NJ mom puzzles over teen girl’s dress code violation for no bra
A New Jersey mother has been questioning whether a Hunterdon County school’s approach to what they said was a dress code violation by her teen daughter might have been out-of-bounds on the school's part.
The 16-year-old girl recently was pulled out of class from East Mountain School in Belle Mead, operated by Carrier Clinic, and was told by a staff member that “she looked uncomfortable” in her loose-fitting, blue T-shirt, according to Sharon Ivanauskas.
The teen apparently had forgotten to put on a bra that morning, her mom continued.
It was suggested that she put a second shirt on underneath her own shirt, Ivanauskas said. One was given to her and she complied.
When school officials were asked about it afterward by the mom, she was told that her daughter had been "provocative" and that the lack of undergarment was a violation of the school’s strict dress code.
A request for comment on the situation from New Jersey 101.5 sent to the school principal was answered with a written statement from Hackensack Meridian Health on behalf of Carrier Clinic East Mountain School.
"Our dress code explicitly states that the way in which a student dresses for school is the responsibility of the student and the parent/guardian. However, there are rare instances where we must intervene to protect the welfare, health and well-being of our students, and ensure they are able to learn in an environment that is compassionate, sensitive and dignified,” the school’s statement said.
“This is not only part of our school's mission but also the laws and regulations of the State of New Jersey,” the statement continued.
The school declined to answer whether any other students, of any gender, had been similarly approached for the same issue — a lack of undergarment.
The dress code outlined by the school does mention visible underwear, including boxers, is among prohibited items.
But no one from the school has confirmed whether any male students have been stopped and told to either cover up — or put on briefs.
Ivanauskas said that unlike the school’s explicit ban on spaghetti straps and tank tops, or exposure of a student’s midriff, her daughter had been fully covered up and only felt uncomfortable when she was taken out of class and put on the spot by a school staff member.
“We will always act in the best interest of our students to give them the best experience possible at East Mountain School, and are working with the family and school district to address their concerns," the school’s statement also said.
Ivanauskas said while an apology would be nice, she would simply like to know that the situation wouldn’t happen again, with her daughter being singled out for such an "unclear" dress code violation.