Nevada High School Considers Changes to Dress Code Policy After Student’s Viral Post

NEVADA, Iowa  --  A Story County teen thought she was being stylish, but school officials thought otherwise.

On Friday, Emily Engelman wore an off-the-shoulder shirt to school. She was told by a Nevada High School employee the shirt was inappropriate and that she needed to change because it violated the school's "no strap" dress code policy.

"I felt pretty targeted," says Engelman. "There are a lot of girls at my school who dress the exact same way or wear things that are even worse."

Engelman says she continued to wear the shirt throughout the school day despite being asked to change her clothes. She posted an image of her in the shirt and posted it to social media asking for the public's opinion of the school's decision. It garnered hundreds of comments and shares.

"When I posted it, I obviously wanted attention for people to say 'yes, you're right' or 'no, you're wrong,' but I definitely did not think it would be all over sites like Facebook and stuff like that. I never thought that it would've gone that far," she says.

Principal Kody Asmus says the dress code policy serves as a general guideline to make sure there is a positive learning environment. He says each student received an electronic version of the student handbook and dress code policy at the beginning of the school year. However, he says he's open to altering the rules if needed.

"We want every student to be comfortable in their own skin, and if this rule is something that is taking that away from students then I think it's something we have to look at," he says.

The school says it hopes to set an example to other schools by hosting a student input session about issues like the dress code. Engelman says she wants students to be able to express themselves freely and to have strong self-confidence.

"I buy things that make me feel good about myself, and if it's an off-the-shoulder shirt, I think I should be able to wear it," she says. "If a boy is going to be distracted because my shoulders are out, that’s his problem."