RICHMOND, Va. – A 17-year-old homeschool graduate has generated an online firestorm after she condemned the organizers of a local prom for reprimanding her suggestive prom dress.
Clare Schlaudt is a homeschool student from Chesterfield, Virginia, who participated in the Richmond Homeschool Prom last Saturday. The prom was held at a local Methodist church building, with several hundred guests in attendance.
According to a blog post Schlaudt wrote earlier this week, she wore a “gorgeous, silver, and sparkly” dress to the prom. Schlaudt said her dress was “not trashy, but you definitely would look twice when I walked through a doorway.”
Though Schlaudt believes her prom dress met the event’s dress code standards, one of the prom organizers—identified as “Mrs. D.”—told her, “Honey, that dress is too short.” Reluctantly, the administrator eventually allowed Schlaudt to enter the prom.
However, after Schlaudt joined a group of friends on the dance floor, Mrs. D. approached Schlaudt and, according to the student, informed her that some guests at the prom had complained that her behavior was too provocative. Mrs. D. then asked her to leave the church building. After protesting, Schlaudt proceeded to leave the premises.
Schlaudt was evidently incensed by the prom officials’ decision and condemned the event dress code, which required that dresses be at least fingertip length, in her profanity-laced blog post. She describes her experience as “really awful” and evidence of a “painful, traumatizing evil.”
“When [my friends and I] walked out of the prom, frustrated and angry and feeling very disrespected and violated, some of the people in my group shouted profanities at the security guards, and I personally [showed a crude gesture],” Schlaudt wrote.
While she admits that the response was inappropriate, Schlaudt is demanding prom officials to apologize.
“What I want to know is if the people involved in this situation at the Richmond Homeschool Prom are adult enough to own up to their wrong actions as well,” she stated. “And refund my group as they verbally promised to do, and issue an apology for kicking me out of my senior prom because their husbands felt as though my body was something they had a right to control.”
Schlaudt’s story was first published by her sister, who says she uses her blog “as a place for victims of patriarchal Christianity to speak up.”
After her blog post was published, dozens of online commenters voiced support for Schlaudt and criticized the prom officials’ actions. One blogger described the incident as “sick.”
“I absolutely agree that if what Clare reports is how it went down, that she was humiliated, and treated disgracefully all around,” another blogger wrote. “She is owed a public apology. … I am all for modesty, but this is ugly stuff.”
However, those familiar with the homeschool prom have also shared details about the incident that they state Schlaudt failed to mention in her blog post.
“My daughter and son were at the prom,” one attendee explained. “What you can’t see by the picture posted here was that [Schlaudt’s] dress was tight and kept riding up and she refused to pull it back down. Homeschoolers aren’t the prudes and creeps portrayed here. … This is unfair sensationalism at its best.”
One woman who helped organize the prom also weighed in on the controversy.
“From what I gathered that night, Clare would not allow anyone else to speak,” she wrote. “She became extremely argumentative and belligerent. Although [prom organizers] had ongoing concerns about Clare’s dress, her behavior in the hall became the reason she was finally asked to leave.”
“This entire episode has saddened many families in our community whose children attended this prom, including ours,” another local resident wrote. “The things that have been said about homeschooling parents, Christians and these fathers [are] inexcusable. … The events as portrayed in the blog and in the media are not accurate and we continue to pray for all those involved.”
Other homeschool students who attended the prom likewise assert that Schlaudt stretched the truth in her blog post.
“Everything that has been said about Clare and the Richmond Homeschool Prom has been yellow journalism and nothing short of sensationalizing,” wrote homeschool graduate Callie Hobbs in a blog post published yesterday. “Her entire story is full of lies and slander.”
“More than one person (including myself) saw her dancing suggestively, which [was] grounds for removal,” Hobbs added. “There has also been a lot of controversy about her being the only one to get kicked out, when in reality there were eight others who [were] asked to leave as well.”