UPDATE: Franklin Twp. middle school clarifies dress code after skinny jeans debacle

Published:
Updated:

UPDATE 11/23/15: The school sent a note to parents Sunday clarifying the dress code, saying any pants with back pockets are acceptable. Yoga pants and leggings will not be tolerated.

Here's the statement from the school: "Any pair of pants that have “back pockets” will be considered appropriate to wear at school. Items of clothing that clearly have no back pockets and are forming fitting will be considered a violation of the schools dress code. Examples of this include yoga pants and leggings."

___

Parents, you have heard this debate. Are the ever-popular "skinny jeans" appropriate for school?

The parents of a seventh grader at Franklin Township Middle School West say their daughter was sent home for wearing them.

Rodney Bentley says his 12-year-old daughter, Morgan, came to school in skinny jeans on Wednesday. Fashion or infraction, Morgan was told she had violated the school dress code and was punished with an in-school suspension.

"I feel like there's nothing inappropriate about a skinny jean. I'm her mother, I'm not going to send her in anything that I feel is inappropriate," said Morgan's mother, Traci Hull. 

Morgan has been wearing skinny jeans since she started at the middle school. This week, however, it turned into a problem when she and a handful of other students were sent to the office. 

On Thursday, Morgan Bentley went back to school in another pair of jeans, when she was again told they were inappropriate. She was sent home until they could find another pair of pants.

The slim 12-year-old is only growing taller by the day. She says skinny jeans are more than a statement of her style.

"We can't find anything else for me to wear," Morgan Bentley said. 

On Friday, however, Bentley's daughter was again sent home for wearing skinny jeans. The school said she could return if she had an appropriate pair of pants.

"We switched pants three different times and three different times they sent her home," Rodney Bentley said.

"Three days in a row," Hull said. 

Morgan and her father went shopping at several stores to find jeans that the school would consider appropriate. 

"Me and Morgan went to Kohl's and Target and we spent over two hours there going through sweat pants, zero fitting jeans, everything and none of them would fit her," Rodney Bentley said. "There were a couple of them that would have been fine to me, as a father letting my girl to go to school in, they would have sent her back home again." 

"To go into that fitting room and to try on several different clothes and for them to not fit you appropriately, or for her to think that it doesn't fit her appropriately, or that someone is going to judge her, of course it's going to affect her self-esteem. It's heartbreaking to us," Hull said. 

"We were there for over two hours and she was crying during the process of doing it," Rodney Bentley said. 

Dr. Flora Reichanadter, Superintendent of the Franklin Township Community School Corporation released the following statement Friday: 

"As a high-performing school district, the Franklin Township Community School Corporation believes in maintaining a safe and orderly school environment. There are and will be times in which some styles of clothing are not appropriate or conducive to the school environment and should be kept as an option outside of school. Our school handbook is very specific regarding the dress code for middle school students."

The handbook bans "form fitting clothes." 

"The following are never acceptable for students to wear at school: shorts (see guidelines for pants), wrap-around skirts, form fitting clothes (A good rule of thumb would be what the 9th grade center/High School uses - if it has any spandex and/or no pockets it shouldn't be worn)."

Morgan will spend the weekend catching up on three days of missed school work, she and her family are still trying to decide what she will wear on Monday. 

"Bullying is already a huge factor here and to have it feel like the school is bullying, adults are bullying, welcome to the real world, Morgan," Hull said. 

Another parent contacted Eyewitness News about her eighth grader, at the same school, who was sent to the office with about a dozen girls wearing pants that the school deemed inappropriate.