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Girl Suspended Over Prom Dress

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Did the punishment fit the "crime"?

When high-school senior Erica DeRamus of Alabama arrived at her prom, she was told that her dress was too short and too revealing. (The school policy states that dresses cannot have cleavage falling below the breastbone or hems that end more than six inches above the knee.)

Erica didn't believe that her dress was inappropriate, though -- and neither did her mom.

"If I felt it was too much cleavage in this dress, I wouldn't have purchased this dress," her mother, Darrie DeRamus, told WXII. "It would have stayed in that store and I wouldn't have even gotten it off the Internet and paid for it."

Seventeen of Erica's classmates also violated the school's dress-code policy. They were each given the option of either being paddled (yes, paddled!) or suspended for three days. DeRamus was the only one who chose the three-day suspension; the rest opted for the paddle. (Ouch!)

Take a look at Erica's dress and see what you think. Do YOU think she should have been suspended?

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17 comments so far | Post a comment now
Just Sayin' April 12, 2010, 11:50 AM

Good for the school! If they have that many girls who can’t read and understand a simple dress code then next year they will need to REMIND them not to dress like prostitutes to attend prom. Good Lord ladies, only advertise what you’re willing to sell!

Hannah April 12, 2010, 2:19 PM

So if I didn’t “believe” that taking something that wasn’t mine without asking wasn’t stealing then it wouldn’t be stealing? Or if I didn’t “believe” that stabbing someone is intent to murder then it wouldn’t be? Just because you don’t like a rule doesn’t mean that rule doesn’t exist. Even if she thinks it stupid she should still follow it. She knew the rules (which I find very lenient) so she should have followed them whether she liked it or not.

Hannah April 12, 2010, 2:20 PM

Although I just read that under line. I wouldn’t have given the other 17 an option at all. They would’ve gotten the same punishment. I wouldn’t have even let them in the door.

Rachel April 13, 2010, 8:44 PM

I have a daughter that just had homecoming that wore a Jovanni dress exactly like that. On her small ballerina frame it would look different than on a woman with a curvier body. I have been to many stores with my daughter to try on dresses and there really are NOT that many places that cater to young curvy women and still have attractive formal dresses!

I would also like to say “paddling” really??!! This is not a punishment and thats like putting a 18 year old in a naughty chair. So what? It stings for a minute then your done. Even though I disagree with the reason she was punished an essay or some other punishment would be more well suited.

sharon April 15, 2010, 1:14 PM

how can a anyone not see that this dress is ust too darn short. the cleavage part might not be too outside the rules, but the dress is too too short. part of the problem is that todays kids don’t have the same standards of dress or behavior that the ‘older’ generations had. to todays kids that dress is not considered to be too short, it considered to be okay.

Anonymous April 15, 2010, 1:42 PM

Not to be too much of a feminist here, but saying things like “don’t advertise what your not willing to sell” sounds offly close to what is said by those rape apologists who cite a woman’s clothing as an example.

I agree that these girls were warned ahead of time and should have known.

Anonymous April 26, 2010, 4:29 PM

I am eighteen years and I find this ridiculous. I am a size five with 36DD. Do you really think it is easy for a teen to find a “stylish” dress without showing cleavage, especially as having any types of curves when clothes are made for a size two and flat chested. It’s absolutely awful they suspended her. And the thought of even paddling, we’re not children. We don’t need spankings.

jaime April 26, 2010, 5:14 PM

I really dont think the dress was that bad! Yes, it was on the short side. But its not like it had cut outs in it and see through material.
And for paddeling.
thats discusting, grown adults hitting teens?! whats wrong with alabama? Thats so degrading and stupid. Like really, this isnt 1810, its 2010.

Anonymous April 26, 2010, 6:55 PM


Only in the south where they have strict rules such as this. What’s the purpose??? Protect the teens? Really, if the teens wanted to have sex, they would have sex in a short or long dress.

Communities like this is so typical down south and hypocritical…SMH…

Gina April 27, 2010, 10:00 AM

This is so stupid!!!! Only in America I guess….You wouldn’t get that here in Canada but the schools down there always seem to have rules that are to far gone.

Ashley April 28, 2010, 8:04 PM

What the heck?? I’ve seen dresses that are definitely a lot worse than that, and to have a rule like that for prom is frankly ridiculous… There are some dresses that are understandably inappropriate, but that is definitely not one of them. Short dresses for prom are the style this year, and where are you going to get a pretty dress that doesn’t show cleavage? And paddling… Wow. =_=

Anonymous May 16, 2010, 3:32 PM

I think that the school went overboard. Yes girls shouldn’t have really short dresses or too much cleavage but, there was nothing wrong with that girls dress. If they find that a dress of that length for a girl in high school is too short, they have another thing coming. Also, adults do not realize how hard it is to find a nice dress that you love without showing off too much cleavage or legs. I think it is outrageous that of the 18 girls who violated the dress code got a choice of being paddled or 3 day suspension. 1, I think that is extremely inappropriate of them. And 2, I don’t think her dress was even close to being too inappropriate. At least not close enough to have to get a punishment.

Caroline May 28, 2010, 8:52 AM

I wonder if they would have kicked her out if she were a white girl with the same frame in the same dress.

Anonymous May 30, 2010, 6:28 PM

I think she looks very beautiful in her dress and it is not inappropriate. Those of you who are saying she should have followed the rules, well the rules are pretty stupid to begin with. They should say “no skin tight dress” because then it would be slutty. She doesn’t look like she is a prostitute and those of you who think she does are probably super conservative and need to let your hair down once in awhile.

hatisha dwigth July 30, 2010, 8:14 AM


hatisha dwigth July 30, 2010, 8:14 AM


j'Lea January 15, 2011, 8:26 PM

The dress code clearly states that the cleavage can’t be below the breast bone, her isn’t (I even double checked where a breastbone ends)and it is only about 2 inches above her knee, so while it’s a revealing dress (more so because she has large breasts) and in my opinion ugly it didn’t violate the dress code.

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