OAKLAND PARK, Fla. – Shatara Shorter had been looking forward to going to the senior prom for months.
But after getting all dolled up in her new dress and meeting up with her prom date, Quaedae Robinson, for the big event, Shorter,16, was turned away at the door.
"I was allowed to enter that night, but I was not going to leave my prom date," Robinson, 19, said.
The teenagers attend Northeast High School in Oakland Park, where the principal enforced a rule written in the student code of conduct, which essentially says students must attend at least a half day of class on the day of a school-related activity, including prom -- unless they've been excused in advance.
Shenika Dennis, Shorter's mother, said she'd signed her daughter out of school that morning for a hair appointment.
"For the kids I'm hurt, but I recognize abuse of power," Dennis said.
She said she'd spent more than $1,000 for an event that her daughter never got to experience.
"There's a lot of things that you can get back," Robinson said. "But you can't get back time."
Broward County Public Schools released a statement about the incident.
"The school’s students, teachers and staff worked extremely hard to make the prom a positive and memorable experience for all attending," the statement said. "During prom week, via multiple announcements, school administrators reminded students of the attendance requirement for participation in prom. The student and parent in this incident were reminded of this requirement prior to the student being signed out for the day. In addition, school administrators offered options to the family that would allow the student to meet this requirement by attending the latter half of the school day, which the family declined.
"The district’s Code of Student Conduct provides specific information regarding the rules that all students are expected to adhere to, as well as consequences for violations of the rules. The Student Activity and Assembly Rule states, 'Students must attend half of the classes on the day of an activity in which they want to take part unless they have been excused or exempted from class by the school administration in advance.' Students are accountable for following rules and procedures and expected to engage in responsible and appropriate conduct."