6th-Grade Girl Is Being Applauded For Intentionally Breaking Her School’s Dress Code

It’s not terribly unusual for schools to implement a basic dress code that they expect their students to follow. Whether it’s the specific shirt-and-tie uniform that some private schools require or a ban on anything that might be gang-related, dress codes are a common practice.

Still, what sixth-grader Molly Neuner and her friend encountered at their Portland, Oregon-area middle school surprised them. One afternoon, she and the friend were walking into class when a teacher suddenly stopped them.

What happened next wasn’t just unnecessarily cruel, but it also forced Molly to do something drastic…

Recently at King Middle School in Portland, Oregon, Molly Neuner and her friend were walking into their sixth-grade classroom when their teacher stopped them. She was angry that the girls were, evidently, breaking the school’s dress code.

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The surprisingly thing was that Molly, who was wearing a racerback tank top, and her friend, clad in a pair of shorts, had each worn these same exact items to school many times before without issue. Regardless, the teacher made them “measure themselves,” using their fingers at their sides to determine if their clothes met the code—all embarrassingly in front of their classmates.

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The teacher scolded them, saying that if they dressed that way again, they would be sent to detention. As if that wasn’t enough for one day, the same teacher later approached Molly and demanded that she cover herself up with a sweatshirt. “I was really embarrassed,” Molly explained in an interview. “It was really uncomfortable to be in an environment like that at the time.” That’s when Molly had an idea…

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After the incident, Molly was upset at what the teacher had done, and so she began researching dress codes. She stumbled upon countless stories like her own, and eventually, a campaign called #IAmNotADistraction. “I saw [the hashtag] and looked through [the] Instagram page and was really inspired, so I texted some of my friends and said, ‘We’ve got to do this tomorrow.'”

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The following day, Molly and 19 of her friends showed up to school wearing “protest attire,” like tank tops and spaghetti straps, and the hashtag scrawled on their arms. No one was told to change.

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“This girl… I have no words for her bravery,” Molly’s mom, Christina, wrote in an Instagram post. “Some may read this and think it’s ‘just a strap’ or that ‘rules were meant to be followed’ or that ‘girls should cover up’ or (my personal favorite) ‘it’s a distraction to boys.’ But my question to you is, why? Why do you feel like this? Why do you jump to those conclusions?”

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Molly’s mom wasn’t the only one who was impressed with her activism. Since she organized her protest, she’s been asked to be on the dress code review panel for her school district this summer. It looks like Molly might be making some real changes!

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It’s not too often that sixth graders make a big difference like this. Way to stand up for what you believe in, Molly!

Share this inspiring protest with your friends below!

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