When a Florida father picked up his 6-year-old daughter at the bus stop, he was shocked to see his sobbing little girl was sent home in just a pair of panties and a t-shirt. He immediately went to the school to demand answers and learn the reason the teacher made his daughter do it.
Jennifer and Raymond McCurdy are outraged. When their daughter asked her teacher at Belle Terre Elementary if she could use the restroom, she was allegedly ignored. The upset father explained that his little girl has medical issues that make it difficult to “hold it” when she needs to go to the bathroom. “When she has to go, she has to go,” he said.
When she raised her hand to ask if she could be excused, the teacher didn’t attend to her need until it was too late, and the child wet herself in her seat in front of the whole class. The girl was sent to the office to get cleaned up, where she was given school-issued underwear and handed back her soiled clothes in a bag.
The school forced the girl to wear just the panties and t-shirt for the remainder of the day, and they even made her ride the bus home that way. Apparently, the school felt this was an appropriate remedy. It was the ultimate insult to injury for this already embarrassed child. “She’s been through enough in her life already, and she’s only 6,” Raymond McCurdy said.
By the time she got off the school bus with her bag of soiled clothes in hand, she was in tears. Raymond said he lifted up her shirt and saw that she didn’t have shorts on and was in someone else’s underwear. That’s when he immediately went to the school and spoke with the assistant principal to demand answers.
“We asked her why my daughter was sent home in just panties and a T-shirt, and she begins to tell me, ‘We thought she had a long enough shirt to be able to put her on the school bus and send her home,’” the frustrated father said. “What would have happened if my kid would have gotten touched by somebody?”
The school’s excuse for sending his daughter home on the bus in underwear, surrounded by other children, didn’t sit well with Raymond. He explained that Belle Terre Elementary has a dress code in which he has to ensure his child is always in compliance, yet the school can strip her down to practically nothing and that’s somehow acceptable.
The girl’s family measured the length of the shirt to see if it fits the school dress code. “That is more than 4 (inches),” Raymond said as he measured the height of the shirt above her knee. “That’s 4 1/2 (inches) right there, and it’s still shorter than that.”
In Belle Terre Elementary School’s handbook policy, it states that shorts, skirts, skorts, or jumpers are acceptable if they are within 4 inches above the knee. “They make me send her to school in clothes to their expectations, why couldn’t you send my kid home in clothes to your expectations?” he asked.
Jennifer McCurdy said the school should have called her to bring a change of clothes or pick up her daughter, rather than expose the embarrassed little girl to ridicule on the school bus. “There are four contacts on our daughter’s emergency card,” she said. “Pick up the phone and call us. We will come to get our child.”
The family said that the school knew about their daughter’s medical condition and that she needs to use the restroom frequently. Jennifer said it’s never been a problem until moving to Florida the previous month. “Now that we come here, we have all these issues,” she said. “There’s obviously something more going on than what we’re seeing.”
The problem began in the classroom where kids are not allowed on-demand bathroom breaks, which is important for kindergartners who are still learning bladder and bowel control. If they are not allowed to get up without asking to take care of business, then the teacher needs to be quicker to attend to the requests. The questionable remedy to the bad policy and the teacher’s failure made the situation much worse.
The family hired a lawyer in case they need to go to court. They want justice for their daughter and to make sure something like this doesn’t happen to another child. A major article of clothing is never optional, and a t-shirt alone cannot suffice as full coverage. The first order of business should have been to call a parent to bring this girl a change of clothes so she could maintain her dignity. This type of public humiliation leaves lasting emotional scars on children. The person who thought this was okay, better pay.