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Mom Arrested Following Dispute Over Daughter's Dance Attire

How far would you go to defend your child's choice of clothing? The mother of a Redmond Junior High School student was arrested by Redmond Police after refusing to leave the campus on Friday.

The mother of a student found herself in handcuffs Friday in an incident that stemmed from a disagreement about a dress her daughter wore to a school dance the previous evening.

Life Hammond told KIRO 7 her 15-year-old daughter, Promise, was stopped by the school's principal as she was boarding a bus to go to the ninth-grade dance. The principal gave Promise two options: wear a PE T-shirt or keep her coat on during the entire event. 

Kathryn Reith, a spokeswoman for the , said Promise's dress violated a portion of the dress code that says "the attire must be decent." (The KIRO video shows Promise wearing the dress in question.

Reith acknowledged this part of the code is typically up to the principal to interpret, and that parent complaints about dress code violations are not uncommon in the Lake Washington School District.

"The schools do a lot of work in advance of events like this to review the dress code with students, to be very clear about what’s acceptable and what’s not," she said. "No matter how clear your dress code is, from time to time there will be judgment calls that your principal will have to make, so it does happen on occasion.”

Promise told KIRO she felt she was being singled out and that other girls wearing a similar style of dress were not disciplined.

"I felt like I was the only one who was (pulled aside)," she said.

After the dance, Promise's mother approached the principal.

“I said, ‘What you made my daughter wear a coat the whole night for the dance on the last celebration for the school year?’” Life Hammond told KIRO.

Reith said Hammond was upset and yelling, and "invaded the principal’s personal space.”

The next day—Friday—she came to Redmond Junior High School and told an office manager that she would be accompanying her daughter to all her classes that day, Reith said.

Hammond was informed by school staff that district policy requires visits must be approved in advance by the principal, Reith said. When the mother repeatedly refused to leave the building, the school's resource officer—a uniformed member of the —was asked to intervene.

Hammond was asked at least two more times to leave, Reith said, and was subsequently handcuffed and arrested on suspicion of criminal trespass. Lt. Charlie Gorman, a spokesman for Redmond Police, said the officer followed department protocol and that a person who remains on school district property after being asked to leave is subject to arrest.

“If the person’s warned that the school administrators have said (he or she) needs to leave...and the officer gives repeated warnings for the person to leave...then that violates criminal trespass laws,” he said.

Life Hammond was booked and released by Redmond Police, Gorman said. Reith said Hammond has filed a grievance against the Redmond Junior High principal and is meeting Monday afternoon with the principal's supervisor at the school district's headquarters—the routine first step when a parent files a grievance against a LWSD employee.

Four other students were also pulled aside for dress code violations Thursday evening, Reith said, adding that she is not aware of any other parent complaints stemming from those violations.

Heather Murphy-Raines June 26, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Funny, maybe it's me, but I'd let my 12 year old wear the dress. The news video says what she was wearing was exactly as worn to dance so yes, shrug covered any parts not covered by strapless. Per policy, it certainly is longer than it needs to be and I don't think that applies as cleavage. If so then most kids in their typical tank tops would need to be sent home on a daily basis. In the end, this policy seems very subjective based on the preferences of the principal--not on a concise, very clear policy. Also, based on this policy, no cheerleaders would ever be let in the door and we all know that is not going to happen. It's very much a double standard and honestly, I think parents-- not schools-- should make the call in their child's attire. I am very glad I am in the adjacent school district which has much more reasonable standards. It kind of drives me up the wall when schools decided what they deem appropriate to wear. I have seen inappropriate, but this girl's dress with shrug just doesn't scream "indecent." It also seems rather capricious and subjective whom the principal called out. Let's be even-handed and fair, right? Finally, for them to arrest her mom when she confronted the principal the next day?? A parent trespassing at her own child's school?? Ridiculous!
Jim Smith June 27, 2012 at 09:35 PM
The mom was obviously being confrontational as evidenced by her insistence that she accompany her daughter to all her classes that day. That would have been very disruptive.
Venice Buhain June 28, 2012 at 01:12 AM
Heather and Jim, thanks for the comments. I try not to make assumptions about situations, since I wasn't involved, but I wonder what -- if anything -- could have de-escalated the situation.
Jason F. December 31, 2012 at 07:49 AM
I agree, a parent should never be trespassed at their childs school.
Jason F. December 31, 2012 at 07:51 AM
Clearly the Lake Washington School District did not handle this well and the principle should have to answer for this.

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