A South Carolina high school principal told female students that they shouldn’t be wearing leggings unless they are a size two or zero.
Local news station WCBD News 2 reported on Thursday that Stratford High School Principal Heather Taylor discouraged students from wearing leggings as pants during a 10th grade assembly on Aug. 22 about the school’s dress code.
“I’ve told you this before, I’m going to tell you this now. Unless you’re a size zero or a two and you wear something like that, even though you’re not fat, you look fat,” Taylor is heard saying to students in a recording obtained by WCBD News 2.
The school’s dress code states that “leggings, tights, yoga pants and spandex must be worn under clothing that cover to mid-thigh,” but it does not specify that young women can or should wear leggings as pants if they are a size zero or two.
Many parents and students were upset by Taylor’s comments. Stratford High sophomore Allison Veazey told WCBD News 2 that Taylor’s comments were hurtful and make her more self-conscious about her body.
“I’m not a size zero and I kind of felt targeted because of my size,” she said. “It was really hurtful because I felt like my size made me look, you know, disgusting towards someone in the clothes that I wear.”
“As a teen- and an adult- who struggled - with anorexia, this isn’t true and this isn’t ok,” one Facebook user wrote in response to Taylor’s comments. “You’re beautiful and you’re worthy, as a 0 and a 2 and a 20.”
In response to the backlash, Taylor released a statement to Stratford High students and parents apologizing for her behavior. In it, Taylor says she met with multiple classes to address the comments she made in the 10th grade assembly.
“My intention was not to hurt or offend any of my students in any way,” Taylor wrote in the statement, provided to HuffPost by Stratford High. “I assured them all that I am one of their biggest fans and invested in their success. After speaking with our students and receiving their support, I am confident that, together, we are ready to move forward and have a wonderful year. Stratford High is a very caring community, and I want to thank all of our parents and students who have offered their support to me and provided me with an opportunity to directly address their concern. I am very proud to be a Stratford Knight.”