BRADENTON — A Florida high-school student who didn’t wear a bra one day this week says school administrators told her to cover her nipples because they were distracting her classmates.
The Bradenton Herald reported Friday that 17-year-old Lizzy Martinez decided not to wear a bra under her gray long-sleeve shirt on Monday, and school officials in Bradenton felt she became a target of other students’ stares. The school is on Florida’s Gulf Coast.
Martinez says the humiliation began when School Dean Violeta Velazquez called her into the office. Martinez felt like she was being bullied by fellow students, but Velazquez said there was a distraction that needed to be addressed.
“She told me that I needed to put a shirt on under my long-sleeve shirt to try to tighten my breasts — to constrict them,” Martinez told the paper. “And then she asked me to move around.”
Apparently the second shirt was not enough, Martinez said, because she was then sent to the nurse’s office. The nurse handed Martinez four bandages, two to cover each nipple, leaving her in tears.
On Thursday afternoon, the school district acknowledged that Braden River school officials could have handled the situation better, but the district said it was only trying to enforce the district’s dress code.
“This matter was brought to the attention of the Superintendent’s Office for review,” the district’s general counsel, Mitchell Teitelbaum, said in a prepared statement. “It is undisputed that this matter should have been handled differently at the school level and corrective measures have been taken to prevent a reoccurrence in the way these matters will be addressed in the future.”
Teitelbaum went on to say Martinez violated the dress code by dressing in a way that distracted other students, and that school officials were only trying to help her fix the violation.
“You are expected to dress appropriately for school and for the business of learning with proper attention given to personal cleanliness, grooming and neatness,” the district’s Code of Student Conduct states.
The dress code does not specifically address or require bras.