THE green top looks innocent enough.

It has a scooped neck and sits slightly off the shoulders.

But it's caused a whole lot of fuss in the US.

The shirt in question was worn to school last week by Summer, an honour student who attends Hickory Ridge High School in North Carolina. She was sitting having her lunch when the principal approached her and told her to put on a jacket because the shirt fell off her shoulders, which was a violation of the school's dress code.

The school report states Summer responded "I think my shirt is fine". The principal then told Summer that her lower back was also completely exposed, so she was still not in compliance with dress code. Summer repeated again, "My shirt is fine."

KENS-5 News reports that Summer didn't have a jacket, but she borrowed one from a friend which she reluctantly put on.

But it didn't end there.

The principal said that her lower back was still exposed, so she would have to go and change.

"I completely understand why a dress code is put into place but I feel like after I put on that jacket it should have been subdued," Summer told KENS-5.

But Summer didn't head to get changed. She stayed in her seat.

The principal and Summer have had a number of issues during her four years at the school. It's gotten so bad that the student's mother recently instructed the school administrators to call her before taking any sort of disciplinary action against her daughter.

"They can't take me anywhere unless my mother is called," Summer told KENS-5. "So I said 'I apologise, I can't go anywhere with you unless my mum is called."

But unfortunately neither Summer or the principal were able to reach her mother.

After the bell sounded Summer accompanied her friends to the auditorium. Shortly after, she says the principal entered the room and ordered everyone to leave except for Summer.

"[The SRO*] was within five feet of me, he had his hand on his gun. [The principal] said 'I'm gonna give you an ultimatum. We have tried to call your mother. You either come with me to the control room to change your shirt or we will arrest you."

Summer remained where she was and continued trying to contact her mother.

"I stayed in my seat just like a lot of role models that I have looked up to stayed in their seats," she says. "I mean, you have to stand up for what you believe in."

Summer said the principal told the SRO to arrest her, but her mum called back before she was handcuffed. Summer did eventually go to the control room, where she was handed a 10-day suspension.

The official cause for suspension according to the letter sent home was "insubordination".

She says the principal is still considering expelling her.

Her mother plans to appeal.

A spokesperson for the school system refused to comment to KENS-5, citing student privacy, and provided a copy of the school's dress code. The dress code is lengthy and specifically, prohibits students from wearing off-the-shoulder shirts.

Earlier this school year, 45 students at Hickory Ridge High were sent to the principal's office for wearing leggings with shirts that were deemed too short.

On top of the suspension Summer says she has been banned from all senior activities, including attending her own graduation.

"It's just sad because I worked so hard for four years to walk across that stage," she says.

"We have drug dealers walking across that stage, we have sex offenders walking across that stage and then the student who excels who showed her shoulders can't."


* School resource officers (SROs) are sworn law enforcement officers who are responsible for providing security and crime prevention services in the American school environment.

News Corp Australia

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