Evette Reay Suspended: ‘Too Short’ Dress Violated H.S. School Code, Senior Dressed ‘How She Felt’

When Evette Reay was suspended on the last day of school for wearing a dress deemed “too short,” a debate raged over whether it was fair. West Side High School officials in Dayton, Idaho, said the graduating senior violated the school’s dress code, but Evette, who acted on advice from a lifestyle magazine, said she felt singled out for the suspension.

Reay, 18, was just a half-hour away from joining other high schoolers in preparing for an important milestone into adulthood and their future careers: getting a high school diploma. However, when a teacher observed the teenager’s attire, she was suspended following an exchange, citing a Daily Mail report.

Reportedly, Evette’s teacher, Legrand Leavitt, confronted her over the dress and admonished her for it being too short under guidelines. Instead of having her suspended at that time, he advised her to go or call home for a change of clothing. She refused. Next, he directed her to the superintendent’s office. She agreed but said, “Yes, you can call my mom, too.”

“He told me that he was going to call the superintendent and as he was walking out of the library he said: ‘You do realize that I could hold your diploma for insubordination.’ I felt that was very threatening and out-of-line for the teacher [to say].”

Based on school handbook policy, when a student violates rules and is “inappropriately dressed, he/she will be required to call home to arrange for appropriate clothing, or the school will provide a t-shirt, sweatshirt or sweatpants to be worn that day.”

Evette donned a lacy mint green frock that covered her shoulders and portions of her upper arm. However, it was cut above her knee, which caught the attention of school officials. At a glance, Reay looked demure. However, it appears that Evette was suspended not only because of departure from policy, but also for being insubordinate.

“The teacher told the principal that I had gotten in his face and yelled at him but we were at least four feet apart the entire conversation. I was told, ‘you are suspended, goodbye.’ I had no time to tell my side of the story.”

When the senior’s mom, Michelle Reay, arrived at the school, she had a conference with the principal and teacher. Leavitt said that “Evette was rude and got in his face when he said her dress was too short,” according to local media sources.

The girl’s mom said she fully understands the policy and how the dress may have pushed the limits. However, her concern is over how the school handled her daughter with a suspension.

“It was very hard for a mother, I have watched my daughter for four years of high school put her all into her education.”

Referencing the “School Discipline” and the subsection, “School Rules,” of the handbook, sources suggest Evette violated a number of rules, any one of which could have resulted in a suspension.

“Show respect for others at all times including their property and school property; Listen to and follow directions the first time they are given; Accept responsibility for your own actions; Keeps hands, feet and other objects to yourself.”

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It turns out that the Idaho student was influenced by a magazine. She then wore a dress that made her feel liberated and empowered to celebrate her entry as a woman into the next phase of her life, despite knowing it was too short.

“I read in Seventeen that I had to dress for how I felt. If I dressed well I would feel better about myself, and I wanted to feel good on my last day.”

In a Yahoo Parenting discussion on Evette Reay’s suspension over the dress, the comments were mixed. Some say it’s “no big deal” and the school could “have let it slide,” but the emerging theme from reader opinions from the Yahoo post leans towards a pro-school policy side. Many respondents suggest a willful violation of school policy and a feeling of entitlement took place.

“A dress code is a dress code. She was told to go home because she violated it. She was offered school provided clothing to finish the day. Her attitude is what caused the bulk of her problems.

“She can wear this dress anywhere she’d like to!… away from school. Why was it so important to break the rules on the last day of school? That’s actually a bad example by her.

“In ordinary circumstances, I would agree that there is nothing wrong with the dress BUT she knew what the school dress code was and deliberately violated it so she has to face the consequences. No ifs, no buts, no maybes.”

Tyler Telford, the principal of the school, didn’t comment on Evette’s suspension due to privacy laws. Instead, he said that “the best thing a parent can do for their child is support a teacher and the school.”

Although Evette Reay was suspended for the short dress, she did graduate with her class Wednesday — and with honors. Also, she has been accepted and will be attending Idaho State University. Share your thoughts below.

[Photo via Instagram]