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UPDATE: Chesterfield homeschooler ‘kicked out of prom over provocative dance’

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) — A Chesterfield teen won’t be left with the best memories of her senior prom, after she says she was kicked-out because chaperones at the church thought her dress was too short and her dancing too provocative.

CBS 6 spoke with the teen, who said she decided to write about her experience in a blog entry posted online on Mother’s Day, because she wanted to share something bigger than just getting kicked out of prom — she wanted to make a stand for women and their right to be beautiful without being objectified.

Saturday, May 10, Clare attended a Richmond prom event for homeschoolers, with her boyfriend and four friends, that was held at a church in Mechanicsville. CBS 6 reached out to organizers of the prom, and to the church, but have not received a reply.

CBS 6 was able to interview a student who was at the event, and her parent, who said this story “has frustrated the homeschool community.” That interview is lower down in the story.

PHOTO: Used with permission from original blog

PHOTO: Used with permission from original blog

In her post Clare recalls the excitement that led up to the event; shopping for a dress, finding the perfect shoes to go along with it.

And then it was the big night; the prom theme was “Twilight in Paris.”

“I’m all dolled up, channeling my inner Marilyn Monroe with my blonde hair and bright red lipstick,” writes Clare.

She says the only dress code listed on the registration form was that the formal dress pass the fingertip test — the dress hem can’t be above your fingertips when they are relaxed all the way at your side.

The photo shows that she passed the fingertip test, yet she says she almost as soon as she arrived was approached by a prom organizer who told her  “honey, that dress is too short.”

Clare says that at 5’9″ everything looks shorter than it would on anyone else, but she complied with the organizer who Clare says wanted her to keep pulling down the dress.

Clare’s boyfriend James Thompson described the dance as pretty awkward, and heavily chaperoned in comparison to previous years.  He said that a lot of people were standing around talking in the center of the dance floor, as chaperones, including fathers, watched from above.

The both say nobody was really even dancing.

Clare and James on their way to prom

Clare and James on their way to prom

Clare’s blog post maintains that the same organizer, referred to in the post as “Mrs. D.” gestured her off the dance floor, into a corner with another woman.

It was there that Mrs. D told her some of the dads who were chaperoning had complained “her dancing was too provocative” and that it was going to “cause the young men at the prom to think impure thoughts.”

Homeschool mother Julie Hobbs, whose daughter was at the dance said that homeschoolers are upset with quotes calling them perverts in media around the world.

“All parents and students were given rules — the polices were well known just as they are in the public schools,” Julie Hobbs.

“I think both parties could of acted a little bit differently obviously but the way that it went down it was fine because people need to follow the rules,” Callie Hobbs, Julie’s daughter who went to the dance. She says she saw Clare “grinding.”

You can read more of Callie’s post here. 

Clare and James visit CBS 6 for an interview.

Clare and James visit CBS 6 for an interview.

“It’s sexism…they’re saying you’re making us feel a certain things so you have to do what we tell you to do and that’s not right,” said James.

James and Clare said that after she was kicked out, tempers flared from the group.

They were upset that the rest of the group — who Clare says left when she left because they all rode together — couldn’t get $25 ticket refunds, and  they were all upset that Clare was getting kicked out.

She writes about their reaction:

“When we 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 flipped them off. I putting this part in the story because I want everyone who reads this to know that we shouldn’t have reacted so immaturely to their unfair and disrespectful actions, and we’re all adult enough to admit that.

But 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. 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.”

She ended the post by saying: “I’m not responsible for some perverted 45-year-old dad lusting after me because I have a sparkly dress on and if you think I am, then maybe you’re part of the problem.”

The post was made on the website Wine & Marble, by Hannah Ettinger, who is Clare’s sister. The full post can be read here, but just want to warn you there is some graphic language.

116 comments

  • Robert

    I honestly believe that the coordinators of the dance need to be held accountable for the actions of the chaperones that felt the need for this to be done to this poor girl.

  • Dan Morrow

    Doesn’t really matter what she does. No one can make you feel anything you don’t want to feel. Make on the spot corrections and move on. I cant believe that there weren’t issues on all sides that could been seen as inappropriate. Good luck finding the actual truth.

  • r mills

    I think I’m familiar with the type. She probably rebelled against the spiritual/wholesome/moral environment of homeschooling long before this event and had an agenda to cause exactly the uproar she did to justify her vile, vitriolic response to their anticipated reaction! It’s that simple. I seriously doubt any of this really surprised her or her “group” – and that they are actually gloating over it!

  • B

    It’s all about respect. If respect is given, it’s should be reciprocated. Just because a person is considered an adult, does not mean that person can be disrespectful. There are 3 sides to every story. Your side, their side, and the truth.

  • joycemzrodgers

    It’s a hard day to be a homeschooler in Richmond. Reading the comments folks are making against a 17 year old girl … the conclusions that people are willing to jump to based on one side of a story. I had family from out of town contact me to ask about this scandal that my children, who attended the prom were not even aware of. This event has been blown way out of proportion. The girl involved, the parent volunteers and the other children who participated – not to mention the homeschool community in general – are being done a HUGE disservice by distribution of this story. Let’s put away and move on to something that deserves our attention.

  • wayback

    If these parents think that their sons don’t already have impure thoughts raging through their brain nearly every minute of every day, then they are naive and self righteous. And that is nothing to say about what was going through the voyeuristic fathers minds watching the dance upstairs. Sounds like a community right out of the movie Footloose. And lets not forget that this happened in puritanical Virginia (named after the Virgin Queen – right wink, wink) What do you think was going through these adults minds when Clare walked in with a black man.

    I think that rather than one thing that caused the expulsion it was a culmination of sins that forced these self righteous ninies to remember that they live in a bigger world than they like to admit.

  • Lindsay

    Slut shaming is very evident within this thread and by parents especially. Is she less than human because her dress is form-fitting and not at her knees? Is it okay to treat her less than human because she danced at prom in said dress? NO! The comments here about this girl make me sick. No one has a right to judge her and slut-shame her because of her attire. Those who are defending the men who couldn’t control their abnoxious remarks are adding to and enabling sexist behavior. Her body does NOT control or force anyone’s thoughts or inappropriate remarks. These dads need to have some self-control and a conversation about how this is an example of objectifying women. Women stand up for girls and other women! What’s done is done and hopefully these homeschool parents and dads learned from it. It’s not okay to be mean. Apologize and refund the tickets to her and her friends.

  • GsusH

    Sounds to me like the fathers can’t control their sexual urges towards minors in that part of the country!

  • Jesse C

    You know what, bravo to the chaperones! They did exactly the right thing! However to avoid problems like this in the future, having MORE strict dress codes for the ladies would be advisable… And don’t call me a sexist or any kind of nonsense like that. I am also a homeschooled senior, who was at the Richmond prom with friends, and I am also an 18 year old girl. I did NOT dress inappropriately, nor did I dance provocatively, but I did see others who were! I was disgusted! I couldn’t believe it was happening at a homeschool event AT A CHURCH!!!! Young Christian men these days have a difficult enough time keeping their thoughts and actions pure and right. This was an event put on by God-fearing people, and if you don’t believe the same way we do that’s fine, just don’t come next year!

  • Michelle

    Even by her own admission, she was given many chances. Teens have no respect these days. And she probably did everything she could to irritate them when they approached her about her dress (and still let her stay might I add). All these little matters are trivial. The big picture, she should respect the authority put over her. If she didn’t like the rules, leave.

  • Frank Agent

    My life experience says a pretty white girl bringing a black boy to a dance at a church is an instant recipe cor conflict and confrontation, even more so in the backwoods of Virginia.

    • Belsma

      Evidently you are not from around here. This area is not “back woods”, but yes there are some racists here, just like anywhere. Her boyfriend was very well spoken and did not seem like a “punk”, which come in all races. However, I still think Clare acted like a little brat and maybe that is an issue with home schooling..kids don’t learn how to behave among their piers and adults because they are “confined” in a way. JMO.

  • Love One Another As I Have Loved You

    Sounds like the group that runs this prom event want girls to be very covered up and behaving so as to not draw any attention to themselves because the men at these events are unable to control their lustful thoughts. In other words, they want to limit women’s individual freedoms in the name of God while protecting men from any ownership of their base instincts. Could be either Extremist Christians or the Taliban, both have the same values only a slightly different version of an Omnipotent, Woman-Hating God. Definitely the bottom rung of “Christianity” at work here.

  • paul gmucs

    I think that this speaks to what these chaperones, I believe mainly dads, and what they were thinking about,

  • Norma Earls

    After reading this story here, and elsewhere, Clare Schlaudt’s blog post and the accounts of others about Clare’s “ordeal”, it’s obvious that this girl has profound problems. Clare Schlaudt is a poster child for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. In the grandiose thinking that comes w/ narcissism, she really believes that every male “lusts” after her, not just innocent fathers. Clare Schlaudt needs professional treatment, not enabling by the media. I can’t imagine what her parents have gone through with both of their daughters.http://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/narcissistic-personality-disorder

  • Concerned Resident

    Another case of “I’m a teenager and I can do whatever I want to because we have freedom of this and freedom of that….blah blah blah”…. If these young kids would own up to the fact that they have to follow rules and have respect for others they would be more successful. If parents would parent instead of being “friends” with the kids and all of their friends the world would be a more disciplined place to live. Teenagers just don’t like to be told what they can and can’t do. Don’t go throwing religion into it. You were in a place of worship!! If you didn’t like where it was being held and couldn’t respect that then you shouldn’t have attended!!! Plain and simple as that! Just because you are pretty and can wear your dress and strut your stuff doesn’t give you the right to FLAUNT what you have. Have some respect for yourself! I’m sure nobody made up the way the girl was dancing and it doesn’t make the dad’s perverts if they didn’t feel it was appropriate. It makes them decent! THANK YOU TO THE PARENTS THAT WEREN’T AFRAID TO STAND UP FOR WHAT WAS RIGHT. THANK YOU TO THE PARENTS FOR RESPECTING WHERE YOU WERE AND DOING YOUR JOB!!! STAND YOUR GROUND AND CONTINUE TO SPEAK UP WHEN YOU FEEL IT’S NEEDED. That’s part of what’s wrong with this distorted world today. Everybody is expected to keep their mouth shut because they have to be afraid of some other idiot that’s not going to agree with what they think. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK CHAPERONES….YOU DID A FINE JOB!

  • Friend of Family and Eyewitness

    Clare’s family are friends of mine; and also my best friend’s daughter was an eyewitness at this dance. After hearing both of their sides of the story, I tend to believe my friend’s daughter, who is a very responsible, honest young lady. She said, as many other eyewitnesses have said, that Clare was dancing very provacatively, as if it were a strip club. Her skirt (it’s actually a two piece dress, if you look closely) was hiked WAY up once she was on the dance floor too. My husband used to be a public high school teacher and said there were plenty of times that students were kicked out of prom for dancing inappropriately, so this is not a homeschool thing. For those addressing the racial issue, there were plenty of other mixed raced couples there who did not get kicked out. Clare’s sister even said on her blog that Clare’s boyfriend said it was not a racial issue. From what Clare’s mother has told me, I believe Clare is rebelling and has been influenced by her two older sisters. I think a lot of it has to do with a church they attended years ago. Clare’s sister, Hannah Ettinger, wrote on someone else’s blog about that experience and the family told us they decided to leave that church because it was just too legalistic. This whole ordeal has really shown me how the media can get a hold of something and report on it like it’s true, sensationalize it, and even report some of the information wrong from their source. I am trying to use this as an example to my children to not believe everything in the media.

  • Concerned Father

    Why is it hard to believe there are families who choose to Homeschool and support things that promote moral standards? As a homeschooling father, it is heart wrenching to be labeled in such a manner by those that only read bits and pieces of the story, by the news media, and by the original writer of the first blog accusing the man and boys of being perverts.

    There are always two sides of every story and I’m sure the prom coordinators had their reason behind the removal of this teenager. I’m also sure this is not the only time or place somebody has had to be removed from a prom or event for not adhering to rules or moral standards and turning around and blowing things way out of proportion.

    With all the hurt that has taken place, I hope now the healing can begin for the fathers, homeschool community, the chaperones and coordinators of this event, all those that were at the prom and yes, even the teenager who feels see was wronged.

  • DanTheMan

    OK Chesterfield . . . let’s see. Caucasian girl, African American boy, Richmond county, home schooled, the Caucasian fathers have a problem with this girl’s “dress?” Do all you folks need for a house to fall on you before you recognize good ol’ bigotry when you see it?

  • Julia Childress

    LOL Well I was there and the color of your skin has nothing to do with the fact that she 1. had been to the prom before(I was there she looked familiar from past proms) so I know for a fact she was well aware of the rules, 2. Had that dress hiked up under her butt cheeks and 3. was dancing like a stripper. What did you expect from homeschool parents? That is all her fault. No sympathy. But Congrats on your 15 seconds of fame *round of applause*

  • MR.TRUTH OF THE MATTER

    I was there that night and I had a blast. After talking to one of the leaders because I’m close with them it needs to be known that the whole case being made for Clare Schlaudt is that she would give the boys impure thoughts. If this was true she might have a case but it’s not. After talking to the lady that kicked her out it has been made clear that no one told Clare that the fathers said she would give the boys impure thoughts. No one said that at all but Clare. She added that to her stupid blogpost to get peoples attention because honestly if that was true I could see why she was upset. But she fabricated all that nonsense in hopes to get attention which she is known to always be seeking. Her older sister Hanna is on a hate campaign against homeschooling and conservatives because she feels that’s her parents abused her by homeschooling her. She has caused her family a lot of issues because she believe her parents are wronging her sibling by homeschooling. She writes articles like this all the time to get attention and to milk money out of people who might feel sorry for her. But I tell you today that she had a bad experience with one homeschoolers and has decided to influence Clare and some of the other older siblings. This whole thing is ridiculous. The whole world is riding this article for only one thing. Because she said she was told she would cause impure thoughts. So now that you all know that she made this up and that the lady who kicked her out and any other chaperone there said nothing about impure thoughts u can see how much attention she is seeking. A paypal account to support her for college really??? Any college after hearing these stories would not even give her a chance. This is what happens when people don’t get the whole truth. Now yes don’t get me wrong if Clare got kicked out for her dancing and her dress then some others should have been kicked out too. This is the only thing that I can say was the fault of the prom committee and for the record 8 other kids were kicked out also. But they did not make a scene. They were not puppets being used by the angry sister Hanna who is against anything homeschooling. She walked into prom that night and was heard talking about how she will make a scene. She is her sister Hanna’s puppet and this is another way for them to get money and attention. This is truly a shame. Clare talks about how her boyfriends was polite and stuff lemme address that too. Her boyfriend cussed out the lady and snatched the money that they gave back to Clare. And one of the people in the group shoved and almost knocked over the lady that was addressing them. Then they proceeded to cuss everyone out on their way out and then flick them off. The others in the group did not have to leave but chose to in support of Clare. When you choose to support a cause or something you make a choice to sacrifice something whether it is time or money. They sacrificed both and for no reason should get a refund for what they stood for. Their choice their consequence. They could have called another parent to come get them. Even if the prom committee had done something wrong (which they didn’t) behavior like this makes them less likely to want to help you. Now you have a choice. Listen to Clare’s story that has been encouraged by her bitter sister Hanna and that has fabricated the whole case of IMPURE THOUGHTS and they were indeed rude and breaking the rules or look to the truth like Alexa has written and others such as the Hobbs ladies have done also and also what I tell you because I was there and had no allegiance to either side but when I heard from the lady that dealt with Clare’s nasty attitude and heard the truth I knew there was only one right side to this. Clare has acted immature and childish and her older sister should be ashamed of herself for influencing this girl to such heights. So no the dads were definitely not ogling FYI she by a long shot was nowhere near the prettiest one there but she was the MOST INAPPROPRIATE AND MOST DISRESPECTFUL one there except for her foolish boyfriend of course. In the end she will see good always triumphs over evil and that she has done herself a disservice for lying and making up stories. She made up the impure thoughts part and she had got the world thinking this is some sexist abuse. No this a girl who is influenced and encouraged by her conniving sister and who decided to be a 17 yr old brat all because she was told no basically. I pray for her family because they don’t deserve this but Clare Rose Schlaudt grow up and stop being an attention seeking brat because this will only last for a while before your life dips the other way. And to her sister Hanna your parents love you and did what they thought was best for you and one day you will find that you have either got to move on with your or you can go on and continue to try to manipulate your siblings but God does deal quite harshly with the treatment of His little people. So now you have the truth and Alexa I highly commend you. This might come off as harsh but I’m tired of this foolishness so I put it all out there. Now tell me who is right???

    • Belsma

      Way too much to read, however, I would like to see a “prom” dancing rule list and what is acceptable. All of this should have been addressed prior. I understand the dress code was addressed, but on another note, if she was acting like Miley Cirus she deserved to be kicked out and her parents should be scolded as well. I think the girl has serious “daddy” issues, and I am surprised her boyfriend is not upset that she seemed to be wanting the attention of other males. That’s just my observation. I am making my child dress like a Puritan for her 8th grade dance and if she even sways her hips…ARG! :)

  • 4 moms that were there

    We feel that Clare is misrepresenting the whole incident. No one wanted to ruin Clare’s prom night, but she chose to push the limits. Clare may be showing a picture of her dress meeting the finger tip requirement but those who saw her that evening, both men and women, feel otherwise. We were there and witness that her dress was not at finger tip length. She chose to wear a dress that barely met the requirements and did not take into account the walking, dancing, moving, wearing heals, whatever that caused it to be shorter than required. The men were certainly not the only ones that felt like she was inappropriately dressed. Also, the girl was very disrespectful and rude to those in authority. We support the decision that was made based on what we saw that evening. We realize this is upsetting and ruined a cherished memory and a good time she had hoped to enjoy. Perhaps the rule about dress length could have been stated more clearly so the intent was more properly conveyed, but that does not excuse the fact, however, that the organizers still had every right to ask her to leave based upon their perception. Ms. Clare also has every right to be upset and tell people about it, but it does not give her the right to tell people the organizers were wrong and perverted. She agreed by paying a fee and attending the event to follow the rules, and she didn’t, and so was asked to leave. We think she should be the one to apologize at this point for turning this into such a circus and putting such a dark cloud over 500 other kid’s prom who chose to follow the rules.

    • hearsayisn'ttruth

      ‘barely met’ = met, right?
      Every time some ‘witness’ insists that it ‘barely met’ you lose more credibility.
      Did the rules on the dress length clarify that it has to be that length when dancing, walking,… when? I bet it didn’t.
      The rest, re: how she was dancing is hearsay and again, you’ve already lost credibility when you spilt hairs about the length of her dress… so that hearsay = hard to believe, considering.

      And Alexa, enough already with posting your blog link. Your blogpost was hearsay as well, give it a rest already.

  • Ian

    I can’t be the only one thinking that she was targeted because her boyfriend is black. Let’s face it; these so called “Christian” organisations have more than their fair share of bigots.

  • Ad

    To give a more balanced report of the circumstances, I sent a letter to my local news outlets. I haven’t heard any reply, so I’ll give you the letter directly.

    Recently, a young lady was asked to leave the Richmond Homeschool Prom because her dress was inappropriate. She was angry and posted her version of the events on her sister’s blog, which then got picked up by news outlets and went viral.
    The story reported in the media has a lot of spin that needs clarification. I volunteered at the dance, and witnessed the dress first-hand. In the internet-posted picture, she has pulled the spandex dress down so that it is fingertip length, but at the prom the hemline sat right below her butt cheeks. The dress was definitely not appropriate for a high school prom and did not meet the dress code when it was allowed to ride up.

    My family isn’t ultra-conservative. We homeschool for secular reasons. My daughter
    wears a sports bra under a cut-up top for sports, and bikinis to the pool. We believe expressing one’s sexuality is a healthy part of being human, but there is a time and a place for that expression. The dress in question was better suited for clubbing in New York City than for an even held by a private organization. Also, this event was held by a private organization, not a public school. They are allowed to develop their own dress code based on their values. No one would bat an eye if a man were asked to leave a black tie event for wearing jeans.

    She also talks about “all the dads on the balcony. . . ogling.” I was in and out of the dance room, but the most I ever saw were 4 or 5 adults spread out on the balcony. It was dark, and crowded. It would have been impossible for her to tell what they were looking at, much less if they were leering lustfully 20 feet above. The words used by the young lady to describe the events were specifically chosen to debase the parents who inconvenienced her. For example, “ogling” makes the dads out to be perverts, instead of concerned parents debating about the right thing to do. The media used her words without seeking out the view of the other side simply because those words were sensational and attracted attention. Now, I’m not asserting that there were no pedophiles present at the dance – an unfortunate fact of our world is the abundance of creepy, often dangerous, people – but I didn’t witness or hear
    about any behavior that deserves such vile labeling. If there was such behavior, it wasn’t coming from the balcony.

    There has been much speculation about the true reason for this person’s expulsion, the leading idea being her boyfriend’s race. However, there were other multi-racial couples in attendance, as well as what looked like a lesbian couple Therefore, I think these claims are baseless.

    I don’t know whether or not I would have asked her to leave. What concerns me is the assumptions that the media and its viewers have made about the events. There has been very little investigation into the nature of the events. It frightens me to think
    that reputations can be destroyed for the sake of a sensationalism. The danger is that people can be swept up by the passion of emotionally-charged (but uncontested) claims, and the result is a mob mentality of self-righteous anger inappropriately directed toward innocent people, an anger with no basis in truth. And this danger is already coming to pass. To many in the online community forming
    opinions based solely on the words of one young lady, the events at this dance seem to be reinforcing hurtful stereotypes. For example, that all homeschoolers are socially-inept, right-wing, fundamentalist, purity-ball-attending, creationist prudes whose fathers are closet pedophiles and mothers are jealous, frigid whore-haters. Buying into stereotypes like this is an ugly and disquieting trend.

    I don’t want this young lady’s reputation to be ruined by her grab for fifteen minutes of fame. We all look back at certain parts of our teen years and cringe. I just hope this doesn’t become her defining moment. It would be utterly terrible if the truth comes out, and then something really does happen where she needs to rally her troops. She would no longer have her integrity to support her, and perhaps not her friends and family either. Almost as bad is if she learns that being the victim gets a bigger reward than being accountable. It makes me sad to consider that our young people are encouraged to develop unethical character by commercial-driven media and titillated voyeurs, hungry for their next fix.

  • WTVRnewsoutletboycott

    I really don’t care about this dress or kid or homeschool organization. What I care about is they way this was reported, and the negative impact it is having on all of the other schools, proms, families and community. Shame on you WTVR for reporting on one side of a situation and not getting the other side of this story. I will be taking my fake news business elsewhere…

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