The South Carolina principal who told her students that they cannot wear leggings unless they are a “size 0 or 2” says that she did not intend “to hurt or offend any of my students in any way.”
In a statement shared with PEOPLE, Heather Taylor of Stratford High School says that she has met with the entire student body to clarify her comments.
“Yesterday and this morning, I met with each class of the Stratford High School student body. I addressed a comment made during a 10th grade assembly and shared from my heart that my intention was not to hurt or offend any of my students in any way. I assured them all that I am one of their biggest fans and invested in their success,” Taylor says.
In an audio recording of the assembly shared with WCBD, Taylor says, “I’ve told you this before, I’m going to tell you this now, unless you are a size zero or two and you wear something like that, even though you’re not fat, you look fat.”
Stratford student Allison Veazy told WCBD on Wednesday that she found Taylor’s words offensive.
“It was really hurtful, cause I felt like my size made me look disgusting towards someone in the clothes that I wear,” Veazy says. “I wear leggings outside of school and I wear leggings when I go and hang out with my friends, and to think that someone would think that I look like a stuffed sausage — that was kind of hurtful.”
On Friday, members of Stratford’s senior class wrote a letter in support of Taylor, which they shared with her in a video posted on Facebook.
“On behalf of some students at Stratford High, we would like to extend our support and appreciation to your administration and Berkeley County for the past 24 years. We understand that you, like us, are human and make mistakes,” one student read. “We completely realize that your intentions were not to harm us or the students at the assembly.”
Taylor, holding back tears, told the group of students that she’s grown from the incident.
“I’m so remorseful, and I have learned a lesson,” Taylor said. “You learn, no matter what, every single day you learn.”
In her statement, Taylor says she believes the student body is ready to move on.
“After speaking with our students and receiving their support, I am confident that, together, we are ready to move forward and have a wonderful year,” she says. “Stratford High is a very caring community, and I want to thank all of our parents and students who have offered their support to me and provided me with an opportunity to directly address their concern. I am very proud to be a Stratford Knight.”