A Florida teen is making national headlines after she says she was humiliated by her school’s administration for failing to wear a bra to school. According to 17-year-old Lizzy Martinez, she was wearing a modest, loose, gray, long-sleeved shirt when she went to class at Braden River High School on Monday. To her shock and amazement, she found herself sent to the office of Dean Violeta Velazquez after a teacher complained that her attire was a “distraction.”
Specifically, the teacher had reported to the dean that Lizzy’s unbound breasts and visible nipples were “a distraction to boys in [her] class.” In a conversation with a local newspaper, the high school student claims that she was told to disguise the appearance of her braless breasts by constricting them with a second shirt under her long-sleeve shirt. After she made the modifications to her attire, Lizzy Martinez claims that her dean demanded that she “move around” to prove that her breasts were sufficiently restrained, reports KIRO 7.
“She told me that I needed to put a shirt on under my long-sleeve shirt to try to tighten my breasts — to constrict them. And then she asked me to move around.”
The Braden River High School Dean remained dissatisfied with the 17-year-old girl’s appearance, and according to Martinez told her to go to the nurse’s clinic to get four bandages – two for each breast – to cover her nipples. Martinez claims that the humiliating body-shaming left her in tears, and she later took to social media to express her disgust and outrage.
I decided not to wear a bra today and got pulled out of class bc one of my teachers complained that it was a “distraction to boys in my class.” My school basically told me that boys’ education is far more important than mine and I should be ashamed of my body. @Manateeschools :)— liz (@lizzymartineez) April 2, 2018
In a tweet, Lizzy Martinez accused her teacher and school administration of putting her male classmates’ educational opportunities above her own, even treating her as though “boys’ education is far more important.” What’s more, the teen felt as though she was being taught to be “ashamed of my body.” The school district involved in the incident admits that the situation played out as described by Martinez, but claims that they were just “trying to enforce the dress code.”
A dress code that, incidentally, doesn’t require girls to wear bras, or even mention female undergarments.
It does, however, prohibit students from “dressing in a manner that distracts other students.” In a statement released by Mitchell Teitelbaum, the general counsel for the school district, he admitted that matter “should have been handled differently.”
She doesn’t have to wear one, bras have been optional from the time they were invented. As long as the shirt wasn’t see through there was nothing wrong with what she did. Women fought for rights in the 60’s not to be forced into things like this by men.— Sabrina Zombie (@NumbZombieMom) April 7, 2018
This is a violation of your rights as a female. No one should be nipple shamed. So if a guy’s nipples are showing through his shirt - are they going to require bandaids be applied? They are part of your body.— FlyEaglesFlyNC (@AppStateJen) April 6, 2018
Come on now, you knew perfectly well what you were doing, and so did your teachers.— Bucko (@fatherlyconcern) April 7, 2018
While you've accused them of "sexualizing" you, you're the one who went to the press about how a poor schoolgirl was forced to wear tape over her nipples.
Get real, you love the attention.
I just saw this on fb. The boys should be punished for not paying attention in class & letting it be a distraction. We had a girl stand up in class, flash the whole classroom on a few different occasions. All she got was a Please sit back down and do your work! Was 13 years ago.— Danny Pritchett (@dannypritchett) April 7, 2018
“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.”
According to Teitelbaum, school employees were simply trying to help the student correct her violation of the dress code. As WCPO 9 reports, the school made a point of making it known that Lizzy Martinez was not subjected to disciplinary action in connection with her alleged dress code violation. However, Martinez’ mother Kari Knop was unhappy with the way her daughter was treated and singled out simply for being a girl with breasts and demanded a meeting with school administrators after she learned of her daughters’ ordeal.
“We should not treat a girl like this because of where her fat cells decided to distribute genetically.”
Martinez also shared a screenshot that indicates that she has been blocked from commenting on her school’s Twitter account following the incident and tweeting out a demand that Braden River High School “stop sexualizing my body.”
*school has student put bandaids over her nipples because it is a “distraction” then blocks them for calling them out on sexualizing her* :/ pic.twitter.com/x8dEDYjh2c— liz (@lizzymartineez) April 3, 2018
Martinez says that she now intends to stop wearing a bra to school in protest of the school’s alleged sexualization of her body. She further added that the distraction was being caused by other students’ behavior, not her choice to go without a bra. She believes that it was the “distracted” boys who should have been pulled out of class and counseled for their reactions, not her.
“The students that were laughing or snickering or talking about me — that should have been addressed, not me, because I wasn’t the issue there.”