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High school senior’s dress code violation leads to suspension

Like most high school seniors, Evette Reay wanted to end high school on a good note. Instead, she left with a suspension 30 minutes before the bell rang.

When Evette wore her green dress, she did it to celebrate her accomplishments at West Side High School.

“It was my last day of school. I wanted to feel good about myself,” said Reay. “I was fixing to be a woman in this world that was conquering anything.”

So when teacher Legrand Leavitt told her to go home and change out of it, she was surprised how much trouble her dress could cause. After telling him no, he told her he was going to call the superintendent and told her he could hold her diploma for insubordination.

“I felt that was very threatening and out-of-line for the teacher,” Reay said.

After she called her mom, Michelle Reay, to bring her a new set of clothes, she found out she was suspended for insubordination.

When Michelle Reay got there, she, her daughter, Leavitt and principal Tyler Telford had a conference. Leavitt claimed Evette was rude and got in his face when he said her dress was too short.

Michelle Reay understands how the dress pushes appropriateness, but she didn’t like how the situation was handled.

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

Michelle Reay feels the school didn’t follow its own guidelines in its handbook. West Side High School’s handbook states if a student is inappropriately dressed, they have to call home to arrange for appropriate clothing. The school could also provide clothing to wear that day.

Evette Reay feels the school treated her unfairly.

“They took me to the extreme and (told me) you’re suspended,” she said. “I realize I told you no, but after I talked to my school board member about that, he was like, ‘You had every right to say no.'”

Telford and Leavitt were reached for comment but both declined, citing the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.

School board trustee Dan Garner plans to try and expunge Evette Reay’s suspension from her record.

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