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Local mom fighting Knox County dress code

Published: Aug. 17, 2016 at 6:15 PM EDT
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The bell rang and it was time for Myessa Powell to go to class, but she didn't stay long enough to get a full day's lesson.

She was sent to the principal's office Monday because her clothes didn't meet the dress code.

"She called me at 8:40 in the morning, 10 minutes after class started and said mom, can you bring me a change of clothes or they're going to kick me out of school, said Symphany Powell, Myessa's mother.

Myessa left the house wearing tight, ripped jeans and a t-shirt but was told to change. After her mom brought her some new threads, Myessa was sent back to the office. Her second change of clothes also violated the dress code.

"Little girls have bodies," said Powell. "They like to show them off, and I don't think there was anything wrong inappropriate about her outfit," she added.

Powell expressed her outrage on Facebook. She posted a before and after pic of her daughters outfits. It was shared over 8,000 times.

"They actually made her sit in ISS because I refused to allow her to sign a paper that said she knowingly violated school rules," said Powell.

Local 8 News reporter Donovan Long decided to do some digging to see what rules Myessa broke.

Long asked the principal of Powell High School about the violation, and he said, "Just out of respect for her privacy that I choose not to comment on that," said Dr. Smith.

A credible source spoke loud and clear. Local 8 News was told Myessa was initially sent to the office because her midriff was showing, exposing her belly ring. That's a clear violation of the dress code, which states, "shirts or tops must cover the waistband of pants, shorts, or skirts

with no midriff visible."

"The student is allowed to correct the problem or behavior before it becomes a much bigger issue," said Dr. Smith.

Principal Smith said he wants his students to know how to dress when they leave high school

"We do want to make sure that our kids are ready the second they walk out of Knox County schools with a diploma in their hands and are ready to go to the workforce," said Dr. Smith.

Principal Smith said all teachers began the year telling students what's appropriate to wear to class.

A spokesperson for Knox County schools said the school board creates and approves the dress code.