School officials banned a Cabarrus County honor-roll student from graduation ceremonies over the weekend because she wore an off-the-shoulder top to school one day and bristled when the principal ordered her to change it.
The story of Summer Bond’s dress code violation at Hickory Ridge High School in Harrisburg went viral after the teen spoke last month with WCNC-TV. BuzzFeed News, Huffington Post, Teen Vogue magazine and other outlets quickly spread Summer’s account on social media, drawing reactions of mostly outage and disbelief.
“ok so this young lady, an HONORS student with MULTIPLE scholarships got suspended basically for the rest of her senior year because of this,” one woman said in a tweet published by BuzzFeed News.
“Bullying a huge issue,” a Hickory Ridge student said on Google reviews. “And sometimes it’s not just from the students, the admin has a part in it also.”
Summer told WCNC-TV that she was eating lunch when the principal approached her in the cafeteria, asking if she had a jacket to cover her top. She didn’t, so she borrowed one from a classmate and put it on, she said. The principal ordered her to the school’s “control room” when she told Summer her back was still completely exposed and Summer replied that she thought her shirt was fine, according to WCNC.
Summer said she and the principal had other issues during her four years, and the relationship turned so bad that her mother instructed school administrators to call her before taking any disciplinary action against her daughter.
School officials couldn’t reach her mother, so Summer said she continued to class. During an assembly, however, the principal entered with a security guard and told everyone to leave but Summer, according to Summer. She said her mother called just before she would have been handcuffed.
The school system has declined to discuss Summer’s case, citing student privacy laws.
“It’s just sad because I worked so hard for four years to walk across that stage,” Summer told WCNC-TV. “We have drug dealers walking across that stage, we have sex offenders walking across that stage and then the 4.4 student who showed her shoulders can’t.”
Summer will still receive her diploma “and advance with her ambitious education plans,” her lawyer, Ken Harris of Charlotte, told the Observer. “As an honor student, Summer is extremely proud of her record of academic accomplishment. And she looks forward to beginning her college experience in the fall.”
Cabarrus County Schools has yet to reply to the grievance Harris said he filed last Tuesday in hopes she would have been allowed to graduate.
“Summer is appreciative of all of the positive messages and well wishes from the Concord community and beyond,” Harris told the Observer. “And she looks forward to providing an update on her educational pursuits as her college career progresses.”