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Isabella Messer. (Facebook)
Isabella Messer. (Facebook)

Dress code

Girl, 15, arrested and ‘manhandled’ over protest shirt she wore to school

By WITW Staff on September 5, 2018

A 15-year-old Kentucky girl was arrested by police for protesting her school’s ban on wearing shirts that show bare shoulders by showing up to school in a conservatively cut T-shirt that read: “Do my shoulders turn you on? If so, go back to the 1920s.” Theresa Rucks, the mother of 15-year-old Isabella Messer said that no one had bothered to inform them of a recent change to the school’s dress code that now forbids bare shoulders until after Messer was suspended it for in August. The mother said that the two of them were disgusted by the decision, and decided to peacefully protest it by making a dress code-conforming shirt adorned with the aforementioned slogan.

In response, the teacher who initially punished Messer for an off-the-shoulder shirt confronted her and told her that the shirt’s message “was harassment,” Rucks told Yahoo Lifestyle. According to Messer, she refused to go to the principal’s office since her shirt did conform to the school’s dress code, and when she tried to call her mom “they tried to take my phone away from me.” The school then apparently called police on the teenager, and a school resource officer reportedly handcuffed her and choked her. Messer then kicked the officer in the shin after he tried to take her phone away from her bound hands. Messer was subsequently arrested for disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and third-degree assault of a law enforcement officer and, instead of being released to her family, was released into the custody of McCracken Regional Juvenile Detention Center, where she was detained for six days.

In Facebook posts, Messer’s aunt, Melinda Rucks, and grandmother, Theresa Rucks, shared images of the offending shirt and of the marks left on the teenager’s wrists and neck from the officer’s rough treatment.

“Not only did the teacher put her hands on her, but she felt the need to call in the police. Instead of calling my sister in law to handle the situation how it should have been, the officer who responded manhandled my niece and left visible markings on her neck and arms. She was then sent to a juvenile detention center and is now facing serious charges, all because a school decided that her education was not as important as the comfort of male students and teachers,” wrote Melinda.

So this is my niece, she is so amazingly sweet, and caring. She does well in school, participates in ROTC and commits…

Posted by Melinda Rucks on Sunday, August 26, 2018

Posted by Theresa Rucks on Saturday, August 25, 2018

In a statement, the Christian County Board of Education defended the school’s conduct, writing that “our students along with their parents and guardians are aware of dress code rules and the code’s enforcement.”

Read the full story at Yahoo News.


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