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15-Year-Old Girl Taken To Juvenile Detention Center After Wearing T-Shirt Protesting School’s Dress Code

A 15-year-old Kentucky high school student was arrested and jailed after wearing a T-shirt to protest her school’s dress code.

On August 23, Isabella Messer showed up to Hopkinsville High School wearing a custom T-shirt with a message. The front read “Do my shoulders turn you on?” and the back said “If so, return to the 1920’s.”

Isabella’s mother, Theresa Rucks had the shirt made to protest the school’s new dress code policy, which banned “exposed shoulders” and “see-through white clothes.” Rucks says she became aware of the policy only after the school cited Isabella for violating it when she wore a shirt that showed her shoulders.

Isabella’s protest, however, didn’t go as she and her mother had planned.

According to a police report obtained by the Lexington Herald-Leader, Isabella was “uncooperative and loud” with the school principal after being questioned about the shirt and pulled away several times when the school resource officer tried to arrest her. Later, when handcuffed, Isabella tried using her cellphone to call her mom. When the officer approached to take away the phone Isabella kicked her leg out, hitting the officer in the shin.

Isabella was taken before a judge on charges of disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and third-degree assault of a law enforcement officer. She was then transferred to McCracken Regional Juvenile Detention Center, where she was held for six days.

Rucks said:

She shouldn’t have been in any kind of trouble. Now it turned out to be where she’s in McCracken because the assistant principal did not like what her shirt had read. I feel like the school has gone overboard. She’s such a good kid.

Isabella was released from the detention center last Tuesday but remains under house arrest. Her mother has since enrolled her in a different school but was told Isabella couldn’t be transferred outside of the Christian County Public School system until she goes before a judge again in late September.

In the meantime, Rucks is considering hiring a private attorney to sue the school.

After Isabella was released, Rucks shared photos she claims shows bruising from the arrest.

Responses to the story were split. Many were outraged and agreed that the school had overreacted.

While others sided with the school and their policy.

Though, for many, the only reaction was disbelief.

If only there had been a reasonable way of dealing with the situation.

H/T – Insider, NY Post


Written by Dennis Matthew Livesey

Matt is a writer, designer, and native New Yorker. He has worked in film, where he enjoyed a brief career as a stand-in for Ian Holm; finance, where he pretended to understand his job, and real estate, where nothing remarkable happened. He writes about science, technology, and media. His work includes magazine articles, one published book, and the looming inevitability of the second.