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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Erica DeRamus' Revealing Prom Dress vs. Corporal Punishment (Paddling)

Alabama Student Must Choose Paddling Or Suspension For Violating Prom Dress Code

An Alabama High School Senior was suspended for wearing a prom dress that school officials said was too short at the hem and too revealing on top.

"I was so excited because it was my senior prom and I'd never been to a senior prom, so I was excited," Oxford High School student Erica DeRamus said.

DeRamus said she knew her school had dress code policies, but didn't think her dress would violate them. But when she got to prom Saturday, officials told her it was too short and too revealing.

"What cleavage? That's exactly what I said. I wasn't trying to be rude or anything, but that's what I feel," DeRamus said.

"If I felt it was too much cleavage in this dress, I wouldn't have purchased this dress," said her mother, Darrie DeRamus. "It would have stayed in that store and I wouldn't have even gotten it off the Internet and paid for it."

But principal Trey Holloday said it violated school policy stating that dresses cannot have cleavage falling below the breastbone or hems more than 6 inches above the knee.

"And so that expectation in our community is that it's there for protection of kids and not for management of kids," he said.

Erica's mother said she was never notified of the prom dress code.

But Holloday said all parents and students were told about it not once, but three times.

Of the 352 students who attended prom, 18 violated the policy, he said. Seventeen of them chose to be paddled, while DeRamus chose a three-day suspension, Holloday said.

"We're too old to be paddled," Erica DeRamus said. "This is high school. We are seniors. If you're going to act up, give us another option besides getting paddled, because this is not the 1940s. We don't take corporal punishment now."

"The thing that I would say is the difference between patience and tolerance," Holloday said. "They're young and sometimes they make young people's mistakes and we're very patient when those things are made, including this. But we're not tolerant of bad behavior or defiance."

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Sources: AP, CNN, KTVU, Google Maps

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