A 14-year-old student’s mum has accused her teacher of sexual harassment after she was told her outfit was “letting them hang out for the whole world to see”.
Alice Wagner told News4Jax that the teacher commented about her clothing as she was walking out of her classroom at Yulee Middle School, Florida, US.
“(The teacher) told me I was ‘letting them hang out for the whole world to see,’ as I was exiting the classroom,” Wagner said.
“I went to the bathroom and I came back and I said, ‘You need to stop sexualizing 14-year-old girls.’”
She went on: “I grabbed my stuff and I removed myself from the situation.”
Wagner said she then went to the school office to phone her parents but wasn’t allowed to make the call.
She said the situation escalated into a fiery exchange with school staff, which resulted in her receiving a 10-day suspension, which came into effect on April 28.
Both Wagner and her mother, Sarah, acknowledged that the student’s outburst crossed a line.
“I don’t think it’s okay for her to talk to teachers that way, but I understand why she was angry,” Sarah Wagner told News4Jax
“She was basically sexually harassed by her teacher. … The teacher did apologise, she did understand what she did was wrong.”
The mum and daughter say the comment is evidence of a “systemic problem” at the school and the student shared her belief that there’s a double standard when it comes to enforcing the dress code.
Wagner said that students have previously tried “to stop sexism on school grounds” but “to no avail”.
“I believe that teachers are targeting women with mature bodies, women in general absolutely,” she said.
“So just because I have a little bit of breasts, I get targeted.”
The Nassau County School District has a dress code policy in place that forbids students from wearing “tops with thin or no straps, or tops that show midriff or expose the body”.
This policy also bans see-through clothing and items that show undergarments.
The dress code was updated in January, and the district said it reevaluates its policy each year.
Wagner said she was told her undergarments were visible, but she claims the cardigan she wore that day would’ve made that impossible.
The teen said her teacher’s comments made her “feel very uncomfortable”.
It’s unclear if Wagner or her mother have made a formal complaint of sexual harassment against the teacher.
In a post to Facebook, Wagner wrote that the entire ordeal has left her feeling “extremely disappointed in the school system”.
She said she now feels “powerless and silenced”.