Minnesota kindergartener forced to change sundress due to dress code

At Hugo Elementary, a flap over straps is causing a student's mother to speak out.

Emily Stewart says that she sent her daughter to school Wednesday wearing a sundress, a pair of jeans and a sweater, but the five-year-old kindergartner returned home that afternoon wearing a t-shirt instead of the dress.

“My immediate reaction was to be kind of upset,” said Stewart.

Her daughter, who had been given the dress as a gift from her grandmother, was in tears after being sent to the nurse’s office and forced to change.

“So I asked her that question, ‘Why are you in a t-shirt?’ and she told me that her teacher told her that she needed privacy and had to put a t-shirt on,” said Stewart.

At issue is a school policy banning children from wearing spaghetti straps. Apparently, there were no problems until the elementary school student took off her sweater. 

“I think that when we’re talking about the body of a little girl and determining what’s appropriate and what’s not, you need to talk to the parent because that’s a violation of her privacy and her body without consulting anybody,” said Stewart.

Offended by the school's actions, Stewart went in search of an explanation.

“We simply asked the question, ‘Why is this rule in here?’” she said. “And the principal did not have an answer for us.”

Principal Jason Healy provided Fox 9 with a response, saying, “We are reviewing our protocols at Hugo Elementary. The student dress and appearance policy has been an item of discussion this year in White Bear Lake Area Schools.”

Stewart is now calling on district leaders to make changes.

“I do think that just because there are rules in place, it doesn’t mean it’s okay,” said Stewart.