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Students, parents upset after girls kicked out school dance over dress code

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Isabella Irvine, a senior at American Leadership Academy, talks about being kicked out of a school dance over a dress code violation.

Isabella Irvine, a senior at American Leadership Academy, talks about being kicked out of a school dance over a dress code violation.

Shelby Lofton, KSL-TV

Upset students at a Spanish Fork charter school are speaking out after being turned away from their homecoming dance.

“They originally let me in, but then chaperones, I guess, had a problem with the length of my dress and kicked me out later,” said Isabella Irvine, a senior at American Leadership Academy.

The “Midnight in Paris” dance would be Irvine’s last.

“We were mad for her because this is their senior year, and the dance should be fun and special for them,” said Serena Irvine, Isabella’s mother.

Irvine and about 60 to 90 girls say they were turned away at the gym doors for being out of compliance with the dress code for the homecoming dance. They held a protest before school on Monday, asking for an apology.

But Rich Morley, director of American Leadership Academy, believes the number is closer to 12 students being denied entry.

“From what we were able to see, there were 12 students who were turned away, four of them, left got in dress code and came back. We may have missed some students,” he said.

Morley said the majority of infractions had to do with cleavage showing and dresses being too short dresses.

“They needed to have no undergarments showing, so no underwear showing, the dress had to be at least finger length and no plunging necklines, no cleavage is to be seen,” he said.

Meanwhile, the teenage girls say they made sure their dresses met the guidelines, some had theirs pre-approved but were still asked to leave the dance.

“We looked at the dress code and made sure it’d be perfect, and we had it perfectly tailored to me,” said Liliana Bradford, another senior at American Leadership Academy.

Students said some girls were body-shamed for what they wore.

“There’s a girl who was told that she wasn’t allowed to wear the dress because it didn’t look the same on her as it did on the model,” Bradford said.

Morley responded to those claims.

“Just because another student has worn that dress doesn’t mean it’s going to fit you the same way it fits them,” he said.

Irvine and her mother said they didn’t like how the school handled the situation.

“I hope that the school changes their policy a little bit. I don’t like that it kind of discriminates against girls that are curvy or different sizes,” Serena Irvine said.

Morley said the school board recently changed the dress code policy to be more lenient.

“As an administrator, we don’t make policies. We just enforce policies that are established by boards,” Morley said.