Her Favorite Thing
When Kayla's dad let her choose her own outfit for picture day, he could have never imagined things going so terribly sideways.
Kayla, 3, absolutely loved superheroes, so she decided to dress as one for her picture day at school. In the early morning of that same day, the school called her father and demanded that he pick her up immediately. The justification for their actions was totally unwarranted.
The Days Were Hard
Kayla had experienced a great deal in the short time she had lived. Because of what she had experienced, she was mentally miles ahead of the other girls in her age group.
Despite its imperfections, she absolutely loved all aspects of her life. She remained stoic in spite of her immense sorrow. All of a sudden, everything changed on that one fateful picture day.
A majority of Kayla's life was spent with her loving father, Dan. Being a single parent, he did everything in his power to ensure his daughter led the best and happiest life possible.
To some, his actions might seem over the top and spoiling. Dan did it in an effort to compensate for something she had lost and could never again have.
When Kayla was a year old, her mother was heartbreakingly killed, rendering the poor family without a desperately-needed matriarch.
When Kayla's mom didn't return home a few days later after that terrible night, even at her early age, she experienced immense pain.
Wished For Nothing More
After months of grieving, everything suddenly changed. Watching Wonder Woman with her father that night inspired her newfound life aspirations.
It wasn't Wonder Woman solely. Because Kayla wanted nothing more than to be a real superhero, Dan assumed that she admired all superheroes. In her mind, having superpowers would have enabled her to save her loving mother.
She was beyond excited to have her school class photos taken this week. Dan selected a few outfits he thought would be appropriate for his beloved little girl's special day.
On that particular day, however, something was definitely off. Kayla was obviously distraught over something and clearly had an ocean of thoughts and feelings.
Just Not Enough
In an attempt of being a good daughter, Kayla happily tried on every outfit her father had picked, but none made her feel comfortable and happy.
Her dislike for the outfits stemmed from an unexpected reason. She had worn all of these outfits countless times before. However, she wanted the photo to be more unique as it was her first-ever class photo.
One In A Million Idea
Dan opted to have Kayla select her own outfit after recognizing her obvious discontent. No matter what she tried in her cabinet, nothing was a perfect fit.
At that moment, Dan had experienced an exceptional notion. He would take his child on a shopping spree, complacently funding whatever purchases she saw fit.
Showered With Gifts
As he had been saving up for a special occasion, they embarked on an excursion to the largest mall in the area.
There would be no limit to what his daughter could acquire. It might have seemed wildly excessive, but she was only three years old, and there were only a handful of items that children of this age could wish for.
The Perfect Day
The morning of Saturday, Kayla got up early and began getting herself ready for her much anticipated day ahead. The father and daughter were well on their way, following her excitedly gobbling up her breakfast.
Their arrival at the mall happened just as shops opened, about a full hour away from their home. Kayla was sure to be exhausted when they arrived home after such an early beginning. Her visible excitement made the effort all the more worth it for her devoted father.
The Perfect Outfit
They strolled through the shops for hours, and when they sat down for lunch, Kayla finally told Dan what outfit she had been searching for.
She wanted to be dressed as Wonder Woman. Dan laughed, surprised that he didn’t think of it sooner. And by the fact he actually knew exactly where to get the outfit Kayla was looking for.
It Was Cute
After lunch, he led Kayla to the store where she would find the outfit, and she immediately tried it on. Dan had to admit that she looked adorable as a little superhero.
He didn’t think twice about buying his daughter the outfit, as the kindergarten she was attending usually didn’t have issues with the kids dressing up. But this time, they would, and their remarks were not to be taken lightly.
Getting Some Accessories
Seeing as Kayla had the outfit she wanted, Dan took her around to get some accessories to complete the look. She still needed the tiara, arm cuff, and boots.
A few hours later, the pair had everything they needed to make the outfit look like the real deal, and they headed home. Little did they know that something so innocent would cause such a fuss.
The Big Day
On picture day, Kayla got ready. She put on her outfit and her skin-colored tights, and her dad walked her to school.
It seemed like an ordinary day at first, but just as Dan was about to start working, he received a phone call that had him rushing out of the house.
A Very Rude Call
Dan sat down in front of his laptop and was preparing for his first meeting when his phone rang. He saw that it was the school calling and immediately answered, thinking that something might’ve happened to his precious daughter.
But he was in for a surprise, as the woman on the other end of the line accused him of being a bad parent and demanded that he come pick his daughter up immediately.
Heading To The School
Dan didn’t waste any time rushing to his car and getting on the road, but he still had no idea what was going on.
Instead of explaining the situation, the woman who called him preferred to insult him and wouldn’t let him get a word out. He tried to ask what was going on, but instead of getting a decent response, she just kept spewing nonsense.
He Couldn’t Believe His Ears
When Dan arrived at the kindergarten, he was escorted to the principal’s office, where he saw his daughter sitting in the corner and crying her eyes out. Fury engulfed him in an instant, and he wanted nothing more than to make the responsible person pay.
He was about to ask what happened when Kayla’s teacher burst into the room and started accusing him. Then she said something that made his fury double.
Kayla’s teacher accused Dan of forcing his daughter to wear something that no child should ever be seen wearing. She also accused him of being a bad father who had some sick obsession with half-naked women.
By this point, Dan was seeing red. He demanded an explanation, and the one he got infuriated him even more. The teacher said that he had let his daughter come to school half-naked and that they would not be taking pictures of a child dressed in such a way.
Stream Of Tears
Dan pushed past the woman and lifted the crying toddler into his arms. She was becoming more hysterical with each word the teacher spoke, and that did nothing to help her father calm down.
Dan was about to lash out when the principal intervened and asked the teacher to explain herself in a calm, professional manner. What she said was laughable.
Trying To Fix The Issue
Calming himself as much as he could, Dan explained that his daughter wasn’t half-naked as the teacher suggested. She was, in fact, wearing thick, flesh-colored tights, and the only skin that was visible was that of her shoulders.
He also stated that Kayla had picked the outfit herself as she loved the superhero and that shops wouldn’t sell the costume if it was as bad as the teacher made it sound. But the debate was just beginning.
Running Into A Wall
When the teacher realized that she had walked into a trap and that her assumptions were completely out of line, she tried her best to cover her tracks.
Having nothing to go on, the teacher then stated that it was against the kindergartner’s dress code for Kayla to wear something that exposed her shoulders. Dan was taken aback, as such a rule simply didn’t make sense. Were children expected to wear sweaters on hot days?
The principal agreed with the teacher, stating that even though it didn’t make much sense, those were the rules, and Kayla was obviously going against the dress code by having her shoulders exposed.
Dan knew they were just trying to prove they were right, so he took his daughter and left. But his little girl was whimpering in the back seat. She was clearly still upset about what happened, and Dan wasn’t going to stand for it.
Too Young To Understand
He knew Kayla was too young to understand what was really happening. And he could understand that she must’ve been mortified by her teacher’s shouting.
Plus, he had no idea what the teacher had said to his daughter before he arrived, and with the rate at which she was throwing accusations around, it could’ve been anything.
Dan wasn’t the type of man who acted on anger, but right now, he was so frustrated that he was considering pulling his daughter out of the preschool.
When he first enrolled her, it seemed like the perfect place, but he was starting to have his doubts. If they were so rude to parents, how are they treating the children?
So Many Thoughts
His thoughts started spiraling out of control, and before long, Dan was even angrier than he was when he walked into the principal’s office.
But did he have a point? Or was he just overreacting because of the circumstances? At that point, it didn’t matter anymore. He was determined to find his little girl a place where she could be who she wanted to be.
First Things First
However, Dan had more important things to worry about. The first was getting his daughter to stop crying, and the second was his mission to make her feel better.
The problem was that he was feeling just as bad. The teacher’s words hit hard, and they made Dan wonder if she might’ve been right. Was he a bad father?
Determined To Fix It
But Dan knew that he wasn’t a bad father, and he was determined to make his daughter forget about everything she had heard that day. He just didn’t know how to do it.
Would an ice cream help? Maybe a new doll? As he was considering it, an idea struck him. He whirled the car around and went the other way.
“Where are we going, daddy?” Kayla asked through her tears. Dan was considering whether he should tell her about what he had in mind or not.
It would be the perfect surprise, but he didn’t want to see her sniffling for the rest of the journey. “I’m taking you to go have your photos taken,” Dan said and gave his daughter a loving smile.
Back To The Mall
Kayla’s tears dried out in an instant. Her smile had returned, and it had an immediate effect on Dan. He could feel his rage melting away with each mile that passed.
They arrived at the mall a little while later, and he took his daughter to the closest photo studio. Dan explained what happened, and the employee eagerly agreed to do the shoot.
A Night To Remember
They took a ton of pictures of the cute little girl being the superhero she always wanted to be. And to make Kayla feel extra special, they even did some editing, free of charge.
When the photos were printed, little Kayla’s smile grew even wider. She never thought she’d see herself flying through the sky like her favorite superhero did. But in the one photo, she was doing just that.
Later That Night
Even though Dan managed to save the day, he wasn’t ready to let the kindergarten get away with what they had done. He would make them pay for ruining Kayla’s first-ever school photos and for upsetting her the way they did.
As his daughter went to sleep, Dan turned to social media and posted his story as well as the pictures they took online.
At the end of his long post, Dan’s doubts crept back in, and he asked the public, “Do you think this makes me a bad father? Was it wrong of me to let her pick her own outfit?”
He couldn’t help but feel that this whole incident was somehow his fault. And for the first time in his life, Dan needed reassurance to know that he had done the right thing. That was exactly what the netizens offered him.
Responses Pour In
In a matter of hours, he had an inbox full of responses. Everyone was being supportive, but there were some who took things to the next level.
“You should sue them,” one commenter wrote. “That is blatant discrimination!” another said. Dan didn’t plan on taking the kindergarten to court, as he had no evidence. But the responses did give him an idea about how he could get revenge.
More Than He Expected
With thousands of shares and hundreds of comments, Dan got much more than he bargained for. He wasn’t expecting his post to blow up the way it did. But it did give him the reassurance and validation he was looking for.
However, that wasn’t the only thing the post gave Dan. It also made him realize that he had a foot to stand on, whereas the kindergarten did not.
It Gave Him An Idea
Many of the commenters mentioned that they had gone through similar problems with their children and that they took action against the schools.
Some of them came out empty-handed, but others managed to have the policies changed for the benefit of their children. Could he do the same? Did he have any right to demand something like that over a photo he’s daughter wasn’t allowed to be in?
Thanks to the overwhelming support he received, Dan decided to give it a try. He spent the rest of the night going through the school’s policies, procedures, and dress code and was surprised to find that they had lied to him.
Not a word was said about children not being allowed to attend school if their shirts didn’t cover their shoulders. And to make matters worse, a child couldn’t be suspended over an outfit, either. They would just be forced to change.
Now that Dan knew where he stood, he could formulate his plan. But there was one problem. Dan knew that talking to the school was like running face-first into a brick wall, but that was because he was only one man.
Like they did that morning, they would lie and try to cheat their way out. But what if he wasn’t just one man? What if they were a majority…
Asking For Help
With that thought in mind, Dan turned to the internet once more. He told the netizens what he had found and asked for their assistance in resolving the matter.
The majority of the people who saw his post agreed to help him go up against the school. And the best part was that many of those people lived in his neighborhood.
The parents came together to create a petition that would force the school to change its dress code. They wanted their children to be allowed to wear whatever they wanted if the parents deemed that it was okay.
They also wanted to address the issue of how parents should be treated by school personnel. The petition was launched on Dan’s Facebook page with the hope that they would get enough signatures to force the kindergarten to change its policies. But they never expected it to blow up the way it did.
It Blew Up
Within a week, the petition had collected over a million signatures. The kindergarten was forced to change the dress code. The principal and teacher were removed from their positions because of the way they approached the situation.
And the kindergarten was forced to publicly apologize to Dan and Kayla. But that wasn’t the end of this situation.
Back To Social Media
That night, Dan returned to social media to thank everyone for helping and to inform them of his success. For the first time since he was called in, he felt good.
He felt that he managed to play his part and show his daughter that it didn’t matter what people said. Because talking doesn’t always mean you’re right.
Reason To Celebrate
Many of the people who followed his story congratulated Dan on his success in proving that the school was, in fact, wrong for targeting Kayla that way.
But there were some netizens who weren’t as enthusiastic as the rest. And they had questions that would force Dan to think twice before continuing his long-awaited celebration.
The Netizens Weren’t Pleased
A few of the netizens did applaud Dan for taking action, but they wanted to know if he pulled Kayla out of the school.
At first, Dan was confused by the question, and he asked them what they meant. But the answer he got was not what he was expecting. It was a big eye-opener that had Dan questioning everything.
Their Point Of View
The netizens explained that the termination of the teacher and principal and the public apology didn’t mean anything. People talk a lot, but it’s their actions that count.
There could be teachers at the school who are unhappy with the outcome of Dan’s petition. And who knew how far they’d be willing to go to bring their displeasure across.
How It Would Affect Kayla
The netizens were concerned that Kayla would suffer because of her father’s actions, and they cautioned him about that. They said that there could be little things that he wouldn’t even notice.
It could be something as little as taking her snack or as bad as refusing her lunchtime nap. They could even go as far as to scare the poor girl to stop her from talking to her father about what she was experiencing.
Did They Have A Point?
Dan was very concerned about what he heard. But he wondered if that could really be the case. They were living in the 21st century, not the Middle Ages.
And this was the United States, things like that didn’t happen. Did they? Dan wasn’t so sure about his assumptions anymore. And he was taking what the netizens said very seriously.
Meeting Of The Parents
So the next day, Dan arranged a meeting with some of the other parents in his neighborhood. He told them what the netizens said and asked if they had experienced something like that.
Dan hoped he was just being paranoid, but then some of the mothers started speaking up. And his worst fears were confirmed.
One mom said that her daughter’s stuffed toy was taken by one of the teachers. While another added that they refused to give her son his lunch.
Yet, another mom said that her son came home crying and said that his teacher was shouting at him. And the worst part was that all of those moms signed Dan’s petition.
Action Was Needed
Seeing how severe the situation was, Dan decided that they needed to act. They couldn’t just stand by while their children were being bullied because of their actions.
All the moms agreed with his statement, but nobody knew what to do. They were afraid that the behavior would get worse if they approached the school and spoke up.
Such Behavior Wouldn’t Be Tolerated
Dan was afraid of the same thing. But it was something that he wouldn’t tolerate. If their children were suffering at the hands of their teachers, it was their duty as parents to act.
If they just sat by and let the school do whatever they wanted to do, Kayla would still be expelled for her picture day outfit.
A New Plan
That wasn’t something the parents wanted either. Their children were still so young and innocent. And they wanted that to last for as long as it could.
The decision to act was unanimous, and the parents quickly came up with a plan to deal with the school once and for all. But what would they do?
Behind Closed Doors
Night after night, the parents had secret meetings behind closed doors. They searched the area and the internet for the one thing they needed to complete their plan.
And once everything was ready, they did something so drastic the school administrator didn’t know how to react. What did they do to leave such an impression?
The next morning, all of the parents in the surrounding neighborhood arrived at the school. But they weren’t there to drop their children off.
They all filed into the administrator's office and asked to have their children pulled out of the kindergarten. The administrator was speechless. It was nearly a third of all the children that were attending the school.
After that, the parents went to another kindergarten. This one was a little further from their homes, but they promised that they would give all the children the opportunity to be unique.
The parents wouldn’t fall for that trick again, though. They put down some rules and regulations of their own before they signed any contracts.
It Was The One
The kindergarten agreed to the terms and welcomed all the children to their new school. It was already mid-way through the year, but they were happy to help wherever they could.
And the parents couldn’t be happier about their decision. There were no more tears or sad days. And when picture day came, the school allowed all of the children to pick their own outfits.
Finding a new preschool wasn't easy, but Dan was determined to find one that wouldn't be so harsh on his daughter's appearance.
He eventually found a school that accepted children of all genders and refrained from enforcing strict dress codes. It was a private school and a bit more expensive, but worth it for their peace of mind.
Kayla was happier at her new school, where she was free to be herself and wear what she wanted. She even made friends with another little girl who also enjoyed dressing up like the wonder-woman superhero. She had found her place.
Dan was glad he made the change. He could see the difference in her demeanor and knew that he had made the right choice.
A Greater Problem
The experience made Dan reflect on the issues that small children face when they are apprehended for their appearance. He made a speech at the new school where he said that “children should be allowed to express themselves and explore their identities without fear of being reprimanded.”
Strict dress codes can be detrimental to a child's self-esteem and confidence and can even lead to body image issues in the future. But would all the other parents feel the same way?
The parents' meeting went well. In an ever-changing world, many parents agreed that they need a more hands-on approach to disciplining their children. While they enjoyed their children’s imagination, there is always the risk that fantasy can affect their real education.
They agreed with Dan’s method and said that children should be taught the difference between the real world and the comic world.
Dan was grateful that he was able to find a school that allowed Kayla to be herself. He hoped that more schools would adopt a more accepting and inclusive approach, allowing children to grow and develop without unnecessary restrictions.
The brave father’s speech earned him a spot on the school council board. He was given the opportunity to oversee the plans of the school going into the future. Kayla was excited that her father was helping her school and she became popular with her new friends. It was the start of a lovely relationship between father and daughter which helped many children find their individual identities too.
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author's imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.