SOUTH JORDAN, Utah -- Tayler Gillespie was turned away from her homecoming dance at Bingham High School Saturday, and the teen wasn’t the only who expressed frustration over dress code enforcement at the dance.
“They said I either have to go home and get something to go under, or I'm not allowed in,” Gillespie said. “So I just decided to leave.”
And she wasn't the only one
“They pulled me to the side and asked me to twirl around to see if I was immodest, then made me sit against the wall,” Erika Shepherd said. “And while I was sitting against the wall there was about ten other girls that were sitting there being embarrassed."
Erika showed us her dress. It spills onto the floor, but Erika said those who were in charge of the dance told her: “It’s too low in the back’ and I needed to get a jacket or go home and change clothes.”
FOX 13 News reached out to assistant principal Janalee Taylor, who was at the dance. She declined an on-camera interview but told us the school's dress code for dances is very clear. She said it's on the schools website, is sent out as a reminder on a paper attached to dance tickets, and is reinforced in the annual school standards assembly.
It states in part: “Hemlines should go no higher than mid-thigh when seated.”
That's the reason Tayler said she was asked to leave.
“It’s been the same standards assembly for three years, they always have the same power point,” she said.
But she said dresses worn in past years were scrutinized this year, and not allowed.
Tayler also said she was never asked to sit to see where her hemline would fall.
“They just took a wild guess and said, ‘You’re not admitted in.'”
Veronica Perhson, Tayler's mother, spoke about the issue.
“I understand the need for a dress code, but I think it needs to be applied straight forward,” she said.
Tayler’s parents went to the school to speak with those in charge Saturday night, but they said they had a hard time getting answers.
“I asked them why they turned her away and then showed them a picture of her on the phone I'd taken myself of her sitting down where the dress meets her knees,” said Tayler’s father, Chad Perhson.
See the video above for images of the dresses mentioned in this story. Maddi Rowley is another student who was upset about the situation, and she emailed FOX 13 News a picture of her dress as well as her comments.
She stated: "Other girls were admitted into the dance wearing my same dress in different colors. I was in high heals (sic), as you can see, and I am a taller girl. I am very angry, especially because my date couldn't get his money refunded. Surely you can understand the injustice. I'm nearly an adult, and my parents allowed me to go out in this dress."