manners," Montalvo said.

For students like Geric, what is supposed to be a memorable milestone of their high school years has turned into a complete nightmare.

She said she has to wear a T-shirt or a tank top under her gown, or find new dress.

"I don't know if I should go anymore. I might not want to go next year after this," Geric said.

So far, 549 tickets to the prom have been purchased.

It is set to take place on Saturday evening at 6 p.m. at the Toyota Oakdale Theater in Wallingford.

Students whose dresses are deemed inappropriate will not be allowed in and they will not be refunded their $90 ticket.

Officials said that's when they decided to give students a refresher on school policy:

  • Students are expected to be in school and on time for school and all classes. Privileges, such as the prom, senior banquet, field trips and eligibility for scholarships, have and will continue to be removed from students who demonstrate a pattern of being absent and tardy to school.
  • During homeroom students should have your IDs on and place any headgear including baseball hats in your locker.
  • Students are expected to demonstrate appropriate behavior in classrooms, in the hallways, in the cafeteria and on buses.
  • Students must not gather and block the halls or stairwells, especially stairwell C on the third floor.
  • Students are expected to pick up and throw away your trash in the cafeteria. Food should not be taken out of the cafeteria. Any other trash and water bottles should be disposed of properly, not thrown in the stairwells or halls.
  • It is against state statute to smoke on school grounds. This includes our bathrooms.
  • Students are expected to follow the Shelton Board of Education dress code. Short shorts are not acceptable. In addition, the administration has received numerous inquiries regarding prom dresses. Two-piece outfits, in which the midriff is exposed, are not appropriate. One piece dresses, in which there is no back or with side cuts-outs are not appropriate. 

Students with questions about their dresses can consult a newly created advisory committee. It consists of female staff and the Shelton High School headmaster.

"We made sure that guidelines were set well in advance of this event, so that both students and their parents were aware of our expectations, due to the fact that in years past, some very questionable dresses were worn by a few to prom," Burr said. "We don't want to turn anyone away at the door, from what we want to be a safe memorable evening for everyone."

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