Leggings may be considered by many to be a staple of the comfy-casual wardrobe, but high school dress codes are finding it difficult to figure out where they stand on the skin-tight pants — and, in some cases, school administrators are actually chastising students for not wearing pants that are more “flattering” to their bodies.
South Carolina news outlet ABC4 recently obtained audio of a high school assembly in which Principal Heather Taylor drew a line in the sand for her students regarding leggings. During her speech, Principal Taylor told students that if they wore leggings as pants, they would look fat.
“(Leggings are) meant to wear underneath a long shirt that covers your hiney, or a long sweater of some type, or a dress. It is not meant to be your actual pants, and if you have a shirt that comes to here, then you are showing everything. Yes, everything.”
“The sad thing is with that, ladies — if someone has not told you this before, I’m going to tell you this now — unless you are a size zero or a two, and you wear something like that, even though you are not fat, you look fat.”
The most bizarre part about this speech, apart from the unconscionable fat-shaming of teenage students, is that it seems to have nothing to do with actual dress code concerns typically addressed by school administrators.
Once the audio of the incident broke to news stations, Principal Taylor was forced to explain her comments in an official statement. However, she notably managed to avoid apologizing to her students:
Yesterday and this morning, I met with each class of the Stratford High School student body. I addressed a comment made during a 10th grade assembly and shared from my heart that my intention was not to hurt or offend any of my students in any way. I assured them all that I am one of their biggest fans and invested in their success. After speaking with our students and receiving their support, I am confident that, together, we are ready to move forward and have a wonderful year. Stratford High is a very caring community, and I want to thank all of our parents and students who have offered their support to me and provided me with an opportunity to directly address their concern. I am very proud to be a Stratford Knight.
Though Principal Taylor claims the situation has been rectified with her students, one girl who attended the assembly told ABC4 that the comments were very damaging.
“It was really hurtful, cause I felt like my size made me look disgusting towards someone in the clothes that I wear,” she said. “I wear leggings outside of school and I wear leggings when I go and hang out with my friends, and to think that someone would think that I look like a stuffed sausage — that was kind of hurtful.”
If educators need reminders of simple ways to support their students, here’s one: don’t fat-shame your already-insecure teenage students over an innocuous fashion trend.