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Joplin High School Student Alleges Discrimination, Body Shaming - KOAM TV 7

Joplin High School Student Alleges Discrimination, Body Shaming From Teacher

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Joplin, MO -

A picture of Kelsey Anderson, different from the one included with this story but taken the same day of this alleged incident, has also been circulating the internet.  Anderson says the picture was taken in a women's bathroom at the Joplin High School after a school exercise class.  Anderson says she did a "teenage" thing by allowing one of her friends to take this picture, which shows her shirt lifted above only her belly button.  Anderson says she lowered her shirt before she left the bathroom.  

Anderson's attorney, Elizabeth Turner, says even if her client violated the school's dress code, the teacher, mentioned in the story below, still had no right to (allegedly) say what she said to Anderson.

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"Women who have 'more' tend to have more to cover up," says 17-year-old Kelsey Anderson.

Anderson says she was appropriately "covered up" and showed very little, if any, cleavage while wearing a shirt pictured with this story.  Anderson says the laces on the top of her shirt can't loosen.

"They're sewed," says Anderson.  "They tie on the outside and there's like a paid on the inside, so even if they were to be cut, ripped, it (cleavage) would be covered."

Anderson says she was surprised when her child development teacher said, while Anderson wore this shirt, that she was too "busty".

"My cleavage was too much," says Anderson when talking about what the teacher told her.

Anderson says the teacher sent her to the head principal.

"She said bustier women need to wear attire that fits them correctly.  Shop at the plus-sized stores," says Anderson.

According to Anderson, two principals at Joplin's high school and a school counselor didn't see anything wrong with what she was wearing.  Anderson says school staff tried to force her to return to the same class she was forced to leave.

"I was just uncomfortable being around that same group of people after that," says Anderson.

Anderson hasn't been back to school since what allegedly happened.

"The only reason the family came to me in the first place was to help get an accommodation for Miss Anderson," says Anderson's attorney Elizabeth Turner, talking about trying to get Anderson to have a different teacher.  

We asked Turner if she thought this alleged incident has been blown out of proportion.

"Not at all.  Once we spoke with Miss Anderson, and we've spoken with other students, it's something that has been going on.  It needs to stop," says Turner.

Turner says other students have since alleged similar discriminatory situations.

"We're open to speak with the school," says Turner.  "We haven't heard from them yet.  But we're open to speak to the school and hopefully come up with something that will show they're going to make these changes, so other girls don't go through what she's gone through.  If that doesn't work, obviously a lawsuit is an option."

Anderson says some sort of promised change from the school district needs to happen quickly.  She's a senior and wants to graduate on time.

Turner released the picture included with this story to other media outlets as well, hoping other people see that Anderson's shirt wasn't inappropriate.

The Joplin School District issued a statement that did not specifically address Anderson's allegation, but said that it's inappropriate for staff members to comment on students' bodies.

Anderson says she has suspended her Facebook account because of several vulgar messages.

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