My 5-Year-Old's School Had a Problem With Her Dress -- & Learned Not to Mess With My Kid

Emily Stewart

Emily Stewart

OK this is gonna be long.

The picture on the left is showing what my daughter was wearing to school this morning. The picture on the right is what I picked her up in. She is in kindergarten and she is 5 years old.

  • Now, I knew the weather would be nice today. I sent her to school with a light sweater over her dress and jeans underneath of it.

    It’s a new dress that her grandma got her and she really wanted to wear it. We live in Minnesota and having 65-degree weather in April a week after a snow storm is everything to us in the Midwest. So, I thought, “yeah it will be nice out you can wear a dress.” And that was the end of my thinking. It didn’t occur to me that an adult would look at my 5-year-old child and think that wearing a dress was inappropriate.

    She was told that she needed to leave class and go to the nurse's office.

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  • The nurse told her that she needed to cover her body and made her put on this T-shirt.

    Emily Stewart

    I am not making this post to bash the school or say anything bad. I’m making this post to raise some discussion.

    As a mother, how am I supposed to teach my daughter to love and celebrate her body when she has people telling her she “needs privacy?”

  • What exactly is private about a 5-year-old's shoulders?

    Why is it OK to put my daughter's bare shoulders before her education?

    Why was her dress looked at as an inappropriate outfit to begin with? She is 5, why is she being sexualized?

    I asked her when I picked her up, “Why are you wearing a T-shirt?” She said, “I was told I had to put something on because I need privacy.”

    I then asked, “How did that make you feel when they told you that?”

  • She started bawling.

    She was excited to wear that dress to school and show her friends and play in it on the playground.

    She said to me, “I don’t know why they told me I couldn’t wear my dress it was super embarrassing.”

    How do I teach a little girl that what she wears and her appearance is not nearly as important as her education and self-development when things like this happen?

  • The school has been approached and the policy has been changed.

    Emily Stewart

    It no longer includes the ability for adults to make determinations about the appropriateness of a child’s body. 

    I think that the school should have known about the policies they were setting and I wish they could have given an explanation as to why they were being enforced to begin with. I am glad they have listened to my concerns as a parent and made the changes necessary to correct the errors. 

    I just hope that other parents find the courage and are able to speak out against the sexualization of their kids l. I also hope that this creates a conversation amongst other school districts to reevaluate their own policies that enforce the same ideologies.

    This post was written by Emily Stewart and reprinted with permission.