Florida Teen Asked To Put Band-Aids on Her Nipples After Not Wearing a Bra to School
Bradenton, Florida – Last Monday started out like so many others for 17-year-old Florida native Lizzy Martinez. Out of bed, throw on some clothes, down a quick breakfast then out the door for school. Lizzy had decided on a long-sleeve Calvin Klein shirt and chose not to wear a bra underneath.
Halfway through her fifth-period class, the administration at Braden River High School pulled Martinez from class and escorted her to the dean’s office. Lizzy was shocked when the staff of River High informed her that her nipples and breasts were distracting other students and a boy was laughing at her, thus she was in violation of the school dress code policy, according to Lizzy and statements from school officials.
Martinez said that school officials had originally told her that a third-period teacher flagged the dress code issue, but later changed their statement and claimed that a student came to the office to report Martinez. According to Buzzfeed News, Martinez stated
“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, I was mortified.”
At this point, Martinez states that she was taken to the Nurse’s office where she was given four Band-Aid bandages to place over her nipples. Martinex says that she was distraught and in tears as she left the office.
Once home, Martinez’s Mother Kari Knop took a photo of her daughter in the outfit that caused school officials to ask her to cover her nipples. Martinez continued to state to Buzzfeed News that
“They told me to cross out my nipples and I just went to the bathroom and cried. I was in shock that it was such a big deal that I wasn’t wearing a bra. Most days I don’t wear one. It depends on my mood. I’m not wearing one right now, and why should it matter?”
The next day, following these statements, Martinez found that she had been blocked from Braden River High School on Twitter. After receiving a call from the school about a “sensitive matter” — and then another call from her outraged daughter — Martinez’s mother, Kari Knop, said she was livid to discover that school officials removed her daughter from class “because a teacher or a boy was uncomfortable or laughing at her.”
“It’s a disgusting example of a double standard and shows how our culture body-shames women. If a boy was staring at her nipples that long why was he not spoken to or punished?” Knop said in an interview with BuzzFeed News. She added that when she met with school officials, Braden River’s principal acknowledged “she didn’t see anything wrong” with Martinez’s attire.
After several meetings with school district officials, Knop concluded and is of the opinion that school officials unfairly targeted her daughter for wearing attire that was neither inappropriate nor did it violate the school’s dress code.
Knop stated to Buzzfeed News –
“This whole issue was really eye-opening for me and puts things in perspective because I also have a 13-year-old son and, at that age, they have erections on accident and no one calls them out or sends them home,” she said. “Why is a 17-year-old girl’s breast moving any different? It’s a collection of fat cells. They had to ask her to stand up and bounce her breasts around to show it was a distraction,” Knop added, incredulous. “So how was it a distraction?”
In a statement released few days after the incident, Mitchell Teitelbaum, the school district’s general counsel, noted that the situation was mishandled but contended that Martinez broke the rules because she had distracted other students by not wearing a bra.
“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.”
The school’s dress code policy does not specifically require or address bras and undergarments.
Martinez has yet to return to school for a full day because she feels “uncomfortable” going back to a teacher who complained about her breasts. Martinez is planning a protest that will hopefully “push back on the school’s outdated views.”
“I find it hard to believe that someone saw my boob jiggle and it was the end of the world for them,” she said, explaining how frustrated and “let down” she was at her school for “shaming” her and “then blocking [her] on Twitter.”
Sources: Buzzfeed News