MT. ORAB, Ohio (WKRC-TV) – A seventh grader’s choice of dress to a school dance is causing a firestorm in one Ohio community.
Ari Waters says she carefully chose a yellow dress to wear to a dance at Mt. Orab Middle School.
“The yellow dress was just right for me. It fit me perfectly. It wasn’t inappropriate,” she said.
When she arrived at the dance, a teacher told her to put her coat on over her sleeveless dress.
Ari asked her mother to pick her up because she felt singled out, being told to cover up when she says more revealing outfits were allowed.
Gina Waters, Ari’s mother, said she demanded an explanation from the school’s vice principal.
“I said, ‘What’s wrong with her bare arms?’ And she said, ‘They are sexual objects.’ And I said, ‘Whoa, wait a minute,” Gina Waters said.
Gina says she felt like the comment implied that boys could not control themselves around girls with bare arms.
“I don’t know how to describe it. I felt dirty and just really down and upset that she said that because through the whole night, my friends were telling me, ‘Oh your dress looks beautiful. You look so gorgeous today,” Ari said.
The station looked over the school’s dress code, which prohibits tank tops. However, it does not discuss sleeveless clothing.
“Mt. Orab Middle School has an adopted dress code that we require all students to abide by for school functions. Administration is required to make sure students follow that dress code,” a statement from the school principal read. “Several weeks before a school dance at Mt. Orab Middle School, the students were explicitly told that the dress code should be adhered to. There were three to six students that evening at the dance who were asked to put on a sweater to cover their sleeveless attire. The student in question was among one of the three to six students who were asked and she put on her coat and stayed at the dance. As for the other allegations, the district has looked into the situation and deemed them to be unfounded.”
“I understand why they’re backing her. She’s administrative staff and I understand that, but it did happen,” said Gina. “They’re kids. They’re not sexual objects. They’re not sexual beings. That word should never have been used and it should never have been associated with an arm, with a limb.”