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Teen told dress too inappropriate for school dance, forced to wear winter coat

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HIGHLAND, Utah (KUTV)  — A Lone Peak High School student near Provo was told her dress must be covered up because it was too inappropriate for the Preference Dance at the school last Saturday.

Gabi Finlayson says she was “embarrassed,” when a representative from the school approached her as she entered the dance and told her she needed to wear a shawl or a coat to cover her shoulders.

“She said, ‘Would you mind putting on a shawl?’ I didn’t want to make a big scene so I said, yes. I had a coat in the car so I had to go back and get it,” she said.

Finlayson says she was angry after she was forced to wear her winter coat over her dress the entire dance, she says she felt as though the school was shaming her for what some of the boys might think.

“Somehow my shoulders are sexualized,” Finlayson said. “Like it’s my responsibility to make sure the boys’ thoughts are not unclean.”


A total of 4 out of 1,200 students were told to cover their shoulders. Rhonda Bromley the principal of Lone Peak says students are well aware of the dress code for formal events that includes: “Formals, backless dresses and/or tops may not extend beyond the bottom of the shoulder blades. Girls’ dresses and tops must have a 2? minimum strap on each shoulder. Shawls, boleros and other shrugs are acceptable if worn over the dress at all times. Cleavage covered.”

Finlayson says her dress, which was purchased in Paris, and resembled in her mind, the classic, graceful style of her idol, actress Audrey Hepburn, was within the parameters put forth by the school dress code, and she says there were other girls at the dance whose dresses were questionable in her mind.

“There were a lot of dresses that were very short, very tight, a lot more exposing or revealing than mine.”

Finlayson’s mom, Kristy Kimball, is angry. She said the school is sending negative, demeaning messages to the girls they forced to cover up.

“How have we gotten to the point that we look at shoulders as if they’re somehow pornographic? As if they are this shameful thing,” Kimball said.

Bromley says all students were told about the dress code, and says the regulations where approved by students and teachers, and that the students were not embarrassed when their dresses were deemed inappropriate.

“This was done by one of my female school employees in a very careful and sensitive way,” said Bromley.

Finlayson says she felt as though she was shamed for wearing what most would consider a perfectly appropriate dress, and she wonders why girls are often forced to shoulder the burden of what is considered “inappropriate.”

“Maybe instead of teaching girls they should cover themselves up, we should be teaching boys that we’re not just sex objects that you can look at and derive pleasure,” said Finlayson.


  • Reasonless

    Why even post this as news?

    Gabi Finlayson says she was “embarrassed,” when a representative from the school approached her as she entered the dance and told her she needed to wear a shawl or a coat to cover her shoulders.

    Tough beans!

    The brat obviously knew the rules, but thought she could skate by. Very typical of this generation.
    She was caught, and the school staff was kind enough to just make her cover up when in turn they had every right to send her little defiant butt home.

    Now Fox gives her further undeserved attention by writing a story for her like she’s some kind of victim that was shamed for no apparent reason.

    I hope next time anyone attempts to violate school policy that the staff just makes them go home with no chance on returning to that event.

    In my day, rules were rules. I’m not saying that we didn’t try bending them every now and then, but when caught, we were willing to pay the consequences. And we certainly didn’t dare tell our parents that we attempted to bend or break the rules either.

    • Lorett

      Agree, my daughter and her friends had no problem putting on little buttoned sweaters on their dresses and they had lots of fun, but some loons just always want their 2 seconds fame.

  • Chris Multerer

    Inappropriate ?? Are they serious ?? Why don’t the girls dress like they from the TV show, “The Walton’s”. That girl’s dress was very nice, and not overly revealing. Figure’s the girl lives in Utah. That explains it. Read between the lines.

    • Reasonless

      I agree that to todays standards, the dress looks fine.
      However, the rules were clearly stated before the dance. If she didn’t agree with the rules, she should have stayed home.
      She decided to not follow the rules, was caught, and now she and mommy are crying about it.
      No different than if you or I decide to speed down the highway. We know what the speed limit is, but we decide to take a chance because we’re in a hurry. If we get caught, we get a ticket. Our Moms and Fox Six don’t come to our rescue. We are held accountable for our action and move on with life.

  • Chris Multerer

    Reasonless..I could see if a girl dressed like, for lack of a better word, a hooker, then she should be sent home. I think the school could lighten up a bit on the dress code.

    • Reasonless

      Remember that this happened in Utah, not Wisconsin.
      There is a very strong Mormon presence there, and as a whole, they are much more conservative than you and I could ever imagine after living around here.
      Again, rules are rules. If one decides to challenge the rules, especially as a minor, one must be willing to pay the price and be held accountable.

      • Reasonless

        The parents are just as immature and guilty.
        If they knew the rules ahead of time, which I’ll admit, I don’t know for certain if they did, they should have met with the staff ahead of time and tried to negotiate. But instead they attempted to be defiant to the rules expecting nothing to happen.
        I think that’s pretty irresponsible as parents.

  • Bob

    Once again the people working in acedemia show their lack of common sense. They can awarded all of the advanced degrees they can buy but unfortunately there are no requirements for having enough common sense to come in out of the rain to obtain those degrees.

  • Reasoned

    @Reasonless –
    It would appear that you’re inferring the school’s action was acceptable, merely because it had clearly stated rules. The student acknolwledged being aware of the rules and also stated that the dress met that condition.

    So… what? For the school to establish rules, but then ignore them is ok? Or was your response a pointless knee-jerk “that’ll teach ’em” that merely reveals a specific bias on your part? Seems like the latter.

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