Mother claims she wasn't allowed to enroll daughter in school due to outfit

HOUSTON – The mother of a high school student claimed she could not register her daughter for class because of her outfit.

Joselyn Lewis wore a T-shirt dress of Marilyn Monroe and a head scarf to enroll her daughter at Madison High School, but said she was not allowed on the property.

Lewis said at first, she thought an administrator mistook her for a student and explained that she was a parent and registering her child.

“She went on to say that she still couldn’t let me on the premises because I was not in dress code and I still didn’t understand what that meant,” Lewis said. “She said that my head scarf was out of dress code and my dress was too short.”

Lewis said due to bullying, she un-enrolled her 15-year-old daughter from Lamar High School on Monday morning and intended to instead enroll her at Madison.

“When I went to Lamar, I had no problems, but when I got to Madison High School, they refused me access to the premises because of what I had on,” Lewis said. “I mean, I didn’t understand why my headscarf and my dress would conflict with me enrolling someone in school.”

The teen’s mother said she’s in the process of getting her hair done and didn’t want to wear it out.

“I’m not saying that it’s a part of my religion, but it could have been, but I just wanted to have it up. Who are you to say that I can’t wear my hair up? In a scarf? Who are you to tell me how to dress?” she said.

She also said her dress passed the finger length test and was not shorter than her fingers.

Lewis said she was upset at the time and demanded to see the “parent dress code.”

“I wanted to see proof of where it says parents can come dressed a certain way, but it wouldn’t show me that. I wouldn’t leave, so they called the police department. They called them on me and I guess he was coming to tell me to leave, but I was already on the phone with the school board,” Lewis said.

Here is a link to Madison High School's parent responsibilities, which don't specifically talk about a dress code for parents.

The mother said she would understand if her rear end or chest were in view, but said that wasn’t the case and couldn’t see the problem.

“I can wear what I want to wear. I don’t have to get all dolled up to enroll her to school,” Lewis said. “My child’s education, anyone’s child’s education should be more important than what someone has on, that shouldn’t matter.”

KPRC2 reached out to Houston Independent School District officials to hear the district’s side of the story, but haven't heard back.