A pair of jeans that were beginning to show some normal wear and tear got an 11-year-old boy in trouble at school — and his mom is calling for change in the wake of the incident.
Ethan Orr, a student at Laurens Middle School in South Carolina, was sent to the principal’s office on Monday after a dress code inspection revealed that an “emerging hole” was found on his jeans, reported news outlet WCNC.
His mother, Lori Orr, told the outlet that she received a call from the school that day, telling her she could either come in with a change of pants for Ethan, or she would have to pick him up from school.
In a video she shared on Facebook later that day, she showed off the jeans her son was wearing. Although the fabric on her son’s jeans was frayed, there was no visible hole.
“He had to come home because of that. He missed an entire day of education for that,” she claimed in the video, adding that she has purchased the jeans in August.
“It’s not a hole,” she added in the video. “It is a stretch in the fabric.”
Lori told WYFF that she lives “paycheck to paycheck” and feels that the dress code targets low-income families. “Basically, he’s sent out of class, he has to go to the office and announce that he’s there because he has a hole in his pants in front of all these other kids,” Orr told WYFF. “As a mother, that broke my heart.”
In a statement to Yahoo News, Edward Murray — director of public relations for the school district — claimed the child had not been sent home.
Murray confirmed to PEOPLE “that his parent did choose to sign him out of school. LCSD 55 does not send students home for dress code issues, we try to work with the student and the parent to resolve those issues and make sure the student does not lose instructional time.”
Murray told PEOPLE in a statement, “Dress code policies are a standard element of school behavioral expectations. If a teacher has a dress code concern, it is not unusual for a student to be sent to the office to help resolve the issue. This is typically done quietly and discreetly.”
“Both Principal Anna Brink and Superintendent Dr. Stephen G. Peters have spoken with the parent in this situation and we are working with the parent to ensure any concerns are addressed,” continued the statement.
Peters told PEOPLE, “We consider parents to be our partners in the education of the whole child in Laurens County School District 55 and we are always happy to discuss any questions or concerns a parent may have.”
Peters went on to tell PEOPLE that he spoke to Lori multiple times since Monday.
“She felt that there was an issue, shared that issue with the school district and we dealt with that swiftly,” he remarked. “That’s what needs to happen. You always have to have an open door for parents and make them feel like whatever issues they have, we have too.”
He went on to add that the policy about “emerging holes” has now been removed “from every school’s guidelines.”
“I talked to the parent yesterday and she was very happy to hear that,” he shared.
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Lori told WCNC that her financial situation means she’s unable to buy her son new clothes, and that his worn clothing has caused him to be bullied in school.
Explaining why the dress code should be changed, she told WCNC, “I don’t think they have to nitpick like they do.”
Lori went on to tell PEOPLE that she was “so happy” after she learned the school district was getting rid of their policy about “emerging holes.”
“I’m thankful that they listened and understood and decided to act on it,” she said. “It means a lot to a lot of people. I feel great that I was able to help put this into action and be the voice for so many people.”