Darcy Krueger is the Florida teenager who was denied entry into her senior homecoming dance because she was wearing a pantsuit rather than a dress.
Krueger, 17, was not trying to make any kind of statement with her outfit. She just didn’t find a dress that she liked ahead of the Tampa Bay Homeschool Homecoming Dance.
That’s when she decided to wear a jumpsuit that she already had in her closet. She told WFTS-TV, “I already had this in the closet and I was like, this could totally work. I could just dress this up and feel good about this.” Kreuger paired the jumpsuit with heels, a sparkly necklace, and an elegant hairstyle.
But Krueger was barred from the dance because she was told that her outfit did not comply with the dress code. Her mother shared the incident on social media and Krueger’s story has since gone viral.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. The Dress Code Stressed That Girls’ Dresses Needed to Be Modest But Did Not Explicitly Ban Pants
Darcy Krueger’s mother, Melissa, shared a screenshot of the dress code that had been designated for the Tampa Bay Homeschool Homecoming Dance with Yahoo Lifestyle. The rules appeared to promote modest, conservative attire.
The boys were required to wear dress pants, a button-down shirt, and a tie. The dress code for the girls was focused on semi-formal dresses.
“Semi-Formal Dresses for young ladies. Please plan your attire within a conservative manner. We do allow strapless and knee-length short dresses, as well as 2 piece dresses with less than 2″ gap at midsection. We highly discourage dresses that are too revealing and that are simply too short. Dresses that expose a plunging neckline or backlines are NOT appropriate. You will not be allowed in if your dress is questionable. DO NOT wear: jeans, t-shirts, baseball caps, and any clothing [with] offensive language or material.”
The dress code does not explicitly state that jumpsuits would not be allowed. Melissa Krueger shared on Facebook that she tried to discuss the issue with the event planner and show her a screenshot of the dress code, but that the woman wouldn’t consider allowing her daughter inside. Melissa noted that her daughter’s outfit was clearly conservative and wrote in a follow-up post, “It’s 2019, girls should not be obligated to wear an outfit with only one opening for their legs.”
2. The Event Planner Has Defended the Decision Because a ‘Pantsuit Does Not Qualify as a Dress’
Darcy Krueger said that on the night of the dance, which took place on September 27, 2019, the event planner first noticed her as she stood in line to get inside. Krueger told the TODAY show that she was “surprised and confused” when the event planner, Stephanie Voth, told her she could not come inside wearing the jumpsuit.
Krueger said Voth told her that if she went home and changed into a dress, then she would be admitted entry. But Krueger explained to TODAY that she “couldn’t support” the idea that her outfit was not suitable and decided she’d rather just go home. She called her mother to pick her up.
Voth defended the decision in an email to NBC News. She stressed that the parents had set the dress code for the homecoming dance and she was merely enforcing it. “The dress code issue was a pantsuit does not qualify as a dress.”
3. A Local Photographer Offered to Do a Photo Shoot With Darcy Krueger For Free
Melissa Krueger’s Facebook post explaining what had happened to her daughter attracted a lot of attention in the community. Florida photographer Jennie Ellis saw the post and decided to reach out. She offered to do a photoshoot with Darcy in her jumpsuit, free of charge.
They did the photoshoot at a nearby park. Ellis told TODAY that she brought along a trunk as a prop. It was meant as a symbol of the baggage that Darcy no longer needed to carry.
Ellis shared in a blog post that she hopes her photography can help to empower young women. She shared a series of photos, which included the ones of Darcy, in the post.
Ellis wrote in part, “A photograph will not change a person but what if it is the start of something? Or is a continuation of her journey? The hope is that she will look at herself in the photo and it will ignite something in her that only she will understand. A new found strength. A new look at her beauty. A confidence because she feels the photos honor who she really is. Even though a photo is a small piece of her journey, it can be a time of discovery and empowerment… All of the girls in these photos are known to me. I have photographed them free of charge over the years because I believe in the power of photography to show a girl her inner strength and beauty.”
4. Melissa Krueger Says She Wants an Apology For Her Daughter & For the Dress Code to Be Updated
Melissa Krueger is continuing to push for the dress code to be updated. She told Yahoo News that if the event organizers do not allow jumpsuits at future events, then Darcy will not attend. Melissa said she feels it’s unlikely that Darcy will attend the Tampa Bay Homeschooling Prom in the spring.
Melissa added on Facebook that she would like to see a sincere apology offered to her daughter, but “we will never ‘demand’ one.”
Melissa also told Yahoo News that the incident showed just how strong of a young woman Darcy is. “Thankfully, my daughter has good self-worth and she saw this clearly for what it was. A very bad judgment call by a woman who showed almost no empathy, and a dress code that needs to be updated into the 21st century.”
5. Darcy Krueger Was Given a Refund After She Was Denied Entry Into the Dance
The Facebook page for the TampaBay Homeschool Homecoming event appears to have been deleted or temporarily taken down. Local ABC affiliate WFTS-TV shared a screengrab of the page that included the dress code. The page stated that no refunds would be given out if a student’s clothing was deemed to be inappropriate; however, an exception was made for Darcy Krueger.
The event planner, Stephanie Voth, issued the following statement to the TV station following the incident.
“We have 2 private events every year for our students. These events have a dress code. This particular event 390 students bought tickets. Only 1 student had to be turned away and it was due to dress code. We offered her an opportunity to come back if she could change into the dress code. We would have loved to had 100% attendance. However, her ticket was refunded after the event and we confirmed that she did not return.”