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.