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Redmond Parent Arrested Following Dispute Over Daughter's Dance Attire

The mother of a Redmond Junior High School student was arrested by Redmond Police after refusing to leave the campus on Friday.

The mother of a student was arrested Friday in an incident that stemmed from a disagreement about a dress her daughter wore to a school dance the previous evening.

Life Hammond told KIRO 7 her 15-year-old daughter, Promise, was stopped by the school's principal as she was boarding a bus to go to the ninth-grade dance. The principal gave Promise two options: wear a PE T-shirt or keep her coat on during the entire event. 

Kathryn Reith, a spokeswoman for the , said Promise's dress violated a portion of the dress code that says "the attire must be decent." (The KIRO video shows Promise wearing the dress in question.

Reith acknowledged this part of the code is typically up to the principal to interpret, and that parent complaints about dress code violations are not uncommon in the Lake Washington School District.

"The schools do a lot of work in advance of events like this to review the dress code with students, to be very clear about what’s acceptable and what’s not," she said. "No matter how clear your dress code is, from time to time there will be judgment calls that your principal will have to make, so it does happen on occasion.”

Promise told KIRO she felt she was being singled out and that other girls wearing a similar style of dress were not disciplined.

"I felt like I was the only one who was (pulled aside)," she said.

After the dance, Promise's mother approached the principal.

“I said, ‘What you made my daughter wear a coat the whole night for the dance on the last celebration for the school year?’” Life Hammond told KIRO.

Reith said Hammond was upset and yelling, and "invaded the pricipal’s personal space.” The next day—Friday—she came to Redmond Junior High School and told an office manager that she would be accompanying her daughter to all her classes that day, Reith said.

Hammond was informed by school staff that district policy requires visits must be approved in advance by the principal, Reith said. When the mother repeatedly refused to leave the building, the school's resource officer—a uniformed member of the —was asked to intervene.

Hammond was asked at least two more times to leave, Reith said, and was subsequently handcuffed and arrested on suspicion of criminal trespass. Lt. Charlie Gorman, a spokesman for Redmond Police, said the officer followed department protocol and that a person who remains on school district property after being asked to leave is subject to arrest.

“If the person’s warned that the school administrators have said (he or she) needs to leave...and the officer gives repeated warnings for the person to leave...then that violates criminal trespass laws,” he said.

Life Hammond was booked and released by Redmond Police, Gorman said. Reith said Hammond has filed a grievance against the Redmond Junior High principal and is meeting Monday afternoon with the principal's supervisor at the school district's headquarters—the routine first step when a parent files a grievance against a LWSD employee.

Four other students were also pulled aside for dress code violations Thursday evening, Reith said, adding that she is not aware of any other parent complaints stemming from those violations.

Redmond Citizen June 25, 2012 at 11:37 PM
What is missing from this story is that there were a number of girls who violated the written dress code and that Promise followed the written code to the letter. Most of the girls with skirts well above their fingertips or cleavage showing were not dress-coded, but Promise whose dress was below her fingertips (not easy as she is tall and has very long arms) and her shoulders covered was singled out. Also, where is the learning if the Principal cannot even teach a student what about her dress is considered indecent? “I decide what is indecent” is not giving students a way to learn and make changes; it merely frustrates those kids who spent considerable amounts of time trying to follow the rules. The district and the RPD also failed to mention that the when the officer arrested Ms. Hammond, he did so rather aggressively and painfully and he gave Ms. Hammond a lecture on parenting after taking her outside while waiting for a second car to arrive and take her to the station. Today he detained her daughter after school today to try to explain why he had arrested her mother and “make amends”, further embarrassing her in front of her friends. If this is police procedure, then I believe procedure needs to be re-examined.
nunyo bisniss June 26, 2012 at 04:21 AM
It's a parent's responsibility to teach children what is acceptable. Regardless of what other children were wearing, this outfit was deemed inappropriate, & therefore unacceptable. Period. It should have been an opportunity to explain modesty, and the fact that sometimes life isn't fair, so we need to rise above. If the principal was being unreasonable, then calm dialogue was the proper response, at least then the high road was taken and the girl could have learned how best to resolve conflicts. Instead, the mother seems to have behaved like a child herself. We can't control others, but we can control our own reactions, and the mother has exacerbated a situation that was not that big a deal.
Silvia Dillon June 26, 2012 at 05:08 PM
I am ashamed to say that the first reaction when I read this was " here we go again, the usual kids barely dressed" but when I saw the video and saw the dress I felt sorry for the mother and daughter and the way they were treated. The dress is really cute and yes, it is tight, but yet classy. A lovely colour as well. I felt angry to see Promise cry at the end of the video. This obviously has affected her, at an age which is already vulnerable enough.
dora June 26, 2012 at 05:17 PM
i dont think the police should have said nothing to the daughter its up to her parent to explian. and forceful behavior this is why they are being investagated contstantly.
Joe Anon, Seattle June 26, 2012 at 05:23 PM
This foolishness is ripe for exploitation. Redmond lady should lawyer up. In this litigious climate and with the public education system being touted by so many as wasteful and bureaucratic, this is exactly the kind of scenario that results in public outrage, viral shaming, and finger-pointing national attention that costs school districts far more than the potential cost of allowing a girl in a pretty dress to board a boat without a coat. Way to go, Principal Numbskull. Hope you enjoy the spotlight.
Gigi Hays June 26, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Don't be fooled. Of course their friends are going to stick up for them & the kids of course will defend their own. The dress she has on is one of those dresses that you see girls wearing & they are always pulling the dress down & tugging at it because with every step it slides up to their behinds. I'm positive that her and her Mother pulled (stretched) that dress down as far as they could before that picture was taken.
Seattleseabug June 27, 2012 at 04:19 PM
The situation WAS a big deal to the girl. She probably spent a lot of time getting ready and dances are exciting for these kids. Although it seems the situation got out of hand we do not have all the details and should not judge anyone, we do not know how anyone was treated here and treating people disrespectfully can change an entire situation from bad to worse quickly.hopefullt it will all get sorted out without the court involvement because that is another disrespectful nightmare.
Sheri Gazitt June 29, 2012 at 01:07 AM
The dress code at schools has always been so frustrating to me. As a teen, I remember vividly one time I was sent home for inappropriate dress. My outfit was a high victorian-type collar, long sleeves, and a blue jean denim skirt. As I was being escorted to the principal's office, I noticed so many girls with their cleavage showing and looking down right hoochie. My grandmother picked me up from school, who is extremely religious, and asked me "What is wrong with your outfit?" The dress code needs to make sense and the person enforcing it needs to use proper judgement. This whole thing was just wrong from pinpointing this one particular girl out to arresting the mom. Seriously.
Dan McFadden June 30, 2012 at 04:11 PM
I saw the dress. Come on! This was nothing excessive. How do Lake Washington school officials expect to earn the respect of the students/parents if they allow moronic school administration behavior like this? Both daughter and mother are entitled to an apology and the school's oversight officers need some additional training. This was a ridiculous dustup.
Anonymous July 01, 2012 at 11:35 PM
I've seen how the RJH administrators behave (o-v-e-r-r-e-a-c-t) as if every kid is just one step away from juvenille delinquency. I've also seen how inappropriate the School Resource Officer (RPD officer assigned into the school fulltime) can be, even to the extent of yelling at special needs kids who don't understand what he his getting at. I also remember being in school myself. Some kids are picked on, by administrators. Trust me, some of the biggest bullies around the schools aren't the other kids, they ar district employees!

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