Lansing middle schooler’s outfit prompts swift addition to dress code restrictions

LANSING, Kan. -- A girl's outfit caused quite the controversy in Lansing, Kansas Wednesday and online following a social media post by the student's mother.

Eleven-year-old Bella wore a tunic top and leggings to Lansing Middle School Wednesday. Her mother Kimberly Jones said the 6th grader was sent to the office for a dress code violation.

FOX 4 requested on-camera interviews with Lansing USR 469 Superintendent Darrel Stufflebeam and Lansing Middle School Principal Kerry Brungardt, but was instead referred to the district spokesperson.

"The nurse informed me that she measured all the way around the dress or the shirt and it wasn't the sides, in was in front and in the back where it was too short," Community Relations Coordinator Ninevah Carvan said.

But Jones said her daughter was told it was because she wore leggings. In fact, school dress code policy says if it's a "shirt" violation, a student will be given a T-shirt to wear. Instead, the nurse made Bella wear sweatpants, which are given out when there is a problem with "shorts or pants."

Carvan said the sweatpants are bought new each school year.

"The sweatpants are just gray athletic sweatpants," Carvan said.

Jones said the nurse told Bella she couldn't call her mom.

"She told Bella, 'You're not allowed to call your Mom and you cannot change. She cannot bring you clothes. You need to go back to class and you have to wear these borrowed sweatpants,'" Jones said.

Carvan said the district's goal is to get kids to back to class as quickly as possible.

"That's why we don't allow students to call home because sometimes we can have students sitting in the office for an hour waiting for their parents to come up with a change of clothes," she said.

Bella broke the rules and texted her mother who came to the school. Jones said the principal Kerry Brungardt told her Bella must wear the borrowed sweatpants all day or go home. Brungardt didn't talk with FOX 4 on camera, but the Carvan denied the principal said that. The district claims Brungardt gave her the option to change and come back to class.

Jones said forcing kids to wear borrowed pants all day is a form of embarrassment.

"If I could come up as a parent and bring her a change of clothes and the clothing was no longer an issue, why in the world would you want to humiliate her all day like that?" Jones said.

"It is not intended to be a punishment in any way, fashion, or form. They just want to make sure when students do have a dress code violation, that they can quickly return back to class," Carvan said.

Beyond the dress code, Jones is more upset that no one from the school called her.

"My number one issue with this whole situation is one that my minor, my eleven-year-old, was told that she could not contact her mother when there was an issue," Jones said.

The district said the parents came to the school before that call was made, but also said in the future, it will reach out sooner.

"Just moving forward we will make sure and confirm and make sure that parents are contacted and aware if there are any issues at school," Carvan said.

This was a copy of the exiting dress code policy: (Dress Code Regulations Discipline_Procedures LMS)

This is the new policy (Dress Code Regulations & Cell Phone Procedures Discipline Procedures For Parents) posted Thursday morning, after Bella's "dress code violation" Wednesday. You can see the word "leggings" was added.

Jones took to social media Wednesday night. Her post has been shared hundreds of times and has garnered comments from people in different states and countries. At one point the district disabled the comment feature on Facebook but has since re-enabled the comment function.