Last week, a Florida high school student who went to school without wearing a bra says she was pulled out of class and asked to put band-aids over her “protruding” nipples by the school’s dean.
A teacher at Braden River High School complained about Lizzy Martinez, 17, being a “distraction” to other students in the class because she was braless. The teen claims she was wearing a loose long-sleeved green shirt; it was not see through.
Martinez was subsequently sent to the school dean Violeta Velazquez’s office, where she was told of the complaint and asked to put on a tighter t-shirt under her long-sleeved shirt. The girl complied, but was then asked to head down to the school’s clinic where she was met by the school nurse and the dean and asked to cover her nipples with four band-aids.
“She told me that I needed to put a shirt on under my long-sleeve shirt to try to tighten my breasts — to constrict them,” Martinez explained to the Bradenton Herald in a Thursday interview. “And then she asked me to move around.”
According to the publication, Martinez felt “humiliated” over the incident.
“The students that were laughing or snickering or talking about me, that should have been addressed, not me, because I wasn’t the issue there,” she said.
On Twitter, the teen posted, “I decided not to wear a bra today and got pulled out of class bc one of my teachers complained that it was a ‘distraction to boys in my class,'” she wrote. “My school basically told me that boys’ education is far more important than mine and I should be ashamed of my body.”
She also complained that the school was “sexualizing” her and showcased a screenshot of the school’s Twitter account blocking her in retaliation.
The school issued a statement in response to the incident, on Thursday.
“This matter was brought to the attention of the Superintendent’s Office for review,” said Mitchell Teitelbaum, the district’s general counsel. “It is undisputed that this matter should have been handled differently at the school level and corrective measures have been taken to prevent a reoccurrence in the way these matters will be addressed in the future.”
According to the district’s Code of Student Conduct, students are “expected to dress appropriately for school and for the business of learning with proper attention given to personal cleanliness, grooming and neatness.”
“If it was a male dean that asked my daughter to do this, we wouldn’t even be on the phone trying to justify it, therefore we should not be doing it as female deans,” said Kari Knop, the teen’s mother.
“We should not treat a girl like this because of where her fat cells decided to distribute genetically,” Knop added.
Knop reportedly emailed Superintendent Diana Greene later in the week, according to the Bradenton Herald. “Though Greene at first sympathized with Martinez, her mother said, she later said the girl’s ‘protruding’ nipples may have distracted other students — a violation of the district’s dress code,” says the report.