Teen told bare shoulders inappropriate, forced to wear winter coat to dance

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Gabi Finlayson in the dress she was told was inappropriate.

HIGHLAND, Utah (CNN) — A Lone Peak High School student near Provo was told her dress must be covered up because it was too inappropriate for the Preference Dance at the school last Saturday. Gabi Finlayson says she was “embarrassed,” when a representative from the school approached her as she entered the dance and told her she needed to wear a shawl or a coat to cover her shoulders.

“She said, ‘Would you mind putting on a shawl?’ I didn’t want to make a big scene so I said, yes. I had a coat in the car so I had to go back and get it,” she said.

Finlayson says she was angry after she was forced to wear her winter coat over her dress the entire dance, she says she felt as though the school was shaming her for what some of the boys might think.

Somehow my shoulders are sexualized,” Finlayson said. “Like it’s my responsibility to make sure the boys’ thoughts are not unclean.”

A total of 4 out of 1,200 students were told to cover their shoulders. Rhonda Bromley the principal of Lone Peak says students are well aware of the dress code for formal events that includes:

“Formals, backless dresses and/or tops may not extend beyond the bottom of the shoulder blades. Girls’ dresses and tops must have a 2? minimum strap on each shoulder. Shawls, boleros and other shrugs are acceptable if worn over the dress at all times. Cleavage covered.”
Finlayson says her dress, which was purchased in Paris, and resembled in her mind, the classic, graceful style of her idol, actress Audrey Hepburn, was within the parameters put forth by the school dress code, and she says there were other girls at the dance whose dresses were questionable in her mind.

“There were a lot of dresses that were very short, very tight, a lot more exposing or revealing than mine.”
Finlayson’s mom, Kristy Kimball, is angry. She said the school is sending negative, demeaning messages to the girls they forced to cover up.

“How have we gotten to the point that we look at shoulders as if they’re somehow pornographic? As if they are this shameful thing,” Kimball said.

Bromley says all students were told about the dress code, and says the regulations where approved by students and teachers, and that the students were not embarrassed when their dresses were deemed inappropriate.

“This was done by one of my female school employees in a very careful and sensitive way,” said Bromley.

Finlayson says she felt as though she was shamed for wearing what most would consider a perfectly appropriate dress, and she wonders why girls are often forced to shoulder the burden of what is considered “inappropriate.”

“Maybe instead of teaching girls they should cover themselves up, we should be teaching boys that we’re not just sex objects that you can look at and derive pleasure,” said Finlayson.

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5 comments

  • mkk

    Never understood the prudery of Americans. One of the most famous US porn movies the “Prom Girls” actually is promoting group sex in a similar blue dress while the other even more famous “Debbie Does Dallas” group prostitution on campus. For whom they are promoting ? I am pretty sure not for senior citizens but for high school teenagers. Simply stop it. Start providing high quality education for those who cannot afford home schooling and stop it.

  • mkk

    Thank you for illuminating me how impossible some US public schools are for
    someone born in Poland or in Europe who wants to be an immigrant in the USA and that there are states and schools to avoid. Some American movies transfer it too to some extend but this kind of incidents are rarely exposed. “Growing Pains” was broadcasting a lot but not a lot enough. Dress code besides the common sense with strict geometry and number rules and values is not possible in Polish school.
    Thanks again for being so public and phony with this warning.

  • Jennifer W.

    Shame on Fox17 for publishing the uncensored “S-word”! There are young people who read they news, and they already have enough sexual pressure on them. They don’t need to read about bare sh****ers so graphically. Next thing you know, people will be publishing photographs of them! Imagine!!

    Seriously, the community involved here (it is Utah, so you can figure out who I am referring to pretty easily) is collectively insane.