In a day and age when schools are reinforcing controversial dress codes that seem to put female students at a disadvantage, the family of 9-year-old girl in Mississippi is speaking out against a school punishment that they claim is body negative.
Robbie Nettles' niece — a student at Brookhaven Elementary School — violated the school district's dress code policy with her T-shirt and leggings in August. Instead of making her wait in the school's office for a new outfit from her mother, the 9-year-old was reportedly sent to in-school suspension.
Nettles believes that his niece — along with another student with the same body type who received similar treatment — were both punished because of their weight. On August 27, Nettles shared photos of his niece to Facebook, along with an emotional message.
"Apparently, it is acceptable to body shame a 9-year-old," Nettles wrote. "My niece may not be the ideal weight, but she was not showing anything inappropriate. It sickens me to imagine my sweet niece going to a school that cares more about her weight than what's in her mind."
As of September 2, Nettles' post received over 46,000 shares.
Superintendent Ray Carlock told The Brookhaven Daily Leader that their school could not comment on a situation involving individual students.
Nettles remains hopeful that things will work out for his niece.
"The main thing I want to see come out of this is positivity," Nettles told The Brookhaven Daily Leader. "No 9-year-old should have to deal with this situation and be made to feel criticized about her weight."
A Plus reached out to Nettles for a comment.