1. Happy News
Being homeschooled, Clare had missed out on some of the more fun aspects of highschool life. But when Clare received an invitation for a special homeschool prom night she was over the moon. Finally, she would be able to have the prom night she and all other highschool girls dream of.
Clare couldn't wait to invite her boyfriend James to come along. For months she excitedly prepared. She did all the things teens do, she searched for the perfect outfit and arranged for a limo. However, for this Virginia teen, her big night wouldn't turn out the way she had always imagined.
2. Twilight In Paris Seemed Like A Great Night
Like all proms, the homeschool prom had a special theme. Organizers had chosen 'Twilight in Paris' as this year's theme. For Clare, nothing could be more romantic and she and James quickly bought their tickets. The couple decided to attend with a group of friends and soon it was all they talked about
According to the invitation, the dress code was semi-formal and the only requirement was that girls' dresses were fingertip length or longer. Over 400 students from grades 8 to 12 were invited to what sounded like an amazing evening. But for Clare, it would leave her feeling defeated and angry.
3. Searching For Her Dream Dress Was Harder Than She Thought
With the theme now set, Clare began her long search for the perfect dress. She decided she wanted to wear something unique that perfectly represented the glitz and glamour of Paris. As a tall teen, Clare's search wasn't easy and the dress code mentioned in the invitation didn't make things any easier.
Every time Clare thought she finally found a good dress she was disappointed. She searched for hours and trolled every dress rack she could find. Still, the ultimate prom dress eluded her. Then, just as she was about to give up, she saw her dream dress.
4. Her Last Hope
There, in the corner of a store, Clare saw a sparkly silver dress that would be perfect. As she took it off the rack Clare's heart raced. It was so beautiful. Pushing back her excitement, Clare steeled herself as she headed to the fitting rooms. Would this dress actually fit her?
As Clare tried on the dress she realized how great it went with the theme. It was sparkly and screamed high fashion glitz. As she looked at herself in the mirror she could already see how great it would look on the big night. Now, if only it fit the dress code.
5. Checking The Dress Code
Remembering the dress code stipulations in the invitation, Clare wanted to make sure it would pass the fingertip rule. So with her hands at her sides, she looked carefully to see if the dress passed her fingertips. Would the dress fit her tall frame?
While the dress was short, thankfully it was an inch longer than her fingertips. Clare let out a sigh of relief. Not only would it not violate the dress code, but the sparkly dress fit her exquisitely. It was perfect and she was going to look gorgeous!
6. Falling Into Place
After lots of hard work at her part-time job, Clare had managed to save up to buy her own dress. Now, not only was this dress long enough and looked great, but it was also in her price range. Overjoyed, the happy teen headed to the cash register to pay.
Delighted that she had bought her dress, Clare thought things were falling into place for the big night. She had a dress, a dream date, and her friends would all be there. It was shaping up to be perfect. Little did she know that her dream dress would turn into a nightmare!
7. The Big Day Approaches
As prom night drew closer, Clare and her friends got more and more excited. They all shared pictures of their dresses as they passionately counted the days until the big dance. Everything had been perfectly planned and the girls were ready. Even James had managed to find the perfect tux.
In her sparkly dress, Clare felt like a movie star. She picked out some red lipstick and told her friends how her dress made her feel like she was channeling the great Marilyn Monroe. Little did Clare know that the dress that made her so happy would soon leave her embarrassed and rejected.
8. Clare Has A Bad Feeling
Aside from the occasional wedding and family function, Clare didn't have many opportunities to get all dressed up. That's why getting dressed up for prom and showing off to her friends and family was so important to Clare. Plus, prom was an important milestone for any senior, and Clare wanted it perfect.
Despite being ready for prom Clare couldn't shake the feeling that something wasn't right about the dress. She tried the dress on repeatedly, each time making sure it was long enough to pass the dress code restriction. Each time she confirmed it was longer than her fingertips. Still, something wasn't quite right.
9. Prom Night Is Finally Here
Finally, the big night had arrived and Clare spent hours getting ready. As she did her hair and makeup, she told her mom how excited she was to have a normal high school experience. Clare knew she would never forget this night. Sadly what she didn't know was how much she would want to.
Finally Clare was ready, and with her heels on she did one final check to see if the dress was long enough. While it was cutting it a little close, Clare was confident it was long enough. After letting her mom take a few pictures, Clare was finally ready to head out and enjoy her evening.
10. All Nerves
As Clare waited for her date to arrive she realized how nervous she was. After all the excitement and preparation she hadn't stopped to think how weird it would be going to a high school function.
Being homeschooled, Clare hadn't experienced what it can feel like being around other students. Now, as the hour approached, she was all nerves. This would be the first time she would be surrounded by her peers and she worried how it would all work out. What if she embarrassed herself?
11. The Gorgeous Couple
When James arrived each was blown away at how great the other looked. James looked so handsome in his tux and Clare was a real bombshell. After pausing for some more pre-prom pics, the pair headed off for their big night.
Despite her brief moment of panic and fear, seeing James all dressed up gave Clare some much-needed courage. After all, she did look pretty awesome in her glimmering dress. They were sure to make a great entrance when they arrived... or so Clare thought.
12. Making An Entrance
When Clare and James arrived they were buzzing with excitement. The venue looked amazing, and as they entered the lobby Clare spotted her friends. The couple had just started walking towards their friends when suddenly a female chaperone named Mrs. Duncan had jumped in front of them. Shocked, Clare couldn't believe what happened next.
Before she had even made it inside the dance before something had gone wrong. The chaperone now stood in their way with her arms outstretched like an over-enthusiastic goalie. Not able to pass the angry woman, the couple looked at each other as it dawned that something bad was about to happen.
13. A Nasty Surprise
Before Clare could even react, Mrs. Duncan, starting yelling 'No! Honey that dress is too short'. Blocking their path she then told the couple that they would have to leave the dance because of Clare's dress. Even though Mrs. Duncan was grinning as she spoke, the chaperone's words sent Clare into a panic.
Stunned, Clare decided to take a stand and plead her case. As everyone watched, Clare told the woman that she had repeatedly checked that the dress was long enough. She even showed her that the dress was longer than her fingertips. Unconvinced, Mrs. Duncan continued to make a scene.
14. That's When Everyone Started Making A Scene
This prom was important to Clare and she wasn't going to take no for an answer. Surely Mrs. Duncan could understand how important this night was for students? But Mrs. Duncan just continued to push the couple out of the lobby. Clare explained that her height only made the dress look short. But Clare was totally ignored.
Unwilling to just give up and go home, Clare and James refused to back down. Defiantly they asked the angry chaperone to reiterate the dress code guidelines. By now a small crowd had gathered around to watch the spectacle and Clare blushed with embarrassment.
15. Providing Proof
With her finger-wagging, Mrs. Duncan explained that the dress code stipulated that the hem of the girl's dress had to be at or below the girl's fingertips. Desperately, Clare dropped her hands to her side to demonstrate the length. While it was close, the dress was long enough to fall just below Clare's fingertips.
Clare had successfully demonstrated that the dress did actually meet the criterion Mrs. Duncan had just explained. Still, Mrs. Duncan wasn't ready to let the matter go, despite the angry pleas of the surrounding crowd.
16. Fighting Back Tears
As Mrs. Duncan once again told Clare she would have to leave, Clare still wasn't ready to give up her dream night. Fighting back tears Clare desperately yelled 'I just have long legs, everything looks short on me, but it is fingertip length I just showed you'. Eventually, Mrs. Duncan seemed to be swayed
Although she wasn't happy about it, Mrs. Duncan finally let them pass. Before they were able to get passed she warned Clare to keep her dress down. Thinking the drama was behind her, Clare didn't realize that Mrs. Duncan wasn't going to let it go completely.
17. Not Alone
Finally, Clare and James were allowed to proceed towards their friends. The whole ordeal had been so embarrassing but it seemed to be over...or so they thought! As the group entered the ballroom Clare couldn't help but laugh when she saw everyone inside.
Contrary to what she expected, many of the other girls were also wearing short dresses. In fact, many of the other girls had dresses that were even shorter than hers. Clare was relieved. If Mrs. Duncan was going to punish Clare for her dress, she would have to punish everybody else too!
18. Clare Knows She's Being Watched
Pretty soon Clare and James had put the whole ordeal behind them and they began to enjoy themselves. As the group chatted and laughed they danced with the music. Being her first dance ever, Clare was a little nervous about her dancing. Luckily James took the lead.
After a while, Clare and her friends started to get an uncomfortable feeling that they were being watched. Sure enough, all across the ballroom, it seemed all the adult chaperones were focussing on them. As James looked up he was shocked to see a group of male chaperones watching the girls dance from the balcony above.
19. Slowly Surrounded
Naturally, Clare and her friends felt more than a little creeped out by this. It was obvious that all eyes were on them. In the corner of the room, Clare spotted Mrs. Duncan watching her intently. Then James pointed something disturbing out
Not only were they being watched, it almost seemed like they were slowly being surrounded. Still, Clare told her friends not to worry about it and to just have fun. As the music played and the group swayed to the rhythm they slowly relaxed. But then, just as suddenly as before, Mrs. Duncan was marching towards them angrily.
20. Pulled Aside And Alone
This time Mrs. Duncan was with another female chaperone. Before Clare realized what was happening she had been shuffled away from the dance floor. In a blink of an eye, Clare found herself alone in the hallway with the two women. In the distance, she could hear James arguing with a chaperone in the doorway.
Before Clare had a chance to ask what was happening, Mrs. Duncan told Clare that several of the male chaperones had complained about Clare's dancing. She accused Clare of dancing in an overtly provocative way that was going to morally corrupt the younger boys. Flabergasted by the extreme accusation, Clare couldn't believe her ears.
21. Impure Thoughts
This was the last straw for Clare. Not only had the night started off badly because of Mrs Duncan but now she was accusing Clare of something insane. There had been nothing wrong with Clare's dancing. Now all of a sudden Clare was responsible for what grown men and young boys thought? The whole thing was crazy!
Mrs. Duncan had gone too far, especially for someone who was just a volunteer chaperone. But still, Mrs. Duncan was convinced she was right. For Clare, it was becoming unbearable. All she had wanted was a normal prom experience but now she was purposefully being attacked for something that wasn't true.
22. Outdated Thinking
While proms in the past had been much more traditional, with strict dress codes and rules about dancing, things in society had changed. After all, this wasn't the 1950s and Mrs. Duncan wasn't Clare's teacher. But still, Mrs. Duncan was unaware of her outdated, old-fashioned thinking.
Clare had done her best to obey the rules, but it was now clear that she was personally being picked on by Mrs. Duncan. The whole situation was turning ugly fast and Clare could barely take it. As she stood there alone with the two women Clare began to feel even more uncomfortable.
23. Not Backing Down
By now Clare felt attacked. Still, she attempted to reason with Mrs. Duncan one last time. Clare explained how her dancing had not been inappropriate and that instead, she had only slow danced. Once again Clare pointed out that her dress was long enough - but her pleas only fell on deaf ears.
Mrs. Duncan had made up her mind about Clare. Clare couldn't understand why only she was being singled out. Just then, and much to Clare's relief, James managed to get by the other chaperones. As James reached Clare he too couldn't believe what Mrs. Duncan was accusing Clare of.
24. Threats, Accusations, And Overall Disaster
Both James and Clare's friends now argued with Mrs. Duncan and the other chaperone. Shockingly instead of being listened to Mrs. Duncan told the group that it was none of their business. Mrs. Duncan had had enough and she told Clare that she had to leave the prom.
The chaperones even threatened to kick Clare out if she didn't leave voluntarily. Despite their extreme reaction, Mrs. Duncan and some of the organizers refused to budge. Clare had to go and if she didn't they would have her thrown out in front of everyone. Clare's prom night had been completely ruined.
25. End Of The Line
At this point, Clare was in tears. Wanting to help as much as he could, James desperately tried to reason with the chaperones. He explained how Mrs. Duncan had targeted Clare and that she hadn't broken any rules. Instead, James was angrily told to butt out and mind his own business.
James did his best to control his anger. As the security guards were called to remove Clare, James demanded that they receive a refund for their tickets. After all, they had paid for the whole night and now they were being kicked out for no clear reason.
26. Demanding To Speak To The Boss
Instead of being allowed to enjoy this joyous rite of passage, Clare now found herself being kicked out of prom. As the situation continued to get heated the group realized that Mrs. Duncan hadn't actually given a clear reason for why she was kicking Clare out. After all, controlling the thoughts of young boys was not Clare's responsibility.
Demanding a clear reason, Mrs. Duncan simply said that Clare had made others think impure thoughts. That just didn't seem like a valid reason to kick someone out of prom, so Clare and her friends demanded to speak with the proms organizer. Instead, Mrs. Duncan refused and Clare and James were lead out of the hall, their friends closely behind them.
27. Not Unnoticed
Emotional and devastated by what had just happened, Clare asked the security guard if he thought what had happened was fair. To her surprise, he agreed that Clare had done nothing wrong. But there was nothing he could do to help.
While Mrs. Duncan had hoped to keep the whole ordeal private, at this point everyone had seen Clare being removed, and quickly rumors began to spread. Mrs. Duncan hadn't just ruined Clare's night, her actions were going to hurt Clare's reputation.
28. Left With Nothing But Tears
How could everything have gone so badly so quickly? Clare and her boyfriend were mortified by what had happened and none of them could really believe it. Clare's friends all agreed that they had done nothing wrong and Mrs. Duncan was completely out of her mind.
To make matters worse, only Clare had received a refund for her ticket and even though Mrs. Duncan had promised to refund all the tickets, Clare's friends had never gotten their money back. In tears in the parking lot, Clare vowed that she wouldn't let this injustice slide.
29. Setting The Record Straight
After the disastrous prom, Clare was more certain that she had done nothing wrong that night. Even Clare's parents were in disbelief that a teen could be kicked out of prom for making others think impure thoughts. Motivated by the support she received, Clare decided to take a stand.
Clare decided to post her side of the story online. Many other students had seen her and James being kicked out of prom and the rumor mill was a buzz. So Clare wanted to clear their names and set the record straight. Little did she know that her post would go viral.
30. The Post Seen Around The World
Clare got to work writing about her nightmare experience with Mrs. Duncan. She explained in detail how the night had progressed and even shared how she had been left feeling embarrassed and uncomfortable by it all. She included pictures of her dress and herself dancing and pretty soon she was ready to post her work. This was the calm before the storm.
Clare acknowledged that she may not have handled the situation correctly. She pointed to how she had been singled out by Mrs. Duncan. She also explained how Mrs. Duncan's claim that Clare's dancing had made others think a certain way was unfair. After all, can someone be responsible for what others think? As soon as the post was live there was an immediate reaction.
31. Global Support
Within hours the post had been shared thousands of times. Soon Clare received support from people all over the world. Clare's prom dress controversy also led to intense online debate. Many felt that Clare had been shamed to make others feel comfortable. Almost everyone agreed that Mrs. Duncan had been out of line in shaming the teen.
The global positive reaction took Clare by surprise. While she hadn't expected such a huge response she was shocked that the prom organizer hadn't reached out to her. Naturally, Clare expected that she may receive an apology. Instead what the Richmond Homeschool Prom Association did was gutwrenching.
32. The School Tries To Hide The Incident
When Clare's story went viral it didn't take long for the Richmond Homeschool Prom Association's Facebook page to start receiving comments and posts about what had happened. Sadly, instead of addressing what had happened and trying to move forward, the administrators of the page simply decided to delete all comments about Clare.
Instead of doing something positive, the Richmond Homeschool Prom Association had chosen to whitewash the incident and pretend it had never happened. They never reached out to Clare to formally address the incident. Instead, they were silent...that is until an unlikely person decided to give an interview about what had happened.
33. Mrs Duncan Goes Public
As the story got bigger and bigger it wasn't long until news crews showed up to cover the story. While Clare's family and friends defended her in interviews, Mrs. Duncan painted a completely different picture. What she would claim on live TV would spark even more outrage!
Mrs. Duncan denied almost everything she had said to Clare and her friends. Speaking to reporters she explained how Clare's dress had been made of inferior fabric that kept riding up. She said by the time she reached the dance floor the dress had ridden all the way up in an inappropriate way. She outright denied saying the dress had been too short and said that none of the male chaperones had been watching Clare.
34. Lies, Lies, And More Lies
Remember accusing Clare of making others have impure thoughts? Well, when asked about this Mrs. Duncan said she had never said anything so outrageous. She then went on to say that she had barely taken notice of Clare because there had been over 500 kids in attendance.
Other witnesses claimed that Clare and many others had been dancing inappropriately, but instead of punishing everyone, Mrs. Duncan had only punished Clare. After all these interviews, Clare decided she would have the last word.
35. Getting The Final Word
After their story went viral, Clare noticed that many people commenting online were focussing on much darker topics. So together Clare and James made a video explaining how they felt about everything. They acknowledged more extreme viewpoints but wanted to remind the public of the moral of the story.
Clare and James explained how people like Mrs. Duncan could be harmful to others. The pair hoped their story could inspire others to respect each other and treat each other fairly. While Clare may not have gotten her dream prom, she sure learned an invaluable life lesson instead.