Florida high school freshman Dominique Stearns has the perfect new dress and shiny shoes ready for her first homecoming dance -- a dance that she's not allowed to go to because of an overdue library book.
The Cypress Lake High School student is in an accelerated reading program and checked the book out a few weeks ago, but tells Fox 4 News that she wasn't told when to return it. When she went to buy her ticket for homecoming, Dominique was informed that she was barred from the event for an overdue school library book.
"I thought she was lying," Dominique told the station.
While the teen offered to return the book that very day, officials refused to renege on the decision. Dominique's mother Danielle Olmstead said her complaint to the principal was brushed off, and the teen says the school is "pathetic… they need to worry about more serious things."
Lee County School District spokesperson Joe Donzelli has declined to publicly comment on the issue, citing "privacy and confidentiality concerns," but notes that allegations against the school for punishing a student for reading is "completely false and totally inappropriate."
"Suffice it to say that there is more to this story than was inaccurately reported," Donzelli told the New York Daily News.
A summer newsletter from the school does note that students may partake in special school activities only if they are free of balances for school fees and fines.
Dominique's absence from her homecoming dance echoes a recent story out of Utah, where dozens of Stansbury High School students were turned away at the door for wearing dresses that were deemed too short.
Parents and students at the time called the incident a "homecoming spirit massacre" as a vague school dress code required dresses for formal events to be "at or near knee length." Most of the girls showed up to the affair with hemlines just above the knee.
School Principal Kendall Topham eventually apologized for the confusion and hosted a second homecoming dance as a goodwill gesture for those turned away.