A 17-year-old homeschool girl and her boyfriend bought tickets to the Richmond, Virginia, Homeschool Prom — an event that allows homeschooled teens to socialize the same way they would if they attended a traditional high school — but when Clare Ettinger got there, she was soon asked to leave. She says she was told, “The way I dressed and moved my body was causing men to think inappropriately about me.”
Before Clare went to the prom, she purchased a new dress just to be certain that her outfit met the “fingertip length” dress code, meaning that a girl’s dress must extend below the length of her fingertips when she holds her arms at her sides.
Here is the dress Clare wore that evening, clearly longer than the end of her fingertips.
Nonetheless, the dress got her stopped at the door by a chaperone who told her the dress was too short. After Clare protested, the chaperone relented and let her in. But as soon as she and her friends got on the dance floor — where she says, she was merely “swaying” to the music and not dancing in any allegedly provocative way — she noticed a group of middle-aged men in a balcony above who couldn’t keep their eyes off her.
She said, in a blog post about the incident, that she and her friends were “a little grossed out by all the dads on the balcony above the dance floor, ogling and talking amongst themselves.”
The homeschool teen — who also studied at a local community college while finishing high school via home schooling — was on the dance floor for just a few moments when a chaperone approached her again.
“She took me into a corner in the hall way, with another woman, and told me that some of the dads who were chaperoning had complained that my dancing was too provocative, and that I was going to cause the young men at the prom to think impure thoughts,” Clare recounted.
Clare and her friends again put up a protest, reiterating that her dress was in full compliance with the Homeschool prom’s own dress code. But it didn’t matter. The chaperones kicked her out.
And while the prom refunded Clare’s ticket price, her friends were also promised refunds but never received them.
Now Clare is asking the prom keep its promise and give her friends their money back — and she wants the women who booted her from the prom to say they’re sorry “for kicking me out of my senior prom because their husbands felt as though my body was something they had a right to control,” she wrote.
“I’m not responsible for some perverted 45-year-old dad lusting after me because I have a sparkly dress on and a big ass for a teenager,” Clare said. “And if you think I am, then maybe you’re part of the problem.”
The Richmond Homeschool Prom Facebook page was bombarded with angry comments over the Clare’s ejection. Rather than apologize, the prom deleted the comments, then shut down the entire page.