W. Mich. mom shares outrage on social media over clothing controversy

MARSHALL, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A West Michigan mother is outraged after she says her daughter was singled out at school for a dress code violation--and her anger's gone viral on social media.

But the principal says the post doesn't tell the whole story.

Both mother and daughter spoke exclusively with Newschannel 3 Wednesday night.

Brooke Fields' daughter Madyson is an eighth-grader at Marshall Middle School. She says her daughter was pulled out of class and told her pants were too distracting for the boys in the classroom.

Fields posted to Facebook, telling people to share it if they disagreed with the school district.

That post received 30,000 shares in just one day.

Fields says her daughter was sent to the prinicipal's office for that outfit. She believes her daughter is being unfairly targeted.

Madyson told us she thinks it's unfair the boys are dictating what girls can wear in class.

In the meantime, the principal fired back tonight with a letter to parents at the school. He says the teacher was just following protocol and the student would have been allowed to return to class after being spoken to.

But mom and her daughter say this is all unfair.

"Did I feel that her outfit was inappropriate? No. Those were not leggings, those were pants. I felt that she was modest and she was covered," Fields said. "This is about girls being cut off at the knees. Teachers are there to inspire them, to encourage them. They're not there to tell them that they're a distraction to the boys."

"I hope that the 20,000 people that shared this are inspired and realize that just because I'm a girl and that my teacher that I look up to is deeming me inappropriate because of what I wear and that boys are being distracted, that I don't need recognition from boys and that I can still wear what makes me feel pretty and just because someone is trying to cut you down, doesn't make it wrong," Madyson said.

Marshall Middle School Principal David Turner responded to our inquiries with the letter sent to parents Wednesday night:


Dear Parents,

It saddens me that I have to share information regarding a behavioral issue at school today, but with the incredible volume of inaccurate Facebook chatter, threats/hurtful comments to one of our staff members, and the potential disruption this may cause, I feel I have to provide an accurate response.

The incident as described on Facebook is not accurate for the following reasons:

  • The student was talked to privately at the teacher's desk.
  • The student was asked to go to the office to: have administration check that the clothing did not violate the dress code policy; avoid future questioning by other teachers (situation occurred during the first class)
  • The student questioned why she had to go to the office (which then drew attention to the situation).
  • The teacher explained the following: The staff talked to all students about the dress code recently (within the last two weeks); stated that tights can be worn but clothing must cover mid thigh; that she had been talked to before about dress code items; that her clothing could be distracting to boys
  • The student eventually went to the office.
  • I am not sure how the parent was notified (either student called from office or used her cell phone).
  • A conversation happened with the parent and Principal Turner.
  • THE STUDENT WAS NOT SUSPENDED FROM SCHOOL--nor would have been suspended.
  • THE PARENT TOOK THE STUDENT HOME - their decision.
  • The student later returned to school.
  • The parent's description was very different from the actual account.
  • Principal Turner did say the clothing was in violation of the dress code (item #1 and 2 listed below).
  • Had the parent not taken her home, she could have stayed and attended classes without incident.
  • She would have been asked to not wear that again - see consequences below.
  • The parent shared her opinion on Facebook.
  • Individuals who responded did not have accurate information.

Here is a copy of the dress code policy:

C. Dress Code

The staff of Marshall Middle School, administration, and Board of Education believes students' attire is directly related to their academic success and overall climate of the school. Each student's dress should reflect his/her commitment to learning while on campus. To that end, students who are dressed appropriately will be able to focus on their academic responsibilities with as little distraction as possible during the school day.

The purpose of our dress code is to promote a good academic environment, maintain discipline and prevent disruption of the educational process. While the Board of Education recognizes that each student's mode of dress and grooming may be a choice of personal style and individual taste, any type of dress or hairstyle that is substantially disruptive, distracting, unsanitary or unsafe is prohibited.

  1. Students may wear jeans, slacks, shorts that extend past the mid-thigh (mid-thigh is determined as halfway between inseam and knee), gauchos or Capri pants. Holes/distressed areas in any items may not go above mid-thigh. Dresses and skirts must be mid-thigh length even if a student is wearing leggings/tights/shorts/etc.
  2. Leggings, jeggings, yoga pants, tights, tight form fitting bottoms, etc. are not permitted to be worn during school hours if all the requirements in criteria #1 are not met.
  3. Clothing that draws inappropriate attention to private areas of an individual is not permitted. Example: Words across the buttocks area, patches in private areas, etc.
  4. Hats are not to be worn in the school building. Hats and coats must be kept in the student's locker until the end of the school day. Stocking caps/or winter hats and coats may be worn outside the building when weather dictates.
  5. Suggestive or double meaning message clothing are prohibited.
  6. Pants worn well below the waist (sagging) and exposing undergarments are a safety risk and will be prohibited.
  7. Chains posing a safety risk, or a distraction, whether worn on clothing or as jewelry will be prohibited.
  8. Shirts and tops should completely cover the back, shoulders, chest, cleavage, and stomach (midriff). Undergarments should not be visible. Tank tops, spaghetti straps, and cropped shirts are examples of unacceptable shirts. Crew neck, collared and T-shirts are examples of permissible shirts.
  9. Bandanas or other symbols that may be identified with gangs are prohibited.
  10. For safety and health reasons, students are required to wear shoes (flip flops are discouraged).
  11. Pajamas and slippers are not allowed to be worn without administrative permission.
  12. Clothing, patches, or buttons displaying profane, vulgar or obscene suggestions are prohibited.
  13. Buttons and patches that advocate the use of alcohol or illegal drugs are not allowed.

Consequences for Dress Code Violation:

  • 1st Offense - Redirection, see about anything else to change into, and documented
  • 2nd Offense - Redirection, see about anything else to change into, and documented
  • 3rd Offense - 1 after school detention
  • 4th Offense - 3 after school detentions
  • 5th Offense - 3 days ISS
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