Mother facing charges after graduation day dispute over daughter’s shoes

ATLANTA — A metro Atlanta mother is facing charges after she allegedly assaulted a school administrator over a dress code dispute on graduation day.

Several students at Drew Charter School did not receive their diplomas on the special day because school officials said the shoes they were wearing were not in line with the school’s dress code.

One parent got so upset over the situation that she’s now facing charges. Police said the mother allegedly assaulted an administrator right after the ceremony because her daughter violated the dress code.

Parents told Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes they were upset it got to that point.

School officials sent out the dress code weeks before graduation. Girls had to wear black, closed-toe shoes. They could be flats or wedges. But several girls broke the rules and showed up in open-toe heels.

Martinique Smith, whose daughter also violated dress code, said she was hoping the principal would do something about the issue.

“What I was expecting (was) for him to be the bigger person. Hold on, they worked their butt off. It was COVID, you know? This is the end of it, you guys. Just give it to them,” Smith said.

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Smith said her situation is different. Her daughter has a wide foot and she couldn’t find affordable, acceptable shoes.

So her daughter wore the open-toed shoes and as a result, she didn’t get her diploma.

“You don’t know what that child or parent is going through financially as far as shoes – period,” Smith said. “Everybody can’t wear a Walmart shoe. You don’t know the size or the width of the shoe. My daughter is a big girl, so what shoe works for one doesn’t work for another.”

School officials told Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes they’re upset about all of this but they made it clear to parents and students this would happen if they didn’t follow the rules.

Fernandes saw the emails sent with the dress code but didn’t see any document that said students wouldn’t get diplomas. Smith said she never received anything that said that either.

School officials said it was clear to students. Officials say students should have their diplomas by the end of this week.

Fernandes was unable to make contact with the parent that was arrested following Saturday’s incident.