This is Florida high school student Lizzie Martinez and her mom, Kari Knop:
Martinez has become a viral figure on Twitter after posting about a humiliating experience she allegedly had at school on April 2. Martinez says she was taken out of class because one of her teachers complained she was "distracting" boys by wearing a shirt without a bra.
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.” My school basically told me that boys’ education is far more important than mine and I should be ashamed of my body. @Manateeschools :)— liz (@lizzymartineez) April 2, 2018
Martinez told Buzzfeed News that she wasn't just taken out of class at Braden River High School—she was sent to the nurses office and instructed to put bandaids over her nipples as a safeguard against attracting male attention. Sure, that'll work. But that wasn't it.
"They had me put on a second shirt and then stand up and, like, move and jump around to see how much my breasts moved," Martinez said. "I was mortified."
Her mother received a phone call from school officials, and she was hopping mad about it.
Today I got a phone call from one of the dean's at Braden River High School because my daughter chose to not wear a bra to school. Her shirt was not see-through, it was a thick long sleeve gray shirt...but because a teacher said that "students" found it to be "distracting", they chose to call me as they asked my daughter to put on a second shirt..... after putting on the second shirt, the dean then asked my child to stand up and move around (to see how much her breasts bounced).
Issues I have:
1) The school has no dress code policy statement that states children must wear undergarments of any kind.
2) Another female student, walking out at same time had no bra on and no one said a word to her.
3) Had the dean been a male, the bouncing boob request would have been HIGHLY inappropriate and given the culture we live in, I don't find this request to be acceptable by either sex, as they all could and should be viewed as predatory.
4) Male students are not asked to wear another layer of clothing to cover their nipples.
5) Instead of shaming a kid, why not teach people to look at one's face instead of chest??? PROBLEM WOULD BE SOLVED!!!
She also shared a picture of how her daughter looked. Martinez was just wearing a large, over-sized T-shirt to class. There is nothing remotely sexual about it, in my opinion.
Martinez tweeted that her school had blocked her on Twitter after she posted about the incident:
Mitchell Teitelbaum, the district's general counsel, released a statement saying that Martinez was in violation of the school's dress code, which states that if "personal attire or grooming distracts the attention of other students or teachers from their school work, disrupts educational activities and processes of the school, or is a potential safety hazard" students will be expected to change or face suspension.
However, Teitelbaum does seem to admit the procedure used for handling Martinez's supposed violation was inappropriate.
"This matter was brought to the attention of the Superintendent’s Office for review. 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," Teitelbaum said. "There was a violation of the School Dress Code and it was an appropriate matter to address by the School. It is clear the intent of school officials was to assist the student in addressing the situation. No disciplinary action was taken in relation to the student."
Knop is pretty dissatisfied with the response all around:
She wrote in her update:
So met with Braden River High School's principal, the female dean involved, the nurse and a school board representative....
Because Lizzy wasn't in trouble and they were trying to protect" her from student ridicule, they really don't see the issue with anything, other than the bandaids on the nipples. The Principal did state that the request to bandaid her nipples should have never happened. But the rest of it was excuse after excuse.
Kids talking about Lizzy's boobs and cackling about them bouncing around was NEVER addressed.... I am sorry, but I consider that to be in the category of bullying, which they ALLEGEDLY have zero tolerance for.
Asking Lizzy to stand up and "move around" was found to be an acceptable request.......I consider it to be highly inappropriate, they would never ask a male to stand up and "move around" to visualize any male organs.....
Bottom line, if you would not address it with a male student, you shouldn't with a female. There are males that have extra breast tissue and I am 100% confident they have never been asked to hide the bounce ...I am also 100% sure that no male student in the history of Manatee County Schools has ever been asked to put bandaids on their nipples.
They stated the intervention wasn't over her clothes....bottomline It was over her boobs, which AGAIN is inappropriate.
A lot of people are applauding Martinez for standing up for herself:
they said my outfit was “distracting others” lmk how a long sleeve t-shirt and jeans are distracting.. smh at body shaming if another girl with smaller boobs or a guy was wearing my t-shirt it wouldn’t have been “inappropriate”— liz (@lizzymartineez) April 3, 2018
Unfortunately we still live in a world where a lot of people still think boys not being able to control themselves is a girl's fault. The school was deffo out of line. Stay Strong.— bblume #VetsResistSquadron (@wustenratte) April 7, 2018
read your story on daily mail, i’m with you 100% girl!!! same general thing happened to me in high school, so i have a message for your school 😉: @piratenationhs i have literally no boobs lol, but this message speaks for itself. stop blaming girls for little boys actions.🙄 pic.twitter.com/xDjkDXb3jO— mary-kate (@wednesdxy__) April 8, 2018
That's super gross, I am so sorry to hear that! If they were distracted it is their own stupid fault and the school should have no right to make such invasive decisions and claims.— Temppresence (@Temppresence) April 7, 2018
In college you can wear whatever like 😂😂 still getting a education and nobody has complained about nipples— Destiny smith (@destinyrayne32) April 8, 2018
Wow what a way to keep encouraging rape culture. Instead of holding the boys responsible it's your fault for having nipples. What if the boys nipples were hard?? Would they have to wear band aids too? Why aren't their nipples a distraction??— Maegan (@SchadenfreudeHA) April 7, 2018
Changing societal mores is difficult. Your generation is leading us all in many areas recently. Thanks for your strength and leadership in this domain.— ricklevenson (@ricklevenson) April 8, 2018
Superintendent Diana Green wants to require girls to wear bras as part of the dress code. She should also require boys with any size gynecomastia to wear bras. A dress code should be enforceable to both sexes.— Heather Gillman (@HeatherGillman) April 8, 2018
She admitted to Buzzfeed that she is glad to be starting the conversation, even if the whole ordeal has been uncomfortable and upsetting.
"It's very uncomfortable for people to talk about but this is a big issue that a lot of girls feel targeted and sexualized and have to live up to a standard of what we have to look like and wear," she said. "So I'm just going out and putting myself out there and starting this conversation because we obviously still need to have it."