News, Culture & Society

Florida student calls for ‘bracott’ to protest dress code

Lizzy Martinez, 17, as asking her female classmates to join a ‘bracott’

A Florida high school student who was told by teachers to use band-aids to cover her nipples is mobilizing girls to go braless to protest dress codes she says are unfairly strict for girls.

Lizzy Martinez’ ‘bracott’ will take place at Braden River High in the state’s Golf Coast on Monday, according to Twitter posts from her account. 

The 17-year-old is encouraging her female classmates to arrive to school braless to send a message to school administrators that requiring the undergarment is sexist.

On April 2, Lizzy didn’t wear a bra and said school administrators told her to cover her nipples because they were distracting her classmates.

Martinez says the humiliation began when School Dean Violeta Velazquez called her into the office. Martinez felt like she was being bullied by fellow students, but Velazquez said there was a distraction that needed to be addressed.

‘She told me that I needed to put a shirt on under my long-sleeve shirt to try to tighten my breasts – to constrict them,’ Martinez told the paper. ‘And then she asked me to move around.’

Apparently the second shirt was not enough, Martinez said, because she was then sent to the nurse’s office. The nurse handed Martinez four bandages, two to cover each nipple, leaving her in tears.

The 'bracott' will take place at Braden River High in the Florida's Golf Coast on Monday

The ‘bracott’ will take place at Braden River High in the Florida’s Golf Coast on Monday

The school district acknowledged that Braden River school officials could have handled the situation better, but the district said it was only trying to enforce the dress code.

‘This matter was brought to the attention of the Superintendent’s Office for review,’ the district’s general counsel, Mitchell Teitelbaum, said in a prepared statement.

‘It is undisputed that this matter should have been handled differently at the school level and corrective measures have been taken to prevent a reoccurrence in the way these matters will be addressed in the future.’ 

Teitelbaum went on to say Martinez violated the dress code by dressing in a way that distracted other students, and that school officials were only trying to help her fix the violation.

Lizzy wore this  and was brought into the dean's office who said her lack of a bra was distracting

Lizzy wore this and was brought into the dean’s office who said her lack of a bra was distracting

‘You are expected to dress appropriately for school and for the business of learning with proper attention given to personal cleanliness, grooming and neatness,’ the district’s Code of Student Conduct states. 

The dress code doesn’t specifically address bras.

A district spokesman declined to comment on the ‘bracott’. It isn’t clear how the district will respond if several students participate in the protest.

It’s not the first time Braden River High lands in the news over their dress code enforcement.

In November 2016 the Miami Herald reported a 15-year-old was not allowed into a dance at the school because he didn’t wear a tie due to a breathing condition.