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Fayetteville Senior Misses Graduation Because Of School's Dress Code

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — The American Civil Liberties Union is deciding whether to take a case involving a Fayetteville high school that told a senior she could not walk across the stage on graduation day because of her clothes.

Under Douglas Byrd High School's dress code, boys have to wear pants under their graduation gowns and girls must wear dresses.

But Bobbie Spanbauer wanted to wear pants instead.

"I think people should have the right to choose what they want to wear as long as it's something that's not obscene or anything like that," Spanbauer said.

She said she followed the dress code for boys exactly, even down to the socks.

"I match, and everything, to what they want," Spanbauer said, calling the school's rule sexist and outdated.

Douglas Byrd Principal Jackie Warner said the school wants the event to be formal. She said she has never heard a request like Spanbauer's before and that it is not about gender, but timing.

Spanbauer, Warner said, had months to voice her opinion, but did not.

"The guidelines were in place, the rules were in place, the dress code is in place, and the time to appeal that or the time to have a concern about that would have been before the dress rehearsal," Warner said.

So, when the actual graduation came, Spanbauer said she was not present and that the announcer skipped reading her name. She said she bought a ticket to the ceremony so she could at least watch the event, but said she was banned.


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