After a student at Braden River High School in Florida didn’t wear a bra to school, she was forced to put Band-Aids over her nipples in an “X” pattern after a teacher claimed they were a “distraction to boys.” Lizzy Martinez, 17, was humiliated — not only by the fact that she literally was called to the nurse’s office to discuss her body, but because her breasts were such a big deal in the first place. The outfit itself was in no way revealing — she was wearing a baggy, dark gray Calvin Klein shirt when the incident happened.
We still don’t understand why women’s nipples are constantly a source of both obsession and scrutiny in our culture — especially since they serve one main purpose — feeding our young. Not to mention men have nipples too. What happened to Martinez is a stark reminder that women continue to be shamed for their natural bodies.
Martinez chose to speak up about the incident, posting about it to the school’s official Twitter account. However, her school promptly blocked her.
Martinez’s mother, Kari Knop, also got involved and shared her support for her daughter.
Here’s what Martinez was wearing that day:
Knop also said that in a follow up meeting, school officials told her that they were trying to “protect” her daughter. The principal admitted that they should never have asked her to wear Band-Aids, but according to Knop, everything else they said was excuse after excuse. “Kids talking about Lizzy’s boobs and cackling about them bouncing around was NEVER addressed,” she wrote on Facebook. “I am sorry, but I consider that to be in the category of bullying, which they ALLEGEDLY have zero tolerance for. Asking Lizzy to stand up and “move around” was found to be an acceptable request. I consider it to be highly inappropriate, they would never ask a male to stand up and ‘move around’ to visualize any male organs.”
We seriously can’t believe this happened. Bras should never be mandatory, as not every woman feels comfortable wearing one, and a female student should never be held responsible for the immature behavior of others.
We sincerely hope that Braden River High reconsiders how they handle situations like these in the future, as well as the sexist double standards this kind of disciplinary action reinforces.